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...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 10:34 AM
Three heavyweights of American industrialism were among those who spoke at a Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference, and they had a lot to say about what they're doing to make their companies more sustainable.
GM CEO Dan Akerson, Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald, and General Mills CEO Kendall Powell each held forth at the sustainability-focused confab.
Akerson was the most newsworthy. He is genuinely fond of the Chevrolet Volt and will defend it against all comers, Akerson threw a potential trump card on the table against critics of GM's groundbreaking plug-in hybrid who believe it's way too expensive for whatever environmental benefits it yields, especially given all the federal-government subsidies it gets: The company plans a price cut of $7,000 to $10,000 on the "next generation" of the car and even plans for Volt "to be profitable," Akerson said.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 17, 2013 09:02 AM
Airbus sees orders fall as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is grounded in U.S., Japan, Europe and India.
GM woos Facebook to return to paid ads, remains cautious on 2013, defends Opel restructuring and eyes cheaper Chevy Volt.
Blockbuster faces U.K. closure after no buyers emerge.
American Airlines swings to profit and sees “good trajectory” for this year.
Apple rattles Wall Street with sharp stock-price drop.
AT&T looks to Europe for mergers.
Audi aims for 200,000 U.S. sales “sooner” rather than “later.”Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2013 12:20 PM
It's too early to determine whether the new Cadillac ELR truly will be a game-changer in the sluggish U.S. market for plug-in hybrids. But in unveiling the new vehicle to the world's automotive press at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, at least General Motors is bidding to change the dynamics of the segment in a significant way. Already, it's been deemed best production car of the show, as Cadillac proudly tweeted.
ELR isn't expected to go on sale until early 2014 ("winter" is what GM is promising) and at a price tag (before U.S.-government tax credits for a "green" car purchase) of more than $50,000. GM is relying on the same basic powertrain in Volt, a combination of powerful batteries that can take the car 25 or 30 miles on a charge and a small gasoline engine that takes over once the batteries are out of juice and provides an effective range for the vehicle of about 300 miles.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 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 05:11 PM
General Motors is out in full force at the LA Auto Show this week, where it's not only showcasing 2013 models, but the futuristic Volt Squad, described as "a new electric vehicle system to meet the challenge of a highway system now brimming with cutting edge technologies."
If the current love for its Chevrolet Volt brand persists, GM should be sitting pretty by the time these concept cars hit the highway. Chevy Volt may not have caught on with the American general public as initially hoped, but its manufacturer can take solace in one very important attribute of the Volt brand: The people who buy the car really love it and would make the same purchase again. Now if only there were a cutting edge technology to create more fierce brand loyalists.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...