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The world’s social media monster has set its sights on one of the hottest business models in e-commerce, as Facebook took its first steps to cash in on the profitable bulk-discount formula pioneered by Groupon.

Facebook launched a deals program Tuesday in five U.S. cities, following on the popularity of Groupon and other services that offer deep discounts — for example: $50 worth of food at a local eatery for $25.

By allowing small businesses to leverage the Internet while helping consumers score great deals, these group-couponing services have become some of the fastest-growing businesses in the world.

Facebook now wants a part of that. It hopes to exploit its existing networks of friends and family when it begins testing offers in San Diego, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas and Austin, Texas.

AUTO

Ford posts best 1st-quarter profit in 13 years

DETROIT | Ford posted its best first-quarter profit in 13 years, as its new, more fuel-efficient vehicles reached showrooms during a surge in gasoline prices.

New arrivals such as the Ford Explorer and Fiesta small car are selling well. Company profits are growing around the world. And Ford is charging more for its cars, helping offset higher commodity costs.

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday said its profit jumped 22 percent to $2.6 billion profit, its best first-quarter performance since 1998. It was the company’s eighth straight quarterly profit in its long climb back from near-bankruptcy five years ago.

Ford’s quarterly revenues rose 18 percent to $33.1 billion, far higher than the $30.5 billion analysts were projecting.

RECALL

Toyota recalls 51,000 Tundra trucks

TORRANCE, Calif. | Toyota is recalling about 51,000 of its Tundra trucks to inspect rear drive shafts that may include a component that could break.

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. said Tuesday an estimated 0.5 percent of the vehicles may have a faulty slip yoke because of improper casting during the foundry process.

The company is aware of one slip yoke failure. There are no reports of accidents or injuries related to the condition.

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