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Business

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briefs

Honda chief focuses on Fit, growth

Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito forecast growth over the next two to three years will be led by sales of its range of new Fit vehicles as Japan’s third-biggest automaker expands in emerging markets.

“We will see the good uplifting effect from the Fit series,” Ito, 59, said Friday in an interview at his Tokyo office, where Honda’s spaceman-like Asimo robot greets visitors by name. “So around the world, I believe 2013, 2014, 2015 will be years of growth.”

Ito’s focus on the Fit, a vehicle no bigger than Toyota’s Prius, illustrates Honda’s expectations for global demand to increasingly tilt toward smaller autos in the next five years as fuel prices rise.

That strategy is being emulated by General Motors, Fiat and Toyota as compact cars are on pace to capture their largest share of the U.S. auto market since 1993, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

Retailers try to quash fee-fixing settlement

A group of retailers and trade groups has launched a last-ditch effort to stop a settlement worth at least $6 billion that Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and major banks have agreed to pay retailers for alleged fee fixing.

Ten out of the 19 retailers and trade groups that are plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against the credit card companies say they’re trying to block the deal because they believe it would allow the credit card industry to continue to take advantage of merchants and their customers while stopping competition.

The proposed settlement, which was disclosed in July, is expected to be submitted to the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn by next Friday.

Merchants objecting to the deal will then have 30 days to submit arguments urging the court to reject the proposal.

Samsung goes small with new phone model

Samsung Electronics Co. has unveiled a smaller and cheaper version of the Galaxy S III smartphone with the same screen size as the iPhone 5.

Samsung says the Galaxy S III mini features a screen measuring 4 inches diagonally, smaller than the Galaxy S III’s 4.8-inch display but the same as Apple’s iPhone 5, which was Apple’s first upgrade of the iPhone screen size.

Samsung said the mini will be launched in Europe this month but kept mum on schedules for other countries.

Samsung’s German mobile shop lists the mini’s price at $516 versus $711 for the cheapest S III.

The mini is powered by the latest version of Android software but does not support faster fourth-generation wireless networks.

Tyson to audit animal treatment

The nation’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods Inc., says it’s launching an animal treatment audit of suppliers’ farms.

The company announced the audit Friday.

The news comes as animal welfare activists have been pressuring Tyson to move away from cramped cages for pregnant pigs.

But the Springdale, Ark.-based company says its latest move is not in response to actions from the Humane Society of the United States or other organizations.

Tyson President and CEO Donnie Smith says in a statement the company knows consumers want assurances that their food is being produced responsibly.

Tyson says auditors will check on such things as animal access to food and water.

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