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Roundup: PPG says white most popular car color; Buffett says succession will be smooth; more

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Volkswagen's 2013 Jetta Hybrid has the highest mileage rating ever — a combined 45 mpg in city and highway travel.
Volkswagen's 2013 Jetta Hybrid has the highest mileage rating ever — a combined 45 mpg in city and highway travel. Volkswagen

White still most popular vehicle color, PPG reports

No drum roll needed: The most popular car color in the world for the 2013 model year was white. One in four new-car buyers chose a white vehicle. That's up 3 percent from last year, according to data from PPG Industries, the largest supplier of transportation coatings. Silver and black tied for second at 18 percent each, according to the annual automotive build data, followed by gray, red, natural hues, blue and green, which stayed the course from 2012. In North America, white remained most popular at 21 percent, followed by black (19 percent), gray (17 percent) and silver (15 percent). But Americans are showing a growing appetite for red and blue, especially on sporty models, and blue could move up the ranks in 2014. When it comes to minivans, they want gold and beige. There are regional differences. Silver reigns in South America, accounting for a third of all new purchases. For the white lovers, “we see growth in the variety of whites being offered to consumers,” said Jane Harrington, PPG manager of color styling. More than 60 new colors will be introduced for the 2016 and 2017 model years. PPG has 23 color experts who focus on auto, architectural, aerospace and consumer products to analyze design trends and consumer preferences that will influence future color choices.

Buffett says succession will be smooth

Billionaire Warren Buffett says he doesn't think his son's charity will suffer when Howard Buffett becomes Berkshire Hathaway's chairman, because the role shouldn't be time-consuming. Warren Buffett discussed part of the succession plan for the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate he leads on Tuesday during an interview on Bloomberg television. Warren Buffett says Howard Buffett would make an ideal chairman to protect the company's culture when he is gone, but the 83-year-old Warren Buffett says the job shouldn't be time-consuming unless there is a problem. Buffett says there won't be a problem because the board knows who it would pick to be Berkshire's next CEO and that an internal candidate for the job will be terrific. Buffett has no plans to retire.

Alcoa stock jumps on Russia deal

Alcoa Inc.'s stock jumped 8.8 percent when it announced a joint venture with Russia's VSMPO-AVISMA Corp., the world's largest titanium ingot and forgings manufacturer, to supply high-end aluminum and titanium products to aircraft manufacturers around the world. CEO Klaus Kleinfeld and VSMPO-AVISMA Chairman Sergei Chemezov signed an agreement in Moscow. The joint venture will expand Alcoa's appeal to aircraft companies with a wider line of goods, such as landing gear and forged wing components, made at Alcoa's plant in Samara. The venture is expected to be operational in 2016. The announcement occurs a day after the company announced a deal with the Army Reseach Laboratory to develop a single-piece aluminum hull for combat vehicles to improve protection for troops from improvised explosive devices. The single-piece aluminum hull would replace assembled hulls with welded seams and have greater strength and durability, and weigh and cost less. Alcoa said. Alcoa's stock jumped 76 cents, closing at $9.36.

Earnings may slow, N.Y. comptroller says

Though Wall Street recorded $10.1 billion in profits for the first half of 2013, New York's comptroller said on Tuesday that federal budget dithering, higher interest rates and litigation may slow earnings for the last half in a securities industry that's kept trimming jobs. In a report, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli projected that overall earnings will be limited to $15 billion this year, compared with $23.9 billion last year but still part of the rebound from the 2008 crash of the financial markets and the national recession.

Other business news

• CIBC Mellon, a Toronto-based asset-servicing firm half-owned by Bank of New York Mellon, said the two businesses have integrated their securities lending desks, which will expand products and services to their institutional clients and deliver enhanced global expertise. The joint venture serves about 120 institutional clients and is Canada's largest securities lender. Headquartered in Toronto, CIBC Mellon is a 50-50 joint venture between BNY Mellon and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Highmark Inc.'s hospital system Allegheny Health Network said it will open a $7 million ambulatory surgical care center at Allegheny General Hospital. The center, which will include an operating room and 36 patient beds, will open on Monday at the hospital's North Side campus.

—Staff and wire reports

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