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Consumer Confidential: High-voltage price, Prius delay, Forever Sears

July 27, 2010 | 10:13 am

Here's your toe-the-line Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--That's a spicy meatball: General Motors has finally put a price tag on its newfangled electric car, and it's a doozy. The Chevy Volt will sell for a hefty $41,000 -- and that's just the starting price. You'll go up from there for all the add-on bells and whistles. By contrast, the new Nissan Leaf -- a rival electric vehicle -- will sell for nearly $33,000 when it debuts in November. The Volt goes on sale in California later this year.

--And then there's the Prius. Toyota had said it would soon start manufacturing the popular hybrids in the United States. Now the company says it may push back U.S. production by as much as six years. Toyota had intended to let a thousand Priuses bloom from its new Mississippi plant. The new plan is to wait until the car is remodeled and, more to the point, to wait until the global economy is a bit more sales-friendly.

--Call it a retail timeshare. The huge Sears outlet at Costa Mesa's South Coast Plaza will lease about 43,000 square feet to Forever 21. The deal is a plus for Sears, which will boost income from the site amid the never-ending recession, as well as for Forever 21, which gains a significant presence within a high-profile mall. I wouldn't be surprised if other department stores follow Sears' lead as they seek creative ways to weather the economic storm.

-- David Lazarus

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