Posted by Dale Buss on November 11, 2013 04:34 PM
Japanese auto brands have rebounded from the Great Recession and 2011's tsunami and earthquake to re-establish their relevance in the global auto industry. But the Tokyo Motor Show hasn't fared as well, suffering since then by comparison with auto shows in China, even as Japan itself has suffered as a center of automotive production by comparison with growth in North America and other markets.
Now, with the 43rd edition of the biennial Tokyo show that kicks off on November 20, organizers aim to change the perception of a fading industry platform with an emphasis on "smart mobility" and a big boost from the biggest of home teams, Toyota. The effort is meant to move the show beyond the unfavorable realities, which now include the fact that the Detroit Three automakers don't even bother to exhibit their wares at the show anymore and the formidable competition from the Los Angeles Auto Show that also occurs this month, half a world away.
While Toyota's doing the pushing, it could be another Japanese automaker—Nissan—that helps put the country's annal auto show back on the map with its cutting-edge (wearable) technology.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2013 10:16 AM
If US government edicts, mammoth federal and state tax credits, TV ads starring polar bears, guilt trips by Hollywood celebrities and fawning coverage by the nation's news media don't move all-electric vehicles, how about an old-fashioned tactic from the nation's blurry economic past: price cuts.
A rip-roaring price war of sorts has begun to break out in America among peddlers of EVs that face continued frustration in gaining mainstream market demand for their cars even as Tesla draws plenty of interest from the well-to-do for its well-reviewed, $70,000 Model S electric car.
Ford just announced that it plans to lop $4,000 off the $39,200 base price of the 2013 Focus EV, before a $7,500 federal tax credit. That followed Nissan cutting the starting price of its slow-selling Leaf by $6,400, to $28,800, and extending a new offer of a $199 monthly lease.
The Fiat 500e, meanwhile, which goes on sale later this summer, also carries a $199-per-month lease and a nifty proviso that allows owners to borrow conventional cars from a rental company when they need to carry significant loads or travel outside the car's roughly 70-mile range.Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2013 09:55 AM
The Motor City is the hub of the global auto industry once more, and the North American International Auto Show that opens with a press preview on Monday in Detroit's Cobo Center will underscore that welcome returning reality. It's also expected that the U.S. market as a whole will pick up share versus other global markets in 2013.
Over the last decade, Detroit's traditional "Big Three" automakers have been transformed. Their shares of the market collapsed; then the Great Recession whacked the U.S. car market; then the federal government bailed out two of them.
But now, arguably, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are in their best shape collectively in a very long time.
Each is selling trucks at a healthy clip again, their most profitable segment. GM will finally shed the rest of the albatross of U.S.-government ownership soon and, with a slew of new-product launches ready for 2013, should enjoy a share uptick this year. Ford will be trying to build on its gains of the last few years with solid new models including a restyled Ford Fusion sedan, the hybrid-only C-Max and the new Escape. And Chrysler, now owned by Fiat, will attempt to keep building on its remarkable turnaround story.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 17, 2012 09:01 AM
Toyota sets to reclaim world sales crown as GMand Volkswagen vie for No. 2 and hints at elimination of Matrix model.
Domino's Pizza founder sues over Obamacare contraception coverage mandate.
McDonald's tries to get franchisees to stay open on Christmas.
Akamai taps co-founder as new CEO.
Burger King works with franchisee to expand in Mexico.
Chobani nears openingof huge new factory in Idaho.
Cosi uses pop-up unit in Chicago to test growth ideas.
Cox cable TV guide offers personalized recommendations in U.S. first.
Discover Communications makes key European deals.
Facebook counts on big deal with Walmart.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 14, 2012 09:02 AM
Hostess brands reportedly attract bids from Walmart and Kroger.
LinkedIn gains job-recruiting edge over Monster, reveals most-liked brands of 2012.
Nissan begins turning out Leaf batteries at new U.S. plant.
Apple dominates tablet-purchase intent, survey says, but loses patent case to licensing firm.
Build-A-Bear considers change at top.
Fox News leads cable segment while CNN dips.
GM revamps MyLink system.
Jaguar drops plan to build supercar.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 10, 2012 06:34 PM
Things have been getting a bit testy in the high-profile, low-sales world of electric vehicles. Late last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, a Fiat executive took a none-too-veiled shot at Nissan for the styling of its Leaf. And Nissan quickly shot right back at some of Fiat's own design executions.
The spat began when Matt Davis, head of Fiat product marketing in the United States, was talking about the coming all-electric version of the Fiat 500 and told Bloomberg News on Nov. 28, "Let's be honest, ugliness is probably one of the worst forms of pollution. The Fiat 500e proves that you do not have to give up on good looks to deliver an electric car."
Now, in Davis's defense, he was absolutely right about the design of most all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids so far. They're at best uninspired, at worst an arrogant reflection of the notion that because they're powered in a "superior" fashion, such models don't need to look like conventional vehicles either. So you end up with the minimalist wedge shape of the Toyota Prius, the prosaic design of the Chevrolet Volt — and the pragmatic styling package comprised by Leaf.
With that in mind, fast forward to Fiat's first US campaign for the 500e — one using the oldest rule in the marketer's playbook ("Sex Sells"). The racy new commercial aims to estabish its EV as the hot, sexy car in the category.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 09:06 AM
Airbus and Boeing aim at each other in advertising spat.
CNN prospects weighed under Jeff Zucker.
Canadian Club launches "Join the Club" red-meat campaign.
Carnival apologizes to gay passengers after forbidding drag dress on cruise.
Chevrolet sees Volt ranked as best-loved car by Consumer Reports.
Costco to spend $3 billion on special dividend ahead of fiscal cliff.
Exxon faces short-term shortage of oil supplies.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...