Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2013 04:41 PM
Subcompact cars have become one of the most vibrant segments of the US auto industry, but Honda has been largely left behind—surprisingly so, for a brand that made its mark as a small-car expert. Through June, US sales of Honda's entry in the segment, the Fit, were only about 25,500 units, putting it in sixth place in a category where Nissan's Versa and Kia's Soul were fighting for leadership, each with about 63,000 sales.
Now, however, Honda appears to be pulling out all the stops in launching a completely new version of Fit in Japan this fall and in the United States by next summer. The tiny car will incorporate and represent a number of big firsts for Honda, placing stakes on the success of Fit that Honda executives couldn't have imagined even two years ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 22, 2013 10:40 AM
As every brand marketer knows, sex sells. And, if you're Fiat, you're suddenly aware that orange does, too.
The Italian brand has been mounting an uphill battle for mainstream awareness, brand recognition and sales in the United States since its little cars returned to American shores a couple of years ago under the aegis of Fiat's ownership of Chrysler and the keen sense of CEO Sergio Marchionne that the timing might be right for Fiat's reappearance in the US market.
Sex appeal has been a staple of Fiat's marketing, and it's no surprise that the brand is turning to it again in new campaigns for its Fiat 500 Abarth version and the new Fiat 500e all-electric vehicle that will be sold first only in California. From its "Seduction" ad a couple of years ago to the one it debuted early last year featuring a supermodel, her bikini top, a scorpion, and—oh, yes—the black-and-red Abarth, Fiat has been playing this card consistently.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 15, 2013 12:13 PM
All of that put-it-together-yourself furniture that IKEA sells around the world has to come from somewhere... and most of it is made of wood. That's why IKEA may very well be the largest global user of wood, consuming an estimated one percent of the world's supply annually to stock its 300-plus stores around the planet with cost-effective, wood-based products, according to the Daily Mail.
The Swedish retailer is not only conscious of its massive wood usage, but it's also doing something about it. In January 2012, for example, IKEA started using corrugated cardboard pallets instead of wooden ones. In its 2012 annual Sustainability Report, Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard says the company has "a long-term sustainable supply of wood" and uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood that supports the improvement of forest management.
"All our wood," writes Howard, "is sourced from suppliers that meet our forestry standards and in FY12, 22.6 percent of our wood was from forests certified by the FSC."Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2013 12:20 PM
It's too early to determine whether the new Cadillac ELR truly will be a game-changer in the sluggish U.S. market for plug-in hybrids. But in unveiling the new vehicle to the world's automotive press at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, at least General Motors is bidding to change the dynamics of the segment in a significant way. Already, it's been deemed best production car of the show, as Cadillac proudly tweeted.
ELR isn't expected to go on sale until early 2014 ("winter" is what GM is promising) and at a price tag (before U.S.-government tax credits for a "green" car purchase) of more than $50,000. GM is relying on the same basic powertrain in Volt, a combination of powerful batteries that can take the car 25 or 30 miles on a charge and a small gasoline engine that takes over once the batteries are out of juice and provides an effective range for the vehicle of about 300 miles.Continue reading...
on the road again
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 19, 2012 03:04 PM
BMW on Saturday wrapped its BMW i global Born Electric Tour's New York City pit stop, which featured a digital window that turned the reflection of cars passing by into its own electric vehicles, the all-electric BMW i3 and plug-in hybrid BMW i8 concept vehicles. Find out more below, along with interviews from the automaker's execs who turned up to the Big Apple.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2012 04:18 PM
Buying a car has never been a walk in the park. But in New York this week, at least looking at BMWs can be that simple.
BMW is displaying its brand in all sorts of new ways these days, including its retail store in Paris and new licensed goods ranging from baby strollers to watches. And now, BMW is bringing its brand to a pop-up experience near you — at least if you live in New York, Rome, Dusseldorf, Tokyo, London, Paris or Shanghai.
The Born Electric Tour, on behalf of the BMW i sub-brand of electric cars announced last year, and featuring glimpses of the brand's future, opens today at Bryant Park in New York, through Saturday. Vehicles on display include the BMW i3 Concept, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder, and its "future mobility services" that reflect the company's vision for urban transportation.
It's the latest stop on a year-long global tour that kicked off in Rome in June. The goal is showcase the BMW i series in a series of pop-up events in seven cities, including Dusseldorf, Tokyo, London, Paris and Shanghai. It's no accident that the tour is visiting only a handful of the largest and most important metropolitan areas in the world's most significant and populous markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 11, 2012 04:03 PM
These are rough times for the electric-vehicle business, despite sky-high gasoline prices, extensive marketing of EVs, and a continual drumbeat of support by the news and entertainment media and governments at all levels.
Nissan has become so concerned about lackluster sales of its all-electric Leaf that it is trimming the price on its 2013 model. Ford is in no hurry to invest marketing resources in the launch of its new Focus Electric. And Toyota — which can count on the success of its Prius hybrid brand instead — has all but forsworn any significant EV presence in the market for at least the next few years.
Why? Despite incredible marketing investment and societal pressure thrown behind getting car-buyers to adopt all-electric vehicles, American consumers by and large are resisting the very notion of EVs. A new study even casts doubt on the net environmental benefits of electric cars, depending on how the power to charge their batteries is produced.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2012 03:08 PM
Nissan is doubling down on its investment in the Leaf electric vehicle in a big way, by opening a $1.6-billion factory in Smyrna, Tenn., to bring to the U.S. production of a car that has been built in Japan until now. Although Nissan is selling fewer Leafs than a year ago, the Japanese automaker — which just moved up 30 percent to #73, with a brand valuation just shy of $5 billion, on Interbrand's new Best Global Brands report — is determined to turn around Leaf's fortunes.
In addition to localizing Leaf production, Nissan underscored the EV's woes late last week as word got out that it plans to introduce a budget version of the nameplate next year in a bid to make the sticker price more plausible to more Americans, according to Automotive News. The low-cost trim level would be positioned below the two higher-spec Leaf versions currently on the market, apparently, and will debut as part of a 2013-model facelift of the entire Leaf line. Continue reading...