Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

August 14, 2009

Republic wins bid for Frontier, beats Southwest

Republic Airways Holdings says it won the bankruptcy court auction for Frontier Airlines, buying the Denver-based carrier for almost $108.8 million. Southwest Airlines Co. said its $170 million bid was deemed unacceptable because the carrier would not back down from a requirement that its pilots and Frontier's work out their integration before the deal would close. That was a non-issue for Republic, which has said it plans to keep operating Frontier as a stand-alone carrier. Pilot union negotiators for Southwest and Frontier talked until late Wednesday without reaching a deal.

- Associated Press

Retail sales unexpectedly dip, jobless claims rise

WASHINGTON - Retail sales disappointed in July and the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week. The latest government reports reinforced concerns about how quickly consumers will be able to contribute to a broad economic recovery. The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month. Economists had expected a gain of 0.7 percent. The July dip in U.S. retail sales was the first setback after two months of modest gains. The Labor Department said initial claims increased to a seasonally adjusted 558,000, from 554,000 the previous week. Analysts expected new claims to drop to 545,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

- Associated Press

Consumers get more flexibility on clunkers

WASHINGTON - Car shoppers running into shortages of certain vehicles at dealerships will still be able to use the Cash for Clunkers program to reserve the car of their choice, the Obama administration said Thursday. The Transportation Department said consumers who want to purchase a new vehicle not available on a dealer lot would still be eligible for the car rebate program if they ordered it from the manufacturer. The move will help dealers and automakers who have struggled to keep hot-selling vehicles in stock because of the popularity of the government incentives.

- Associated Press

Some dealers hold buyers liable for clunker cash

Consumer advocates called on federal officials Thursday to crack down on auto dealers that they contend are taking advantage of car buyers participating in the government's "cash for clunkers" program. In some cases, the groups said, dealerships are requiring buyers to sign agreements that oblige the consumer to repay the dealer for the program's $3,500 or $4,500 rebate if the government denies the claim - despite a government advisory that consumers are not required to sign such agreements. Dealer associations in some states are providing the agreements on their Web sites for members to use in clunker transactions. The dealers apparently are using such agreements to guarantee that they receive the rebates promised by the program. The program has been plagued by uncertainty over its late payments to dealers, who are required to give consumers the rebate and then wait for government reimbursement.

- Los Angeles Times

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