Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 03:49 PM
With prospects for European auto sales not significantly rosier anytime soon, more companies are taking drastic steps that weren't envisioned even a year ago.
Maybe none is more dramatic than the report that one of the most beleaguered European automakers, France's PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, plans to hire the former No. 2 executive of its archrival Renault to succeed current Peugeot CEO Philippe Varin next year. Carlos Tavares would join initially as No. 2 and then take over the helm, Automotive News Europe reported.
Peugeot reportedly is trying to impress potential equity partner Dongfeng, the Chinese automaker, with its seriousness about making changes as Varin seeks to help his company become less dependent on Europe, where it now sells more than 50 percent of its vehicles. Tavares is the executive who noisily left Renault at the end of August after saying in one of the most public forums available—an interview with Bloomberg—that he thought he was worthy of running an automaker himself and wanted to do so. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn quickly took note, and his COO was gone.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 22, 2013 09:14 AM
IKEA under investigation in France for snooping on workers.
Walgreens opens nation's first energy-net-zero retail store.
Microsoft heats up gaming-console wars with debut of Xbox One.
Air New Zealand launches "Middle Earth" campaign tied to release of The Hobbit movie.
Acer brings back founder without pay to help struggling PC maker.
Amazon amps up for winning holiday as executive predicts quantum leap in online alcohol sales.
Apple wins a patent retrial against Samsung.
Bauer Media launches digital brand aimed at wealthy young women.
Beam and Cinnabon to introduce co-branded vodka.
Caterpillar is probed for possibly dumping parts in the ocean.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2013 03:57 PM
When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recruited Johan de Nysschen to head the Infiniti brand last year, he wanted his new recruit to accomplish much the same for Nissan's luxury brand as de Nysschen had done in turning around the fortunes of Audi in the US market. Only Ghosn wanted it done on a global basis.
Some of the results of de Nysschen's disruptive new strategy have become evident now, as Infiniti newly targets both China and its home country of Japan as it attempts to achieve Ghosn's target of 10 percent of the world premium market by 2020.
In China, de Nysschen told Bloomberg, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and his old employer, Audi, "have become so successful that they've become almost a little bit ubiquitous. They're everywhere. And this is where we see a big opportunity with this new emerging premium consumer, to offer them an alternative, reinvent the notion of exclusivity."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2013 11:52 AM
Two topics have dominated industry chatter at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week: When will the European market begin recovering? And what's with all the new SUVs that are on display at the show?
Oh, and 'Where's Waldo?' Or, rather, why did Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne abruptly cancel his planned appearances at the show?
There are signs that sales in Europe at least have flattened out. But while UK car sales rose in August by 11 percent in their 18th consecutive month of growth, that has been a contrast to Germany, France, Italy and Spain, all of which have continued to suffer sales declines.
"Clearly, Europe still has a long way to recover," Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America Group, told brandchannel. "Eastern and Central Europe are showing a few more signs of rebound, but they're still relatively weak."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2013 12:48 PM
Nissan stepped up and became the first automaker to vow to deliver a market-ready "self-driving" car by a date certain: 2020. An executive promised the company would be "ready to bring multiple affordable, energy-efficient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market" by then.
But will Nissan have a problem meeting this goal as it has for delivering predicted sales volumes of its Leaf all-electric vehicle? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, rivals are likely to begin setting their own public timetables for launching self-driving vehicles.
One thing is for sure even at this point: Automakers themselves have stepped up recently and have begun taking control of a much greater share of the discussion and development of self-driving cars, an idea once dominated by Google with its tests of autonomous vehicles.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 27, 2013 11:14 AM
GM CEO Dan Akerson has promised that the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid will be priced as much as $10,000 lower than the car's current sticker price of about $40,000 as the company learns how to cut manufacturing costs and spread the savings across higher production volumes.
But for electric-vehicle aficionados who don't want to wait that long before a battery-powered car becomes affordable, GM is doing something now: offering the new Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle at a price of just $27,495, making it among the least expensive EVs on the market.
GM is keeping the sticker price at less than $20,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit is applied. It also is offering a $199-a-month, 36-month lease with $999 down, matching the lease deal of rival Fiat, according to Automotive News.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 November 20, 2012 11:41 AM
Nissan's Facebook page says it all: "Doing things right is hard work." And Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault-Nissan, is encouraging his executives to roll up their sleeves and keep working on ambitious market-share targets that he still maintains for Nissan's growth in America.
He has held out Nissan's US market share goal at 10 percent, while its current share is just shy of 8 percent. For the year to date through October, Nissan sales were ahead of year-earlier levels by more than 10 percent, including about a 20-percent boost for the Infiniti luxury brand — despite effects of Hurricane Sandy that disrupted Nissan's crucial northeastern-U.S. market, and despite the strong comebacks of arch-rivals Toyota and Honda.
Ghosn, of course, is setting the bar higher. "We are still not at our potential," Ghosn told Automotive News. "We can be at a much higher operational performance level. We're driving to that. When we approach [the necessary levels] we can [attain] 10 percent market share."Continue reading...