Posted by Dale Buss on November 17, 2014 12:54 PM
The North American auto industry continues to ride a surge that is harkening back to the halcyon days of a decade ago, when 16- and 17-million-unit years represented a modern sales peak for the business. Automakers must also find ways to boost sales without the benefit of an incipient economic recovery and the "pent-up demand" by consumers that helped them reach their current peak. That's what auto shows are for.
The 2015 auto show season moves to the U.S. this week with the Los Angeles International Auto Show getting under way with a press preview on Tuesday. Like January's North American auto show in Detroit, it's staged by local associations of auto dealers, but its biggest influence will be as a platform to showcase brands' production models, concept vehicles and feature, which will be closely watched far beyond LA.
Based on sneak peeks and previews, the Los Angeles event will bring car buffs luxury sedans, "super sports cars and SUVs," as brands look to wow consumers—and get them to open their wallets.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 30, 2014 09:12 AM
Apple CEO Tim Cook says he's "proud to be gay" in Bloomberg Businessweek public coming out essay following LGBT rights speech (above) as his company looks to sell iPhone in Iran while CurrentC, rival mobile-payment system to Apple Pay, is hacked.
Microsoft unveils Microsoft Band fitness wearable as it finishes round of previously announced layoffs.
Burger King clears antitrust hurdle with Tim Hortons deal.
Kohl's launches badly needed makeover and details Thanksgiving opening plan.
SodaStream shifts toward carbonated water and plans to close controversial West Bank factory.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2014 06:03 PM
Problems with faulty airbags made by major supplier Takata have largely been overshadowed by the continuing flow of recalls this year from General Motors, Toyota and other automakers. But now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the seriousness of the safety flaws in these ubiquitous airbags is being underscored in important new ways: U.S. Federal prosecutors have begun an official investigation into the Japan-based supplier and its dangerously defective products.
For owners of up to 7.8 million Toyota, Honda Mazda, BMW, Nissan, GM, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Ford vehicles—essentially, the entire roster of brands in the American market—the NHTSA has issued a warning that they should "act immediately" to fix Takata's defective airbags, the New York Times reports.
Toyota is trying to take this directive one better by asking its Lexus dealers to disable Takata airbags in the models in question if they can't be replaced. And Bloomberg notes that GM plans to warn owners of 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks who are in warm-weather areas not to allow front-seat passengers until the defective air bags are replaced. "We are treating this urgently," GM Spokesman Alan Adler said. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2014 09:14 AM
Lexus launches a virtual experience app.
Johnson & Johnson plans to begin testing Ebola vaccine in January, with 250K doses ready by May.
Yahoo's Marissa Mayer fires back at critics as company makes more money from search but still needs clearer strategy.
Microsoft officially lays Nokia name to rest and embraces Lumia for Windows phones.
Target unifies holiday strategy including free online shipping and promotes Taylor Swift's new album (below) as Walmart CMO also talks up holiday plans. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2014 09:43 AM
BBC unveils all-star version of God Only Knows, 17 years after iconic Perfect Day promo.
Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy announces he's stepping down.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he's "done" in 2018.
NFL owners meet to discuss domestic violence handling. (More here.)
Whirlpool launches "Every day, care" tagline and campaign.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2014 05:09 PM
Mazda is working on its brand cachet both on the road and off the road—in fact, about as far off-road as you can get, considering that the Mazda brain trust is considering designing its own chairs and apparel.
Aspirationally borrowing a page from Porsche, which has its own non-automotive Design Group, Mazda global design boss Ikuo Maeda would like to launch a Mazda Design line, starting with an artsy new metal and leather chair, Automotive News report3e. Styling and hawking clothes, furniture, household goods and other gadgets could help elevate this very mainstream car brand into something more value-added, Maeda figures.
Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai supports his notion, Maeda told the publication. For now, the only public evidence of Maeda's dream is a single chair designed by his studio, called the Kodo Chair, which Mazda exhibited at last year's Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan's global furniture fair. The sleek and slinky chair (above) was based on the cars' curvy design language and evoked a form-fitting cockpit.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2014 09:27 AM
Apple sees acolytes start lining up for iPhone 6 as Samsung reveals its latest futuristic devices.
Home Depot tries to reassure customers about possible data breach.
Lego becomes world's largest toy maker on The Lego Movie success.
Lincoln launches promised ad campaign starring Matthew McConaughey.
Neiman Marcus plans to open first NYC store.
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About.com brings a fresh twist to native advertising.
Amazon launches streaming box in UK next month.
Baidu launches its own version of Google Glass (which Luxottica head disses) along with computer "brain" and indoor-mapping challenge to Alibaba.
Ben & Jerry's sponsors 9/21 global People's Climate March with 350.org.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 19, 2014 02:52 PM
In many ways the National Football League brand has become a 365-day-a-year enterprise. But there's still nothing for football fans like the traditional kickoff of the actual NFL season, which begins September 4 when the Green Bay Packers visit the Seattle Seahawks.
That means the NFL itself, and the increasing number of other brands that depend on its success, are about as keyed up right now as the kicking team getting ready to rush down the field to defend their first kickoff.
Arguably no brand has more at stake this NFL season than CBS, which paid the league handsomely to add a package of games under Thursday Night Football to complement the network's Sunday programming. CBS will begin on September 11 airing a package of eight games that it hopes to turn into a prime-time powerhouse much like ABC did with Monday Night Football decades ago. The league launched its Thursday-night broadcasts a few years ago by airing them only on the NFL Network.Continue reading...