Posted by Abe Sauer on December 6, 2013 12:38 PM
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: The Year of the Horse commemorative products... Bitcoin vs. China... Ford brings Mustang to China... L'Oreal gets Fan Bingbing... Carrefour grows... Volvo up... Suzuki gets "Authentic"... Toyota signals an end of Japan automaker woes... Qoros sells "made in China"... Arnie sees the sights... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 07:02 PM
The machinery may be creaky and the model basically a rehash, but two and a half years after Sweden produced what could have been its last Saab automobile, the brand rolled a new sedan off its assembly lines in Trollhattan, Sweden, today.
Newly owned by Chinese company National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which bought Saab out of bankruptcy last year, the venerable automotive brand presented its new Aero 9-3 sedan as the first in a series of new cars it will produce, according to the Associated Press.
"It's very similar" to the old 9-3 sedan that Saab stopped making in April 2011, Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for the Hong Kong-based new owners, according to the BBC. "We acquired the assets in August last year. Our focus has been to get the co-operation up and running with 400 suppliers and ensure the facilities were working."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 06:49 PM
The Muscles from Brussels has gotten plenty a movie workout with his martial-arts legerdemain. But seldom has Jean-Claude Van Damme had so many people see one of his physical feats of flexibility and strength so quickly as in the new ad for Volvo Truck's steering technology. At least 27 million people and rising have seen Volvo's new online-only ad in less than a week.
In the spot, Van Damme straddles the space between two Volvo trucks moving side by side and backward only by resting his feet on a side mirror of each truck. The stunt is meant to demonstrate the equilibrium and precision and reliability of the brand's new dynamic-steering system, as Van Damme "stands," all spread out, for what seems like interminable seconds in the video.
Yes, Van Damme ultimately was secured from a grisly accident by thin safety wires that aren't visible in the video. Van Damme’s feet aren’t lashed to the mirrors, video director Andreas Nilsson told the Wall Street Journal, "but we had him rigged so that if he would fall off he wouldn’t die obviously. We didn’t want to be responsible for killing the Muscles from Brussels.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 09:14 AM
GM could see exit of CEO Dan Akerson next year, Reuters says.
Crocs considers ways to go private.
Snapchat becomes one of most sought-after tech businesses after reportedly turning down $3 billion buyout from Facebook.
AT&T creates mystery of locked, used iPhones.
Alitalia prepares restructuring aimed at getting more resources out of Air France.
American Airlines and US Airways set up major-airport route grab with their merger as deal cruises through courts.
Ateliers Pleyel stops piano production in France.
Baidu faces suits over video piracy.
Boeing sees unionists reject new labor deal for 777X production.
Burberry is weighed down by beauty business.
Cisco tells of big revenue dropoff in emerging markets.
Cracker Barrel shareholders reject activist's third bid to be on board.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 8, 2013 09:18 AM
FDA bans artery-clogging trans fats.
Adobe sees accounts compromised in big security breach.
Mattel gives Barbie doll a proportional makeover for China market.
Boeing warns it could build 777X jet outside of Washington State.
CBS admits errors in 60 Minutes report on Benghazi.
Fiat offers car-sharing service in hard-hit Milan.
Groupon is pinched by Gmail change and posts wider loss.
Jaguar Land Rover boosts profit for parent Tata Motors.
Kohl's adds emotional brand spots to holiday mix.
Marriott International buys African hotel chain.
McDonald’s sales growth remains sluggish.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 7, 2013 01:51 PM
Volvo is still getting its act together three years after its acquisition from Ford by China's Geely Motors. But when it does, the Swedish brand contends, it'll become a major industry force once again—and it'll do so based on its performance in the United States and China despite its European heritage.
Under new CEO Hakan Samuelsson, a career-long trucking executive, Volvo plans to boost global volume from a projected 450,000 units a year to around 800,000 before 2020, according to an Automotive News account of the chief's recent meeting with journalists. That will include boosting US sales to beyond 100,000 a year within the next few years; Volvo's US peak was 139,000 sales in 2004.
Through October, Volvo sales in America dropped 7 percent in an overall market that has risen 8 percent, the publication noted. That happened despite a new, integrated US marketing campaign launched earlier this year which differentiates Volvo aficionados from buyers of other luxury and near-luxury brands.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 7, 2013 08:20 AM
Twitter prices IPO at $26 for today's launch.
Abercrombie & Fitch will increase styles, sizing to improve sales.
Nestle sells Jenny Craig.
Amazon offers olive branch to independent bookstores.
Bitcoin hits all-time high.
Facebook debuts new like and share buttons.
Fiat says Italy car market shows no signs of recovery.
Rob Ford, Toronto mayor, admits to using crack cocaine—while wearing an NFL neck tie.
GM expands online Shop-Click-Drive program nationwide.
Google is ordered to remove sex images by French court.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2013 05:02 PM
Ford hasn't made enough progress in solving the operational frustrations that come with its MyFord Touch system, according to Consumer Reports' new, closely watched vehicle-reliability ratings. The Ford Motor Company manufactures five of the ten "least reliable cars" on Consumer Reports' latest New Car Auto Reliability survey. The problem, increasingly, looks like a morass that could tarnish the Ford and Lincoln brands.
Rivals GMC, Audi and Volvo, in comparison, seem to have figured out how to please American buyers and leapt significantly in the just-released survey by the influential consumer watchdog. Each of those marques captured three of the top-10 spots in the just-released survey—with Volvo jumping 13 places to seventh among all brands selling in the US, GMC leaping three places to finish ninth and as the top-rated domestic brand, and Audi climbing four places to finish fourth overall as the top European manufacturer in the survey. What's more, every model from each of those brands scored better than average.
Japanese brands—Lexus, Toyota and Acura—captured the top three spots in the survey, which was conducted by CR's National Research Center and, based on subscribers' experiences with 1.1 million vehicles, is believed to be the largest of its kind. However, the Toyota Camry, the bestselling car in America, is no longer #1. As Consumer Reports commented, "The Japanese dominance in car reliability is showing cracks."Continue reading...