GM cuts the price of Chevrolet Volt; Harbinger sues Ergen, Dish Network

August 6, 2013
electric vehicles
GM cuts the price
of Chevrolet Volt

General Motors is knocking 13 percent off the sticker price of the Chevrolet Volt electric car as it tries to keep pace with rivals in the market for plug-in vehicles.

The automaker said Tuesday that the 2014 Volt will start at $34,995, including shipping — $5,000 less than the current model. The new model is scheduled to reach showrooms late this summer.

Sales of electric vehicles are rising, but they are still only 0.2 percent of the U.S. auto market. Automakers have been forced to cut prices or offer discounted leases to move the vehicles off dealer lots. Nissan dropped the price of its electric Leaf, and sales soared.

In practice, the price of the Volt has been lower since last year.

The TrueCar.com auto pricing site said that in 2012 Volt discounts were nearly $10,000, or 25 percent of its sticker price at the time.

Kelley Blue Book said in a report Tuesday that the average price for battery-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles has dropped 10 percent this year, to $36,922 from $41,102.

That is before a $7,500 federal tax credit. GM says that including the credit, the cost of the Volt could drop as low as $27,495.

Chevrolet has sold 11,643 Volts through July, up 9.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

But Leaf sales more than tripled, to 11,703, after Nissan cut some features and lowered the base price to $29,650, including shipping.

— Associated Press

Telecommunications
Harbinger sues Ergen, Dish Network

Philip A. Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners sued Charles Ergen and his Dish Network, claiming Ergen is fraudulently trying to take control of Falcone’s bankrupt company, Reston-based LightSquared.

Ergen and other entities he controls “are engaged in a fraudulent scheme” that has involved buying up the company’s debt in secret to gain an advantage in taking over its assets, according to the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court Tuesday. The lawsuit also named EchoStar, SP Special Opportunities and
L-Band Acquisition, which has offered to buy LightSquared’s assets out of bankruptcy for more than $2 billion.

Ergen and his entities are trying to “prevent LightSquared — a potential competitor to Dish and EchoStar — from emerging from bankruptcy under Harbinger’s control” and take its valuable wireless spectrum assets, the lawsuit said.

“I personally have followed all of the rules,” Ergen said on a conference call. “I think Dish has followed all of the rules.”

LightSquared filed for bankruptcy in May last year, listing assets of $4.48 billion and debt of $2.29 billion. U.S. regulators blocked the service in 2012 after GPS-device makers and users — including the U.S. military and commercial airlines — said signals from LightSquared’s service would confound navigation gear.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

l  Job openings climbed marginally to 3.936 million in June from 3.907 million in May, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That meant just under three workers sought each open job, marking a good deal of progress from 2009, when the ratio was nearly seven workers per one job. The reading in June was the lowest since October 2008.

l  Rupert Murdoch’s newly separated 21st Century Fox reported higher revenue and profit because of growth at its cable operations and film studio. Revenue rose 16 percent to $7.2 billion for the quarter ending June, compared with the same quarter last year, the company said Tuesday. Net income was $977 million from $596 million in the same quarter last year.

l  The price of oil fell, while gasoline costs less than a year ago for the first time in more than two months. Benchmark crude for September delivery fell $1.26 to close at $105.30 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At the pump, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.61, a penny less than it was a year ago, AAA said. That last happened on June 1. In the Washington area, regular gas averaged $3.65, four cents more than a year ago.

l  Walt Disney posted a quarterly profit of $1.85 billion, beating Wall Street expectations, even though its movie studio earnings declined as hit film “Iron Man 3” failed to match the spectacular success of last year’s “The Avengers.” Pre-release marketing costs for box-office bomb “The Lone Ranger” helped drag down operating income at the studio division by 36 percent from a year earlier, Disney said Tuesday. Disney expects a loss of $160 million to $190 million next quarter for the Johnny Depp movie, Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said.

— From news services

Coming Today

l  Earnings: Carlyle Group, Groupon, Pepco Holdings, Tesla Motors, Time Warner.

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