Best Global Green Brands 2014

car talk

Consumer Reports Creates More Turmoil in Auto Hierarchy, But Lexus is Still Tops

Posted by Dale Buss on February 25, 2014 04:02 PM

Consumer Reports' closely watched rankings of auto brands and top vehicles are out for 2014. And while Japanese brands remain on top, the annual evaluations once again are providing an illustration of major automakers increasingly clustering together in how their vehicles are regarded by consumers.

Japanese automakers captured 7 of the top 10 ranked brands overall for reliability and road-test performance in the tests conducted by the magazine. And the top-ranked Detroit brands, Buick and GMC, could do no better than tie to rank 12th.

Yet in the magazine's separate list of Top Picks in each vehicle segment, Japanese brands took only five of the top 18 spots, the fewest in the 18-year history of the publication's picks. Japanese brands had taken more than 70 percent of those spots since 1997.Continue reading...

car talk

Cadillac's New Campaign for ELR is an Ode to American Innovation

Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2014 10:12 AM

Cadillac's aggressively American "Poolside" commercial being shown during the Sochi Olympics already was essentially in the can when Uwe Ellinghaus took over as the brand's CMO a few months ago, so his practical influence on the controversial tone of the ad was limited.

But there was one big decision he could still make to affect the commercial that stars Neal McDonough as an American who's proud of his American work ethic, American-style material success, and American car that demonstrates why Americans have it all over lazy Europeans—and European luxury car brands.

Ellinghaus told brandchannel it was he who decided to have the ad tout the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid rather than another model he didn't identify. The timing of the sales launch of the car would coincide perfectly with the brand's Sochi sponsorship and the debut of the commercial, he concluded.

And besides, what better chance to get traction for his repositioning of the Cadillac brand than to underscore its most technologically advanced and adventurous product to date?Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: McDonald's, Target, Dannon and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 22, 2014 09:08 AM

In the News

McDonald's launches Olympics social campaign.

Target drops health coverage for part-timers.

Dannon's Super Bowl ad will be a Full House reunion. 

Amazon denies it's considering online pay-TV service.

Apple gets court backing ahead of Samsung showdown.

Cadillac remains challenged by dealer inventories.

Candy Crush app owner seeks to trademark "candy."

Christie's says sales hit auction industry record of more than $7 billion.

Clorox advises against bleach facials.

Denny's wins with weirdness in social media game.

Dots retailer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Dove commissions short film on selfies.Continue reading...

auto motive

Lower, Longer, Leaner: Cadillac Drops Wreath to Reveal New Crest at NAIAS

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 15, 2014 12:35 PM

After 14 years, Cadillac is changing its look. The iconic GM luxury brand announced this week that it is replacing its wreathed logo with a "lower and wider" crest, following the design influences seen on other major carmakers like Chrysler and Bentley.

The new emblem was first shown back in August on the Elmiraj concept car, but was officially unveiled this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where executives said it would adorn all Cadillac models beginning the middle of this year.

"This new crest matches the lower, longer, leaner mantra of our current car designs," Andrew Smith, Cadillac's executive design director, said in a press release. The crest is based on the coat of arms for the family of Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the founder of Detroit.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: HP, China Mobile, Cadillac and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 15, 2014 09:21 AM

In the News

HP sets to announce two large smartphones today.

China Mobile receives 1.2 million iPhone pre-orders.

Cadillac updates its crest. 

Axe strikes a more earnest tone in advertising.

Bud Light challenges football fans with digital gaming ad and prepares new tag line for A-B InBev's reduced Super Bowl effort.

Charter woos Time Warner Cable shareholders.

Coca-Cola releases interactive mini-bottles to honor World Cup.

Daimler wins as US Supreme Court throws out Argentine human-rights suit.

Dunkin' Donuts focuses on expansion and one-to-one marketing.

Facebook CEO calls Snapchat a "super interesting privacy phenomenon," and it makes inroads in Russia.

Fiat will give first batch of new Alfa Romeos to top-selling US dealers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Google, Nike, Cadillac and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2014 09:19 AM

In the News

Google buys Nest Labs for $3.2 billion to enter smart-home derby.

Nike plans to open Jordan brand stores. 

Cadillac says new ATS Coupe will be first vehicle to wear updated crest.

AstraZeneca forecasts quicker return to growth.

Black & Decker refreshes its image. 

Michael Bloomberg returns to his company.

DirecTV attacks Weather Channel fees.

Facebook expands conversations group and acquires link-sharing service Branch. 

Fiat begins to rethink brand architecture.

Fox opts out of TV's traditional pilot season.

GE Capital gets into loyalty-program business.Continue reading...

car talk

Detroit Welcomes Flush Industry, Great New Cars—But Not Chinese Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2014 02:49 PM

Detroit is gearing up for its most extravagant and optimistic auto exhibition in seven years, and there will be no shortage of things for the industry to tout as the North American International Auto Show opens with a press preview on Monday and Tuesday for thousands of car journalists, bloggers, photographers, videographers and other qualified enthusiasts from around the world.

There are sure to be some show-stopping individual vehicles, for sure. The North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year will be identified on Monday morning, for example, with the new Mazda3, new Cadillac CTS and new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray contending as finalists in one category and the Acura MDX, new Jeep Cherokee SUVs and Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck competing as finalists in the other.

Otherwise, the most-ogled pieces of sheetmetal are likely to include five that USA Today already identified as ones "to watch" at NAIAS.Continue reading...

auto motive

Ford Grasps for Infotainment Edge by Expanding Sync, Adding Veteran Exec

Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2014 06:41 PM

Amid the flurry of infotainment announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Ford is trying to maintain a lead in an area where it blazed trails by expanding and enhancing its Sync telematics platform and swiping a veteran executive with experience in General Motors' OnStar operation to help out.

Ford announced that it will expand availability of its Sync AppLink to 3.4 million more vehicles later this year with a free upgrade that enables current Ford owners to access and control smartphone apps via voice command.

The company ran into problems with consumers over the last couple of years as subsequent generations of Sync became more complicated to operate and owners pushed back via third-party ratings such as Consumer Reports. But Ford has worked hard to overcome those difficulties, and its latest moves with Sync represent an attempt to re-assert itself in the pole position of a telematics revolution that is vastly reconfiguring the very notion of a car and which is drawing in not only automakers but also a wide range of tech companies in what Ford futurist Sheryl Connelly has called a "quiet riot of innovation."Continue reading...

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