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NAIAS 2015: Chevrolet CMO Tim Mahoney on the Volt, Bolt and Beyond

Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2015 05:28 PM

Chevrolet Volt 2016

Tim Mahoney has been reshaping the Chevrolet brand since he took over as global CMO in early 2013, leaving the CMO post at Volkswagen US to steer one of the most iconic brands in the entire auto industry.

Having chatted wth Mahoney at CES 2015 last week, where he gave a sneak peek at the Chevy Volt, we were eager to catch up with him at the North American International Auto Show, where he could say more about the brand's 2015 (and beyond) plans.

One thing not in those plans: Super Bowl advertising, as Chevrolet plans to skip the Big Game this year, along with a handful of other automotive brands that advertised during last year's Super Bowl: Lincoln, Acura, Jaguar and Honda.Continue reading...

charging up

Starbucks Helps Cut the Cord with Nationwide Rollout of Duracell Powermats

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 12, 2014 01:36 PM

After a successful pilot run of Duracell "Powermat Spots," Starbucks is rolling out wireless phone chargers across the US. The powermats, which are seamlessly integrated into tables and countertops in Starbucks and Teavana cafes, will begin wider distribution starting in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

"The way we interact with power today is unchanged since the time of Thomas Edison," Powermat president Daniel Schreiber told The Verge. But Powermat and Starbucks are moving customers beyond "sticking two pieces of metal into a hole in the wall" by creating "something invisible and part of the furniture in the most literal sense of the word."

The partnership with Duracell Powermat—a joint venture between Procter & Gamble's Duracell brand and Powermat Technologies—and Starbucks “is transforming the way consumers get power to their phones, in much the same way it made WiFi a standard amenity in public places,” said Stassi Anastassov, President of Duracell at Procter & Gamble, in a press release. “This endeavor is a critical step in Duracell’s vision to make dead battery anxiety a thing of the past.” 

Over the next three years, more than 100,000 table chargers will be installed in Starbucks' 7,500 company-owned stores in the US, which follows the brand's improvement of its in-store Wi-Fi network. "Starbucks believes this is another step in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to in-store technology," Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks, told USA Today.Continue reading...

Tesla Wows Investors as Luxury-EV Company Looks Towards Expansion

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2013 10:49 AM

Riders on the first SpaceX flights next year might worry that Elon Musk's trailblazing enterprise could take them all the way to the moon instead of just barely piercing space. Musk's Tesla Motors, at least, keeps exceeding expectations.

Tesla shares tacked on 15 percent or more to their price by Thursday morning in the several hours since Musk announced on Wednesday that his EV company had busted Wall Street's model again and posted a sharply reduced loss, which could even be translated as a profit without the effect of several extraordinary items. The main point was that Tesla was continuing to sell more Model S vehicles at $70,000 to $100,000 than Even Musk expected and that prospects were becoming even rosier.

The disconnect between sales of Tesla Model S—appealing to wealthy, eco-conscious buyers—and struggling sales of "mainstream" electrified vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus Electric grew with Tesla's earnings announcement. Model S deliveries totaled 5,150 in the second quarter, topping the company's target of 4,500, and Musk announced in a conference call that an annual selling rate of $40,000 by the end of next year looks "pretty safe," according to Bloomberg.Continue reading...

Bob Lutz, Fisker Himself Pursue Buyout of Troubled Fisker Automotive

Posted by Dale Buss on May 28, 2013 03:41 PM

Ex-GM executive Bob Lutz has been resolute in his support of the Chevrolet Volt that he championed when he was vice chairman and product czar at General Motors a few years ago. Now he's singing the praises of another electric car with a patchy record: the Fisker Karma.

In fact Lutz, bon vivant, former jet-fighter pilot and one of the most celebrated of the few true American auto-industry heroes of the last 20 years, likes Fisker so much that he wants to buy it—the company, not the car—along with some Chinese investors.

Trouble is, another investor group aiming at Fisker Automotive has also surfaced in the last few days. This one is also backed by Chinese investors but is headed by Henrik Fisker, co-founder of the company and designer of the Karma who left it a few weeks ago after a fallout with other top executives over strategy. Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, a Fisker investor, is his partner.Continue reading...


GM CMO Batey Looks to Woo Millennials to Chevrolet With Big Screen Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on February 18, 2013 06:02 PM

Now that Chevrolet has rolled out the first creative under its "Find New Roads" brand positioning, General Motors CMO Alan Batey wants to give the upbeat, product-oriented theme as much exposure as he can.

Batey tells brandchannel that, in addition to new vehicle-specific TV ads in the weeks ahead, Chevrolet will be doing more in-cinema advertising than ever before.

The original ad that aired during the recent Grammy Awards telecast on CBS—including vignettes separately featuring the Chevrolet Volt, Spark, Sonic, Corvette Stingray and Impala—"will be broken down into four standalone-product ads," Batey told us, "and we'll also be using that work quite extensively not just on TV but also in cinema," he said.Continue reading...

brand news

Brands in the News: Dreamliner, GM, Blockbuster and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 17, 2013 09:02 AM

In the News

Airbus sees orders fall as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is grounded in U.S., Japan, Europe and India.

GM woos Facebook to return to paid ads, remains cautious on 2013, defends Opel restructuring and eyes cheaper Chevy Volt.

Blockbuster faces U.K. closure after no buyers emerge.

American Airlines swings to profit and sees “good trajectory” for this year.

Apple rattles Wall Street with sharp stock-price drop.

AT&T looks to Europe for mergers.

Audi aims for 200,000 U.S. sales “sooner” rather than “later.”Continue reading...


Mini Hits a Speed Bump But Still a Giant Among Tiny Cars

Posted by Dale Buss on January 19, 2012 03:58 PM

Small cars are facing big problems these days.

Mini this week announced a global recall that impacts 89,000 of its cars in the United States, including its Mini Cooper line, and 235,000 worldwide because of faulty water pumps that can malfunction and have caused some engine-compartment fires. Mini parent BMW is trying to reassure consumers that the move is preventative. Indeed, Mini's documented problem — five of the fires reportedly destroyed cars actually being used by their owners — far eclipses the fire problem in the Chevrolet Volt that has so weighed down that brand lately.

Beyond that speed bump, Mini these days is achieving exactly what the BMW-owned brand has wanted to achieve in the American market: reigning as the undisputed champion of the tiny-car segment, holding off the likes of Smart, Scion and even Fiat.Continue reading...


GM Implements Chevy Volt Quick-Fix Ahead of Detroit Auto Show

Posted by Dale Buss on January 5, 2012 04:04 PM

General Motors today took what it hopes is a big step toward keeping the Chevrolet Volt brand on track, announcing its promised "quick fix" to a design flaw that led some of the car's battery packs to catch fire days or weeks after they were damaged in government safety tests.

The move comes just weeks after the problem led to a federal investigation, its relative speediness testifying to the tremendous long-term importance that has been attached to the success of Volt, a so-called plug-in hybrid that can be powered entirely either by its battery pack or by a small gasoline engine, a significant wrinkle compared with electric-only vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.

GM is adding a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to prevent potential coolant overfill, to "further protect" the battery against the kinds of damage in question. The company noted that Volt remains a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and executives have remarked that Volt is as safe as any other vehicle. Today's announcement was aimed at going "the extra mile to ensure our customers' peace of mind," said Mary Barra, GM's vice president of global product development.

Volt could use some steadying. The nameplate sold 1,529 units in December, its best month, but many of those were sales to commercial fleets, not retail customers, Alan Batey, head of the Chevrolet division, told journalists. And total sales of fewer than 7,700 Volts for the year fell far short of GM's projection of 10,000 sales in the car's first year.Continue reading...

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