Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2013 05:42 PM
In one corner is Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, newly named CEO of the Year by MarketWatch and Business Person of the Year by Fortune, hailed on six continents and four planets as a brilliant inventor, a far-sighted scientist, a visionary business leader, and even an environmental savior.
In the other corner is David Strickland, public servant, head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). And in the space of a few days, Strickland has taken on Musk on not just one, but two, serious counts. Because he's got the clout of the federal government behind him, Strickland has a fighting chance.
Their latest confrontation is coming because NHTSA is warning automakers this week against claiming their vehicles have received ratings higher than the federally authorized five stars in their crash ratings in agency tests, saying that such a boast is "misleading the public."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 6, 2013 12:39 PM
Has Chrysler gone too far in refusing to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeeps that federal safety regulators say are unsafe and may have contributed to dozens of fatalities in fiery rear-end collisions?
The consensus of outsiders is: Yes, Chrysler is taking too big a risk of its hard-won success and reputation in drawing this particular line in the sand.
"It's the most moronic decision this year," Todd Turner, head of auto consultancy Car Concepts, told MarketingDaily. "Why would they start a fight that is only going to damage their reputation and further draw attention to the issue?" Paul Eisenstein, a veteran journalistic follower of the industry, opined on Autoblog that "sometimes you can't win for losing and even if Chrysler is right, there is a serious chance that it may nonetheless lose the battle in the public eye, especially if it is seen as putting profits before safety."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2012 01:08 PM
Toyota may be on the rise again in the U.S. market, but it still can't get the floor-pedal thing right.
The automaker has just been ordered to pay a record fine of $17.35 million for failing to report a safety defect to the U.S. government in a timely manner, the U.S. Department of Transportation said. The fine is a record civil penalty for a single violation and the maximum that the federal government can assess.
And the thing is, the fine relates to the same troubled region of its automobiles — the intersection between floor mats and floor pedals — that was behind Toyota's catastrophic unintended-acceleration problems in 2010 and the company's payment of nearly $50 million in total fines for reporting violations on sticking gas pedals and some other matters.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2012 02:48 PM
Recall all that pre-launch marketing that Ford so carefullly laid for the 2013 Escape? The branded entertainment experiment that was the Escape Routes prime-time TV series on NBC; the Spanish-language TV commercial during the NBA Finals featuring the Miami Heat; and, in its latest promotional stunt, measuring the model's interior in ping-pong balls (56,778, in case you were wondering).
Well, Ford may need all of the interest and goodwill generated by those marketing gambits, and a lot more, to get past the fact that the automaker just announced the second recall in as many weeks for the crucial new version of its venerable SUV. It also raises the issue that when it comes to brand recalls, customers do recall recalls, as Toyota found out the hard way.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2011 04:59 PM
"Fire" and "automobile" are two things that consumers don't want to hear in the same sentence, much less see on the same page. But Chevrolet, Nissan and other automotive brands still have a way to go to make an air-tight case that problems with fires don't accompany the use of their vehicles or, more broadly, EV-automotive technology.
The federal government has announced that it will do more testing of the lithium-ion battery systems in the Volt after a recent fire at a government testing center in which a Volt battery system, damaged in a crash test, caught fire. And last week, Duke Energy asked its North Carolina customers who own electric-car charging stations to stop using the products after a fire last month at a house that had a station. The utility didn't necessarily implicate the charging station in the blaze, but it is the focus of the investigation. And in any event, it's going to make future electric-car considerers just a tad more cautious.
Everyone involved is quick to say that there's no reason to believe electric cars are more dangerous than conventional gasoline vehicles. But it's understandable that the government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would want to make absolutely sure EVs don't involve higher risks of fire, especially given the huge push that the Obama administration has been making to get Americans to buy the vehicles.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 8, 2011 04:30 PM
Maybe now, finally, Toyota can get back to brand-building.
The relief must have been palpable at the company’s American headquarters in southern California after today’s news that the U.S government found electronics didn’t play a role in any of Toyota’s safety-related problems of last year.
The joint announcement from NASA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) means that Toyota was right in saying that its engineering flaws were restricted to mechanical failures that it already diagnosed — and driver error.
It also means that Toyota’s word could be trusted that it had gotten to the bottom of the problems, that electronics and software didn’t play a role, and that it was making sure they couldn’t happen again. It also means it can get back to business.Continue reading...
Posted by Sara Zucker on February 18, 2010 07:48 AM
Burger King raises the cost of its double cheeseburger from $1 to $1.19. [WSJ]
New Klondike commercials channel 'The 40 Year Old Virgin.' [BrandFreak]
Burger King will now sell Seattle's Best coffee in its restaurants. [Daily Finance]
Chevy hopes consumers feel connected with its new family-oriented ads. [Brandweek]
Microsoft adds Facebook and Myspace sites to its Outlook program. [AP]
The Federal Trade Commission puts its foot down on unemployment scams. [LA Times]Continue reading...