Better Malibu mileage
General Motors, updating the Chevrolet Malibu after disappointing sales, said the 2014 model’s estimated fuel economy for city and highway driving will increase 12 percent, beating the Toyota Camry. The base 2014 Malibu, which will reach U.S. showrooms later this year, will get 29 miles per gallon in combined city and highway use, GM said. The 2013 base model got 26 mpg, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Toyota’s 2014 base Camry gets a combined 28 mpg, according to the EPA. The Malibu is built at GM’s Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan.
Apple iPhone trade-ins
Apple may be planning to introduce an iPhone buyback plan at its retail stores next month to coincide with the release of its latest smartphone. The company is expected to release the new versions of its phone and tablet computer at a Sept. 10 event. USA Today reported that the company is preparing a buyback option where old iPhones could be traded in for the new product. That might shave several hundred dollars off the purchase price.
Shatto Milk Co. of Osborn, Mo., has been rolling out a few special flavors in honor of its 10th anniversary this year. The fifth flavor, Blueberry Milk, is scheduled to hit store shelves Thursday in a unique half-liter bottle featuring the word Chillin’.
Wii U price cut
Nintendo is cutting the price of its Wii U video game system as it braces for the fall release of competing consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo announced that it will reduce the price of the Wii U deluxe set from $349.99 to $299.99, effective Sept. 20.
No Texas penalty
A research firm said Motorola’s new Moto X phone doesn’t cost more to make simply because it is assembled in Texas. The Moto X is the first smartphone to carry the “Made in the U.S.A.” designation. Labor costs are higher in the U.S. compared with Asian factories, where phones are typically made. But researchers at IHS said the overall cost for parts and labor is cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy S4 by about 5 percent.
Housing market indicators
• Fewer people signed contracts to buy U.S. homes in July, but the level stayed close to a 6.5-year high. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales declined 1.3 percent to 109.5.
• Mortgage applications in the U.S. fell last week to the lowest since February 2011 as a jump in interest rates led to another drop in home refinancing. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index decreased 2.5 percent in the period ending Aug. 23, the 10th decline in the past 11 weeks.
| Staff and news services