Posted by Dale Buss on May 16, 2013 02:48 PM
Fiat is reportedly considering shifting its global headquarters to the Detroit area. That would be a huge material and attitudinal boost for the region in the wake of a new report about the City of Detroit's finances that is even bleaker than before.
When Chrysler was acquired by Mercedes-Benz 15 years ago, effectively moving the headquarters of one of the old American Big Three to Germany, it was yet another body blow to a troubled metro-Detroit area that had already been in decline for decades. When Fiat and the US taxpayer rescued Chrysler (under post-Mercedes owners) from bankruptcy in 2009, at least there was hope of keeping the company, even though its new parent was Italian.
Now, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has signaled strong consideration for moving the worldwide center of the entire Fiat-Chrysler enterprise to Michigan, perhaps to help fill out Chrysler's relatively new headquarters complex in Auburn Hills, Mich., in north-suburban Detroit. Bloomberg reported that Marchionne is evaluating a switch from Turin, Italy, where Fiat was founded in 1899.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 30, 2013 10:20 AM
Chrysler knows a thing or two about how to coax an emotional response out of American consumers. Exhibit No. 1: The now-iconic "Born of Fire" TV ad during the Super Bowl game some 25 months ago, starring Eminem and the Chrysler 200. It and the "Imported From Detroit" campaign it introduced nearly singlehandedly rescued the Chrysler brand from the scrap heap.
Now, Chrysler is angling for would-be Exhibit No. 2: The evocative "Farmer" ad that it ran on behalf of Ram trucks during the Super Bowl in February. There's already evidence of a medium-term impact from the ad and the attention that was paid to it in the game's aftermath: Through April 1, sales of Ram pickups were up 15 percent year-over-year in the US, to 77,594 units. And that included a 26 percent gain in March over 2012 and a 3 percent increase in February over a year ago.
April sales figures will be released on Wednesday.
Olivier Francois, Chrysler's CMO, insisted that the spot and follow-up actions by Chrysler to mark what it calls "the year of the farmer" are persuading Ford, GM, Toyota and Nissan customers to consider Ram trucks too. "I receive letters every day from loyal customers of the competition thanking us for doing that spot and saying that they are considering the Ram," Francois told Automotive News.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2013 02:17 PM
All the new sheet metal on display during the press-preview days at the Geneva Auto Show hasn't been able to outshine one big dull, sobering reality: The European auto market is still declining, and it won't recover anytime soon.
International auto shows typically are places where the excitement and optimism generated by all of the fresh concept cars and close-to-production models provide a can-do spirit and the sense of possilibity that dispel any gloom from the world outside the exhibit hall.
But not in Geneva; not this year. One car executive after another not only allowed as how the European auto-market recession would continue for awhile, but they said the current market has been getting worse.
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2013 05:42 PM
Chrysler's Super Bowl ad for its Dodge Ram truck, which features a lengthy paen to farmers by the late radio commentator Paul Harvey over gripping photos of their lives, has been received warmly across the twitterverse.
You may have seen something quite like it on the web long before Sunday, however.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2013 03:09 PM
Dodge Dart got beaten up a bit at the Detroit Auto Show, and partially by the company's own boss. Outspoken Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the launch of the important nameplate hasn't "gone as well as I wanted" and acknowledged that sales of the car have been hurt so far by engine and transmission combinations that have left many buyers feeling the car is underpowered.
But with a U.S. new-car market that prizes fuel economy in a package with decent amenities, Dart is still a new enough phenomenon that it's got a chance to compete better in a category crowded with worthy competitors including Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.
And here's a first step: Dodge has introduced "new rules" for buying a car with an innovative online Dodge Dart gift registry. The promotion combines crowdsourcing and pizzazz with millennial appeal, and aimed to be a game-changer for a car that sold only 25,000 units in its first calendar year.
The registry allows consumers to configure and customize a Dodge Dart and set a goal for the amount of money they need to fund it. It then itemizes components of a car — everything from seats to the engine — allowing friends, family or anyone else to sponsor them.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2013 01:03 PM
In bringing Alfa Romeo back to the U.S. market this year, Fiat has three big goals for the move: broadening the car lineup of its joint stable with Chrysler Group; trying to re-establish an Alfa brand that long ago was tarnished in America; and boosting output at its home-market manufacturing operations in Italy.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters at the Detoit Auto Show that Fiat plans to introduce an Alfa Romeo 4C sports car to the U.S. market late this year. Marchionne said that the biggest remaining obstacle is to "make sure we hit the powertrains dead on." Still, he told the news service, "We are finalizing the car now, so it should be" in the U.S. this year.
From an American perspective, Alfa Romeo is one of the wild cards that got thrown into the deck when Fiat acquired the carcass of Chrysler from the U.S. government in 2009. It exited the U.S. market about two decades ago with a tattered quality reputation. Now, Marchionne has built the marque into one that would have a shot even in today's highly competitive U.S. market.Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 18, 2013 11:07 AM
If Sergio Marchionne weren’t the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, globetrotting across three continents on a regular basis and running companies based on two of them, the man probably would have to make up a similar job just to contain his prodigious energy.
This week, he and the increasingly worldwide automotive operation he runs have made news in North America, Europe and Asia. And the charismatic, peripatetic Italian car mogul has displayed some of the inner edges of his famously expansive personality as well.
In the biggest news, Marchionne signed a deal in Michigan with Guangzhou Automobile Group to build Jeeps in China as Fiat, Chrysler and their brands try to play catch-up in the world’s biggest automotive market. Guangzhou will build at least 100,000 Jeeps there beginning in 2014, and output could double at some point, Marchionne said this week. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 2, 2013 05:11 PM
Election historians may yet argue about the impact of Mitt Romney's that ran in Ohio in November in which he attacked government-rescued Chrysler for planning to "build Jeeps in China." But there's no arguing which direction the Jeep brand is headed these days: all over the world.
In fact, expanding Jeep's nameplates and manufacturing footprint around the globe has emerged as one of the primary brand missions of Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne as he tries to meld a wounded Fiat and a resurgent Chrysler into a single, durable survivor in a still-consolidating worldwide auto industry.
Some outsiders believe the strategy to elevate Jeep's status as a global brand makes sense. Since American-made Jeeps hepled liberate the world during World War II, the brand's succession of owners actually have done little to build upon a very positive initial reputation.Continue reading...