Best Global Green Brands 2014

auto motive

Chrysler Earns Big, Delays New Products and Keeps Its Super Bowl Ad for Sunday

Posted by Dale Buss on January 30, 2013 12:50 PM


Above, Chrysler's well-received 2011 Super Bowl ad, "Imported From Detroit," featuring Eminem.

Chrysler's  earnings report today made it apparent that its sales and financial recovery remains well on track, though there are new snags in its product plans due to fiat's drag on the combined company.

Chrysler posted prelimary net income of $1.7 billion for 2012, up nearly tenfold from the year-earlier $183 million and exceeding the guidance that it issued previously. The gains came largely on the strength of an 18 percent gain in worldwide vehicle sales, most of it realized in a U.S. market that has re-embraced Chrysler brands and products. Chrysler U.S. sales have increased by more than 50 percent since 2010, and its U.S. market share climbed two percentage points, to 11.4 percent, last year. 

"While we are pleased to have achieved strong financial results in 2012, the enterprise we are crafting is not complete," CEO Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday in a release.Continue reading...

digital moves

Dodge Dart Lowers Barrier to Entry for Millennials With Online Registry

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...

auto motive

Fiat Readies U.S. Return of Alfa Romeo Brand

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...

brand news

In the News: Cadillac, Hostess Brands, HP and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2013 08:59 AM

In the News

Cadillac sees its ATS named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show, while Ram celebrates naming of 1500 as truck/utility vehicle of the year.

Hostess strikes a deal to sell Wonder Bread and other brands plus production facilities to Flower Foods.

HP CEO Meg Whitman receives $15.4 million.

American Express travel cuts point to end of an era.

Apple cuts orders for iPhone parts.

Billabong receives another takeover bid. 

Deutsche Bank reportedly considers 20-percent bonus cuts in Europe.

GM's Chevrolet division relaunches Corvette brand.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Fiat is Paying US Volkswagen Owners to Switch Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on December 11, 2012 01:24 PM

Fiat faces more and more problems in the struggling European car market, so it's got to make more progress than company executives initially had hoped in the U.S. market — and faster than they'd planned.

So Fiat is turning up the voltage. In tandem with other Chrysler-owned brands, it is offering what it calls Conquest Bonus Cash as an incentive to U.S. buyers who own Volkswagens to switch. They'll give $1,000, through January 2, to any VW owner who buys one of their cars except for a handful of excepted models.

This isn't a usual tactic — the last time Chrysler did it was 2010, targeting Toyota. "We believe the Dodge Dart, for example, would appeal to current Volkswagen owners," Ralph Kisiel, a Chrysler spokesman, told brandchannel. Customers don't even have to give up their VW to qualify.Continue reading...

brand accolades

Chrysler Caps 2012 With Ad Age, Adweek Nods

Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2012 03:23 PM

Chrysler can celebrate its comeback from the dead in just three years in large part due to the contributions of two executives. Let's call them Mr. Outside, Olivier Francois, and Mr. Inside, Klaus Busse.

Francois is the Chrysler CMO whose inspired vision and creative command conjured up the "Imported From Detroit" campaign that caught fire at the 2011 Super Bowl and other magic that just got Chrysler Group named Ad Age Marketer of the Year for 2012, and Francois named a 2012 Brand Genius by Adweek.Continue reading...

ad watch

Ad Watch: 2013 Dodge Dart vs. Giant Lizard With Frickin' Laser Beams

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 7, 2012 12:22 PM

Forget taking on the Buick Verano or the Chrysler 200. The latest U.S. commercial for the 2013 Dodge Dart TV ("How to make a car safe for an unsafe world," below) puts the model to the test in the event of a giant lizard attack. Now we're talking! Other commercials in the campaign include a kick-off spot with Red Bull Racing driver Travis Pastrana, and another new spot titled, "How to make a great car interior."Continue reading...

auto motive

US Pickup Truck Sales Picking Up as Housing Construction Picks Up

Posted by Dale Buss on November 1, 2012 04:01 PM

Fall is usually a good time to sell and buy a pickup truck, and this season is no exception: Today, Ford announced an 8-percent increase in October sales of its F-Series pickup trucks over a year ago; Chevrolet Silverado, up 6 percent; GMC Sierra, up 9 percent; Chrysler's Dodge Ram, up 17 percent; and Toyota Tundra and Tacoma, each up at least 20 percent.

The sales numbers for those truck brands and for the segment as a whole were better than for each nameplate's parent brand overall. So pickups have assumed an important position in driving the overall continuation of the U.S. auto-industry recovery. October auto sales increased by about 7 to 8 percent over October 2011 sales to notch the best October in five years.

But another factor was at work besides seasonality and a still-strengthening industry: The American housing industry seems to have entered a recovery phase, and there's no vehicle segment that benefits more from such a phenomenon than pick-up truck sales, as construction contractors and others begin to express more demand. And as Tim Allen says in the latest Chevy Silverado commercial, at top, "You build a reputation by not breaking down."Continue reading...

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