Posted by Dale Buss on May 21, 2013 10:37 AM
The splashy debut of the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class in an Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany, last week promises to shake up the global battle among the three German luxury brands for worldwide dominance.
From the choice of seven different interior-light colors to radar and night-vision systems that practically allow the sedan to drive itself, the new S-Class gives Mercedes-Benz reason to believe that it can compete more effectively in the US market and worldwide with arch rivals BMW and Audi.
For its part, Audi is emphasizing more of a shift to high-performance models to help fuel its continued rise in the US market and elsewhere, while BMW is counting on the US debut of three new models this fall to help the brand keep its American premium-luxury crown for the third straight year even though Mercedes-Benz leads the segment in US sales so far this year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2013 09:16 AM
Dell reports 79 percent drop in profit as takeover battle continues.
Dow Chemical is ordered to pay $1.2 billion in price-fixing case.
Google Glass expands apps and integrates Facebook and Twitter.
Apple fights back in antitrust case over e-book pricing as it loses luster in global poll.
Audi shifts to high-performance models to propel sales.
BlackBerry regains lost market share in Canada.
Citigroup bans traders from using Bloomberg terminal chat groups.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2013 01:38 PM
Many other auto brands are pinning their hopes for global gains on a continued strengthening of the US market and their position in it. So why not Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand? The chiefs of both brands are expressing their intentions to leapfrog other marques in the next few years in large part by persuading more Americans to buy them.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that he has ordered his team to double Nissan's sales in the US by 2017. If Ghosn also means to double market share, that would give Nissan about a 15 percent chunk of American car sales within three years, compared with its 7.7 percent share and sales of 1.1 million units last year, up in volume by 5 percent over the previous year.
With the European market difficult for its sibling Renault brand and other national arenas, including China, proving somewhat iffier, Ghosn has focused on his disappointment with Nissan's recent sales performance in the US and has vowed to correct it. Much of the problem stemmed from difficult and late launches of the redesigned bread-and-butter sedan, the Nissan Altima, and other new models last year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 14, 2013 09:26 AM
BMW is investing 3 billion euros in EVs and marketing.
AP execs outraged over government probe of phone records.
Sony is targeted for breakup by American investor.
Airbus aims to steal limelight from Boeing at upcoming Paris Air Show.
Amazon workers go on strike in Germany.
BNP Paribas eyes mobile and online banking.
Citibank says "no fees" means "never."
Coach approached Tory Burch about a deal.
Coca-Cola faces claim that Coke top-secret recipe has been found.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 13, 2013 09:33 AM
Bangladesh plans to raise pay for garment workers and allow unions.
ABC veteran Barbara Walters announces 2014 retirement as Disney plans to live-stream ABC programming via app and cloud.
Yum! sales in China fall 29 percent in April.
ABB says CEO plans to resign.
Audi outsells BMW brand globally — again.
Bloomberg admits use of its terminals for data snooping.
CBS chief touts TV over digital engagement.
Cisco tries reinvention in tough time.
Danone sets deal to acquire Happy Family brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 10, 2013 10:31 AM
Audi is feeling its oats as a brand, with steadily growing ambitions that now encompass expansion in South America in addition to North America, as Volkswagen's luxury brand attempts to beat out BMW for worldwide premium-segment leadership.
China has been Audi's strongest foreign market for a while. But with luxury-brand competition growing there and European luxury buyers strapped by the continent's recessionary economy, Audi executives have been casting their vision increasingly to the Western Hemisphere for growth. They already have managed to score impressive gains in the US market in terms of sales and brand prestige—but only in America does Audi significantly trail BMW, and Mercedes-Benz for that matter, in actual unit volumes.
Aiming to change that, Audi executives joined local and federal officials in Mexico over the weekend in laying the foundation stone for a $1.3 billion plant that will begin turning out a new version of the Audi Q5, its best-selling crossover, in mid-2016.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 8, 2013 03:36 PM
Planned scarcity is a classic marketing trick for high-end goods. And if luxury fare isn't just difficult enough to get, then many of the most discriminating consumers don't want it anyway.
Ferrari's vehicles have been relatively inattainable forever largely by dint of their six-figure pricetags (and the brand unveiled a new, $1.3 million LaFerrari hybrid model at the Geneva auto show in March). But now Ferrari wants to make its goods even more exclusive by beginning to limit production. It's hoping a new tie-in with Apple will boost Ferrari's rarefied cachet even more.
The company plans to scale back sales to fewer than 7,000 vehicles this year to "maintain the exclusivity" of the brand. Ferrari sold 7,318 cars last year, and revenues so far this year have grown by about 4 percent over a year earlier.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 8, 2013 10:38 AM
In a new ad for its 2013 S7, Audi pits Star Trek's old Spock, Leonard Nimoy, against the franchise's new, upstart Spock, Zachary Quinto. Timed to coincide with the upcoming release of the second of the rebooted Star Trek series of films, the ad is being hailed as "the greatest car commercial ever."
Of course, logically, the commercial might not send the message to its target audience that Audi hopes.
While the commercial is certainly clever, is it more than stunt casting to no end? "Geeks" are certainly loving not just the concept but some of the finer details, such as Nimoy hinting to his legendary rendition of the "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins." (A detail connected to the Mercedes-driving Nimoy, by the way, that has created maybe the most positive buzz about the whole undertaking.)
As a few geeks have pointed out, Audi's ad follows the recent spot for Star Trek: The Video Game, which reunited old Kirk, William Shatner, with sparring partner and poorly-costumed alien lizard Gorn in the same sardonic, meta style.Continue reading...