Money Minute: Vehicle Quality Slips; Barbie to Debut in Swimsuit Issue

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Is your car less dependable than it was? Well, you're not alone. For the first time in 15 years, J.D. Power says car, truck and SUV owners are reporting more problems with their 3-year-old cars than they did the year before. The report says changes made to 2011 models have led to "a noticeable increase" in the number of problems reported.

Most of the complaints concern transmission and engine problems in 4-cylinder vehicles. J.D. Power says the most dependable brands are all high-end cars: Toyota's (TM) Lexus line, Mercedes Benz, General Motors' (GM) Cadillac and Honda's (HMC) Acura line. The car with the highest rate of problems was BMW's Mini.

The big corporate news this morning: Comcast (CMCSA) (CMCSK) has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) for more than $45 billion -- a deal that would combine the two biggest cable providers. The much smaller Charter Communications (CHTR) had offered to buy Time Warner. No word yet if it will get into a bidding war.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost 30 points Wednesday,
the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) edged just barely lower and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 10 points.

Earnings continue to be a major driver for the market, and that's likely to be the case again today, with disappointing results from Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Whole Foods Market (WFM). We're more than halfway through the current reporting season, and so far 2 of 3 companies have topped Wall Street expectations.

Finally, Sports Illustrated is teaming up with Barbie -- to create some controversy and some publicity. The magazine will publish its 50th anniversary Swimsuit edition next week, and it will include a four-page advertising feature starring Barbie, the swimsuit model sold by toymaker Mattel (MAT), right alongside supermodels like Christie Brinkley and Brooklyn Decker.

The ad shoot, done by one of Sports Illustrated's most famous photographers, will promote a special edition Barbie on sale only at Target (TGT). The campaign has sparked a big social media debate -- something that Sports Illustrated, Mattel and Target are all pretty happy about.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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toosmart4u

Way to go General Motors, all 4 brands made J.D. Powers ratings top 10. No other manufacturer can say that. American vehicles are coming a long way forward. Toyota Prius recalling 1.9 Million. #1 in recalls in 3 of the last 4 years. Stillmadein USA.com Lets get America moving.

February 13 2014 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hsenpfeffer

Just imagine what America could do if we could get most of the lying salestrash off our backs. They drive up the price of everything sky high while adding zero value, spending most of their days drunk on the golfing course telling lies, slapping each other on the back and whining about union workers.

February 13 2014 at 1:17 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
toosmart4u

Way to go General Motors, all 4 of your brands are in the top 10, only vehicle manufacturer to accomplis this. Now we know American can make vehicles better than most other brands.

February 13 2014 at 11:12 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toosmart4u's comment
alfrankenfool

Evan is a dunce.

February 13 2014 at 3:44 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
lthrnck68

Why not Barbie? Marvel did several issues that featured their characters in swimsuits.

February 13 2014 at 11:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gtm1549

how about some real dolls not the fake kind. There enough phonies out there.

February 13 2014 at 10:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply