auto motive

Marchionne Begins Last Lap at Fiat Chrysler with NYSE Listing

Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2014 07:28 PM

Monday should be a red letter day for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and CEO Sergio Marchionne, because the company will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker FCA—a milestone in the resurrection of Chrysler and survival of Fiat that seemed unlikely five years ago, when Fiat and the US government bailed out the American automaking icon. It'll have its tax home in London and headquarters in Amsterdam with the US operations still domiciled in Michigan.

And it will be a big day when Marchionne joins Fiat Chairman John Elkann, a member of the founding family, to mark the stock's debut. But no doubt the peripatetic Marchionne also will be thinking about the rest of his to do list for the automaker before he reaches his self-proclaimed retirement age in 2018. It's a long and ambitious agenda that only begins with gaining more access to capital, which the NYSE listing will do, and could end with yet another merger that might make Fiat Chrysler part of one of the world's largest automakers.

"The industry needs it," Marchionne recently told Bloomberg about such a mega-merger. He once predicted only a half-dozen automakers globally would survive, ultimately. Right now, Fiat Chrysler is No. 7. "This is still a very fragmented industry for the level of capital you have to invest."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, American Express, General Mills and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 1, 2014 09:28 AM

TOP STORIES

Amazon and Disney are back at peace.

American Express continues Everyday Moments campaign with Tina Fey (above).

Boeing must replace some pilot displays over worries about Wi-Fi interference.

General Mills announces more salaried job cuts as its CMO retires.

Microsoft promotes Windows 10 a game-changer.

News Corp. buys Move Inc.

MORE BRAND NEWS

American Apparel may let founder Dov Charney stay in some capacity.

Apple Pay anticipation signals new era at cash register.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Auto Motivator: 5 Questions with Chrysler Group CMO Olivier François

Posted by Dale Buss on September 22, 2014 05:32 PM

Since Fiat Chrysler outlined its ambitious growth plans for most of its brands at a meeting in May with investors and journalists, and of course even before that, Fiat Chrysler Group CMO Olivier François has been strategizing about the implications for marketing of Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram in the United States and abroad.

Among the tall orders he faces are CEO Sergio Marchionne's stretch goal of more than doubling sales of the Chrysler brand by 2018, compared with its 350,000 sales a year ago. More easily achievable goals might be success for the ongoing conversion of Jeep into a global brand; ensuring the continued rise of Ram, which was cleaved from Dodge a few years ago; and sharpening Dodge as a performance brand, rolling it back from its broader positioning of yore.

More challenging could be making Fiat a truly household name in North America. And then there's the automaker's goal to make a triumphant return for Alfa Romeo in US marketplace as a highly regarded luxury-performance brand, decades after it exited quietly.

For François, the overall objective is to help pivot from a marketing-led company, which Chrysler was as it recovered from the 2009 bailout by Fiat and the US government, to a product-led company on the strength of a vibrant string of launches of overhauled and new vehicles which the company is rolling out now.

It's the difference between featuring Eminem in a Super Bowl commercial three years ago to help revive the Chrysler brand with only a warmed-over 200 model to show off, and today, when Chrysler has an all-new, extremely worthy 200 mid-sized sedan to brag about, so it can tailor its messaging around the technology, styling, performance and comfort bona fides of the car and how well it is built.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: PepsiCo, Yelp, Target and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2014 09:32 AM

TOP STORIES

As another NFL player is suspended following domestic violence arrest, Nike and the Minnesota Vikings reverse course and suspend Adrian Peterson. Other sponsors monitor the situation as PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi signals her support for embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, while Radisson's move to drop Vikings sponsorship turned out to be a smart move. Meanwhile, female fans grow wary of league and CBS CEO Moonves hails football on TV.

Toshiba cuts 900 jobs in PC restructuring while Warner Bros. is expected to cut up to 1,000 jobs.

Target selects brand partners for "made to matter" sustainable push with Walmart.

Yelp and TinyCo settle FTC lawsuit for improperly collecting data on kids.

Scotland goes to the polls in historic vote on independence while Scotch whisky-makers fret, among other nervous industries.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Alibaba sets to price shares amid investor frenzy over looming IPO.

Amazon expands Kindle lineup and boosts price of basic e-reader.

Apple reportedly plans to reveal two new iPads (despite i-fatigue) and new Mac OS, amidst increasing focus on security.

Audi claims first California self-driving permit.Continue reading...

auto motive

As Alfa Romeo Comes Ashore, Fiat Chrysler Success May Be Just Beginning

Posted by Dale Buss on September 2, 2014 03:49 PM

Chrysler keeps outselling expectations in the US market, is preparing to bring luxury marque Alfa Romeo back to America, and is getting its financial house in order. It's a good time to be globetrotting Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

He'll have to keep globetrotting too. Next month the new company is planning to officially launch by incorporating in the Netherlands, being headquartered in London and having its main stock listing in New York.

Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler's cash cow will be headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich.—Chrysler. Just five years after Fiat took the carcass of Chrysler from the US government and revived it, Marchionne and his lieutenants, their employees and dealers continue to enjoy a winning streak represented by 52 straight months of rising sales. Chrysler and other automakers report their August sales tomorrow.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Google, Sprint, Ugg Australia and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 19, 2014 09:32 AM

TOP STORIES

Google moves to target kids under 13 and builds its own content and services.

Saab owner seeks partner to secure brand's future.

Samsung buys US air-conditioner company Quietside in smart-home push.

Sprint dives into wireless-industry price war, as it promised, and rolls out new B2B brand, as owner SoftBank girds for US cellphone market.

Ugg launches first global brand campaign.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Aereo faces broadcaster opposition to a cable license.

Aeropostale names new CEO and promises narrower loss.

American Apparel narrows losses but troubles remain.

AstraZeneca says US clears it in heart-drug probe.

BlackBerry prepares for device-less future with formation of new business unit. 

Burger King gets pecked by tweets for Chicken Fries.

CBS goes big in promos for Thursday Night Football.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Google and Barnes & Noble, Chrysler, Budweiser and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2014 09:28 AM

TOP STORIES

Google rewards encrypted sites in search as it joins forces with Barnes & Noble to take on Amazon same-day delivery, now expanding to six more cities. Amazon, meanwhile, found to play favorites with brands in new L2 omnichannel retail report.

Bank of America nears $16 billion to $17 billion settlement with US Justice Department on pre-crash mortgage misconduct.

Deutsche Telekom rejects Iliad bid in the wake of failed Sprint/T-Mobile deal. 

Budweiser hypes Bud Light Party Town content campaign with Whatever, USA news reports with The Onion.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne takes shot at robust supplier profitability as company taps comedians for Dodge Dart campaign.Continue reading...

auto motive

In Ford, Ram Quarrel Over Towing Capacity, Size—and Price—Matters

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2014 11:13 AM

Rivals are getting testier in the most profitable segment of the US auto industry as recent sales increases level off and new technology threatens to upset the old order. So they’re arguing over size—and size matters when it comes to pickup trucks.

Ford and Ram are in the midst of a quarrel over whose really big pickup, the Ram 3500 or the Ford F-450, can claim “best-in-class” towing for its segment. Ford claims the F-450 4x4 Crew Cab can haul 31,200 pounds, about 1,200 pounds more than Ram claims for its behemoth. But they disagree about whether this is an apples-to-apples comparison because the Ford F-450 may be in a larger class than its competitors.

GM and Toyota are sitting out this tiff, but they’ve also promoted towing capacity—Toyota most notably a couple of years ago by having a heavy-duty Tundra pickup tow the US Space Shuttle Endeavor down a highway in California. GM, on the other hand, has it's own issues: the brand's most popular pickups—the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra—are also the most recalled vehicles this year.Continue reading...

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