Staff photo by Mike Pare / A Volkswagen ID.4 SUV sits outside the company's Chattanooga production plant with part of the arched employee walkway in the background. The SUV is to be built in Chattanooga in 2022.

VW's ID.4 SUV on top 10 EV list

Volkswagen's all-new ID.4 electric SUV was named to Autotrader's list of 10 Best Electric Cars for 2021.

"The Volkswagen ID.4 not only is the brand's first electric SUV, but it's also a showcase of what to expect from future electric cars from the brand," said the editors at Autotrader. "A new design language is on display inside and out, and we like the simplicity of the high-tech interior. We also like the 250-mile range, the generous standard safety tech features, and three years of free charging with Electrify America."

Volkswagen's first global EV, the ID.4 marries the strengths of a purpose-built electric vehicle with performance, packaging and value, according to Volkswagen of America.

"The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "We're thrilled to rack up a second accolade from Autotrader so soon after launch."

Next year, the vehicle will be built at VW's Chattanooga production plant.


30-year mortgages fall near 3% levels

Mortgage rates fell for a second straight week amid signs of economic improvement.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the benchmark 30-year home-loan rate declined to 3.04% this week from 3.13% last week. At this time last year, the long-term rate was 3.31%.

The rate for a 15-year loan dipped to 2.35% from to 2.42% last week. Last week's decline was the first in more than two months.


Equal pay bill nears House OK

House Democrats are poised to pass legislation that they say would help close the gap between what men and women are paid in the workplace, though the measure faces little chance of overcoming Republican opposition in the Senate.

The bill would make it easier to sue employers over pay discrimination, curb the ability of companies to retaliate and beef up enforcement of existing laws. It would also ban employers from prohibiting employees from discussing their salaries.

Democrats say the bill is needed because white women make on average 82 cents to every dollar earned by white men. But Republicans counter it would largely be a boon for trial lawyers looking to sue.


UnitedHealth results beat street forecasts

UnitedHealth Group Inc.on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings of $4.86 billion.

On a per-share basis, the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company said it had profit of $5.08. Earnings, adjusted for amortization costs, were $5.31 per share.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $4.42 per share.

The largest U.S. health insurer posted revenue of $70.2 billion in the period, which also topped Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $68.98 billion.

UnitedHealth expects full-year earnings in the range of $18.10 to $18.60 per share.