brand news

Brand News: Mercedes-Maybach, Dollar General, Netflix and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2014 09:07 AM

TOP STORIES

The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Dollar General may have to divest more than 4,000 stores to buy Family Dollar.

Netflix pulls Bill Cosby special amid rape allegations as Nielsen plans to measure Netflix viewing.

Takata faces nationwide U.S. recall order for driver side air bags.

Keystone XL pipeline falls one vote short of U.S. Senate passage.Continue reading...

automotive

Ford Looks Ahead to a Promising 2014 with New Models, New Jobs, and Maybe a New CEO

Posted by Dale Buss on December 13, 2013 01:51 PM

Ford is bursting at the seams. It plans to add 5,000 more US jobs next year and launch 23 vehicles globally. In the American market, the company just had its best November since 2004. And its dealers are jacked up about being able to sell the new Ford Mustang and a new version of America's most popular vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup truck, next year.

With great industry fanfare this week, Ford announced that it will add 3,300 salaried positions, most in southeastern Michigan, among the 5,000 new US jobs next year and that more than 80 percent of the salaried jobs will be technical positions in product development, manufacturing, quality and IT. That bespeaks an optimism about and commitment to the company's long-term future, not just moves to attempt to keep up with the still-growing US market. In fact, Ford is trimming some production short-term to stay just in line with the US recovery.

"Next year, we are embarking on our most ambitious global product launch year ever to meet customer demand for our products around the world," Ran Jair, group vice president for global product development, said in a statement.Continue reading...

Green-Tinged Los Angeles Auto Show Finds Importance as Brand Platform

Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2013 06:43 PM

The stream of brand news out of the Los Angeles Auto Show has never been stronger. More carmakers are using the exhibition as a launch platform. And while the vehicles and features they're choosing to introduce have a decidedly green tint, that's the way the industry is headed anyway.

As the event heads into the public-exhibition phase, which is expected to draw record attendance, the Los Angeles Auto Show today saw Honda Accord named "Green Car of the Year" by Green Car Journal, an increasingly sought-after designation in an era when alternative powertrains comprise much of the cutting edge of the auto business. The addition of hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of Accord helped seal the deal. Two diesel-powered cars, Audi A6 TDI and BMW 328d, were the other finalists.

Honda also drew interest with its sleek FCEV hydrogen-fuel-cell concept car. And executives announced that the 2014 Honda Civic compact will come equipped with a continuously variable transmission, a technology that smooths shifting as the car accelerates and saves fuel as well as boosts driving enjoyment.Continue reading...

automotive

Ford Starts Making Fusion at Michigan Plant, Adding to 'Made In America'

Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2013 01:48 PM

When the first American-built Ford Fusion rolled off the assembly line at a Ford plant in suburban Detroit today, it marked more than the start of expanded availability for the popular new version of the mid-size sedan, more than the addition of 1,400 jobs, and more than a complete return to the Ford fold of a plant that for the last several years had been making Mazdas under a partnership.

The short ride for the first car also represented the biggest manifestation yet of a re-Americanization of the auto industry that is reshaping the business around the globe.

For Ford, expanding production of Fusion at its plant in Flat Rock, Mich. was an easy decision from an operational point of view. Sales of the restyled new version of the car grew by 13 percent for the first seven months of 2013 compared with a year earlier, but Ford actually has been losing sales lately because its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, hasn't been able to supply enough new Fusions to the US market.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Bill Ackman, Samsung, Billabong and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 27, 2013 09:27 AM

In the News

Bill Ackman gives up stake in JCPenney.

Samsung confirms Galaxy Gear Smartwatch for Sept. 4. 

Billabong reports record loss and writes down value of brands.

Adobe has some bold plans for online ad business. 

Amazon exposes cloud's dark lining with weekend outage.

Apple plans to launch trade-in program for iPhone, report says.

AT&T sees its commercial straight man leap to Saturday Night Live.

Best Buy will see founder unload some of his shares this year.

Chevrolet does deal with University of Texas Longhorns for Silverado.

Cracker Barrel revamps menu with lighter dishes and rejects activist investor's third attempt to join its board.

Ford ramps up output of Fusion to challenge Toyota's Camry.Continue reading...

Toyota Remains King of Hybrids, but Ford Keeps Chipping Away with C-Max

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2013 06:32 PM

Toyota finally has some serious competition for the American hybrid-car buyer. Ford has committed to the segment like no second brand has ever done before, and is making up huge ground with its C-Max and Ford Fusion hybrids.

But Toyota remains king of the battery mountain with its Prius brand. The company reported an overall increase in hybrid sales in June of 19 percent over last year, with sales of the Prius family of vehicles specifically rising by 10 percent, to more than 21,000 units for the month. Year-to-date, Prius sales are more than 120,000 units, and after the first half of the year, Toyota continues to account for more than half of all alternative-fuel vehicles sold in the US market.

"We're right on track to hit our target for the year," Bill Fay, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager, told automotive journalists on Tuesday.Continue reading...

automotive

Ford, General Motors Swap Successes and Failures as Their Rivalry Tightens Up

Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2013 03:38 PM

Just as the conventional wisdom in the auto industry used to be that Toyota's quality always would be unparalleled, the thought has been that Ford would never catch General Motors in US sales volume.

But these days, just as Toyota's grip on the quality crown is being threatened by some other auto makers, Ford has come within a whisper of beating GM in sales. In May, on the strength of a 14 percent year-over-year sales gain, Ford came within 6,000 units of besting its long-time larger rival in US sales, as GM posted just a 3 percent relative gain.

"It's not necessarily saying that GM's performance was bad, becasue it wasn't," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmuncs.com, according to The New York Times. "It was just that Ford was better. Ford has a balance in their portfolio, while GM is a little more hit or miss."Continue reading...

GM Puts a Rush on Redesigned 2014 Malibu So You Forget About 2013 Model

Posted by Dale Buss on May 31, 2013 02:38 PM

When General Motors introduced the most recent generation of its Chevrolet Malibu mid-sized sedan in 2007, it was quickly hailed as one of the company's best new products in many years, and it helped set the stage for the post-bankruptcy sales revival that the company would begin experiencing in 2009.

But not so with the newest Malibu, the 2013 version: Critics panned it, and even GM has admitted it's not up to snuff. What's remarkable, however, is that the company already has pivoted quickly to producing a new "mid-cycle" version of the car that addresses many of its shortcomings and is already bringing it out as a 2014 Malibu after a fast-tracked, 18-month development effort.

"The mid-sized sedan segment is the most contested in the industry," GM North America President Mark Reuss said in a statement. "We're not sitting still with the 2014 Malibu." Rapidly made improvements include an improved 2.5-liter engine with stop-start technology, an improved suspension and what GM called "a more refined ride," a broader grille on the front end, and "sit-deeper" new rear-seat cushions.Continue reading...

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