Posted by Abe Sauer on April 6, 2012 11:44 AM
Kicking off this week's Brand Bites, model Bar Refaeli's new under.me lingerie line campaign channels an iconic cheeky tennis poster.
PETA take note: the Sierra Club's new "Coal Will Say Anything" campaign shows how it's done.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 4, 2012 03:03 PM
The Chrysler Group has posted another spectacular monthly sales result, with March sales up by 34 percent over a year earlier. Americans are buying Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles at a recent-record pace, and there appears to be no end in sight for the company's resurgence nearly three years after the U.S. government accepted its carcass and gave it to Fiat.
Yet there is one big cloud that remains for Chrysler amid all the silver linings: product quality. The company has made huge advances in spiffing up its vehicles as it has overhauled its product line over the last few years, especially in improving the materials and finish of amenities and components in its vehicle interiors. But there's much progress still to be made, which is why the company has invested $20 million over the last year to upgrade vehicle quality at the Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant where the new 2013 Dodge Dart soon will begin rolling off the line in volume.
"We are trying to drive a culture change," Jeff Betts, Chrysler's head of quality, told the Wall Street Journal. "Before we tried to downplay problems, because who wants them ending up in your lap. Now if you pont out a problem we shake your hand, say thank you and fix it."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 30, 2012 01:12 PM
It's finally the "second half" for Chrysler, and this weekend the automaker is rolling out a quartet of new TV ads that pick up where its "Halftime in America" commercial with Clint Eastwood (above) left off during February's Super Bowl. Don't expect anything like the punch delivered by Eastwood's craggy rallying cry or the alleged political innuendo in the spot that ran at halftime of the Big Game, urging Americans not to give up on themselves, their economy or their nation. And, of course — buy a Chrysler.
The new fleet of commercials is somber in tone, reflecting that of the original "Halftime in America" spot. They stick with the notion of making a comeback. And each shows a line at the end of the spot that repeats one of the themes uttered by Eastwood in the Super Bowl ad. But there are no overt references to Detroit as in Chrysler's celebrated advertising of the last year or so, just a few glimpses of a gray and gritty metropolis that might be Detroit. They offer "hope and encouragement," as Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois blogged about them.
Yet the new spots—watch them below—do shed some fresh light on Chrysler's strategy for each of its U.S. brands, depicting the stories of four individuals, each of whom relates to Ram, Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep in particular tell-tale ways. Below, meet Chrysler's post-Eastwood brand ambassadors: Tommy, Shaun, Steven, and Jenny.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2012 10:58 AM
Nissan was Datsun in the United States and other western markets before it was Nissan. And now Nissan is bringing back the Datsun brand for emerging markets such as India and Russia. But don't count on seeing Datsun anywhere else.
In the latest gambit by a global automaker to revive a "heritage" brand for purposes never imagined during the marque's first go-round, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn plans to revive the Datsun name to sell inexpensive cars tailored for fast-growing new markets beginning in 2014, according to Nikkei. Nissan plans to sell Daon vehicles priced around 50,000 yen ($6,200) first in India, Indonesia and Russia.
Dusting off Datsun, a move rumored for a while, would increase marques now in Nissan-Renault's portfolio including Dacia, Renault-Samsung and a stake in Rusia's AvtoVAZ. In fact, Dacia alreay is a budget brand managed by Renault and based in Romania, and the new Datsuns could end up being re-badged Dacias for sale in other markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 03:03 PM
Naming a new car after a venerable nameplate from its heyday is hardly a new ploy for the Dodge brand. Dodge did it with new muscle cars such as the Challenger a few years ago.
But today marked the first time that a Chrysler Group brand has gone back to the future for a nameplate since it has been controlled by Fiat. Dodge unveiled the 2013 Dodge Dart at the North American International Auto Show this morning, a new vehicle that should prove to be the most credible entry by the company in the compact-car segment since — well, since the heyday of the original Dodge Dart.
Accompanied by puslating techno music and lights in the predictable meme of auto-show unveilings, Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Dodge, said that the brand "wanted to create a world-class compact car" because Dodge wasn't "competing" in this segment with its Caliber model, introduced in 2006. "And we approached this segment with a clean slate — no baggage."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2012 06:26 PM
Today is, unofficially at least, "Love Detroit" Day.
The robust Detroit Lions are about to enter the NFL playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Chrysler just announced the addition of 1,100 new auto-assembly jobs in the city, great news following the ebullient 2011 U.S. car sales reports this week. And Motown is spiffing up for an influx of thousands of foreign journalists and auto-industry executives attending the 2012 North American International Auto Show next week — not to mention the other thousands of Michiganders who will attend the public part of the Detroit Auto Show the following week.
So if Detroit lovers could take a snapshot of any particular day and just live in it for a while, without the clock moving forward, January 6th, 2012 might be that day. Nothing has been ideal in fiscally strapped and infrastructure-challenged Detroit for a long time and might never be again, but today's news has presented a trifecta of developments that the city will certainly embrace for a while.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 7, 2011 09:07 AM
AMC considers reality shows to complement Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
BP and Shell plan to resume oil exploration in Libya.
Boeing hopes rise for union accord that would end labor struggle.
CBS is upbeat about TV business in 2012.
Citigroup announces cuts of additional 4,500 jobs.
Daimler loses value with investors relative to BMW as the two companies race to finish in U.S. luxury-car sales for 2011 and as Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand plans big boost in U.S. output.
Darden cuts forecast due to Olive Garden woes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 25, 2011 04:02 PM
Ford sustained a heavy blow today when it dropped like a rock in the influential Consumer Reports magazine annual reliability ratings of brands in the U.S. market, falling to 20th place among brands from last year's 10th place.
Jeep took the top ranking among domestic marques, as Chrysler's brands surged overall in this evaluation. Or Consumer Reports summarized its new reliability data, "Ford is down, Chrysler is up and the Japanese carmakers came out on top."
The knock on Ford's reliability wasn't unexpected.Continue reading...