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The Journal Gazette

Friday, September 14, 2018 1:00 am

briefs

VW ending sale of auto icon Beetle

News services

DETROIT – After selling it on and off in the U.S. for nearly seven decades, Volkswagen has decided to squash its iconic Beetle.

The company's American unit announced Thursday that it would end global production of the third-generation bulbous bug in July of next year after offering two special editions for sale.

The compact Beetle was introduced in Germany in 1938 during the Nazi era and came to the U.S. 11 years later, where it became a symbol of utilitarian transportation often used by hippies. The iconic car sold for about 30 years before production ceased in 1979.

Volkswagen revived it 1998 as a more modern “New Beetle,” but it attracted mainly female buyers. The company revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to make it appeal to men, giving it a flatter roof, less bulbous shape, a bigger trunk and a navigation system. U.S. sales rose fivefold to nearly 29,000 in the first year, but tailed off after that. Last year VW sold only 8,627, according to Autodata Corp.

Consumer prices rise 2.7% for August

Consumer prices rose 2.7 percent in August from a year earlier, with higher housing and gasoline costs driving most of the increase.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index advanced 0.2 percent on a monthly basis. Despite the monthly gain, annual inflation softened from the 2.9 percent pace set during the 12 months ended in July.

The more modest inflation rate should help to boost the spending power of Americans whose recent wage gains had been eaten up by higher prices. The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring inflation levels in order to determine if short-term interest rates should be increased to keep prices stable. Fed officials are expected to boost rates for a third time this year during a meeting in September.

GM recall involves 1.2 million vehicles

General Motors is recalling 1.2 million big pickup trucks and SUVs mainly in North America because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of accidents.

GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes with two injuries, but no deaths.

The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs. Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners.

Qualcomm to buy $16 billion in stock

Qualcomm is buying back $16 billion of its own stock as part of a broader goal of repurchasing up to $30 billion of its shares.

Shares of Qualcomm Inc. rose $1.45, or 2 percent, to $73.20, before the opening bell Thursday. The stock is up about 10 percent this year.

The telecommunications equipment company, based in San Diego, said it expects to buy back an initial 178 million shares from Bank of America, Citibank, and Morgan Stanley & Co. The final figure will be determined during the transaction.

The company said it is on track to complete the majority of its broader repurchase program by the end of fiscal 2019.