Posted by Dale Buss on October 31, 2012 04:12 PM
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been busy this week denying what he won't do and sharing what he wants to do. And everything he has said has implications for the company, its brands and consumers on four continents.
Of most immediate importance, Marchionne was compelled to inject himself into the U.S. presidential campaign this week after a Romney TV commercial and radio spot in battleground Ohio highlighted his plan to build Jeeps in China.
It could be inferred from the Republican nominee's spot that Jeep jobs might leave Ohio and Michigan in such an endeavor — a suggestion that Marchionne swiftly rejected. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also said in a statement released by Romney's campaign: "GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas. These are facts that voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making."
An irked Marchionne released a statement to assure Chrysler employees and the public that the company's commitment to U.S. production of Jeeps, which has been expanding lately, was secure, stating "I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China." GM also refuted the Romney campaign claims.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2012 09:04 AM
Google Nexus NYC tablet launch delayed by Hurricane Sandy, sells out online.
Pearson and Bertelsmann strike deal to combine Penguin and Random House publishing houses, thwarting News Corp.
Honda cuts full-year outlook over anti-Japan sentiment in China.
Audi repeats goal to match 2011 operating profit in 2012.
British Airways launches customer recognition program.
Burger King third-quarter net income falls, still beats estimates.
Burt's Bees "deflakes" with billboard and video campaign.
Cadillac raises prices in bid for luxury credibility.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 26, 2012 12:55 PM
Ford is experiencing a case of deja vu, and it doesn't like what it is seeing (again). Ford and Renault executives this week voiced concerns about the competitive effects of a French-government rescue deal for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
As the only one of the U.S. Big Three that didn't accept the offer of a federal-government bailout in 2009, Ford to rely instead on its own huge bet on its future financed by private capital and led by CEO Alan Mulally. But neither did Ford at the time object to the U.S.-taxpayer bailouts of GM and Ford.
This time around, however, Ford sees things differently, for at least two reasons. First, the European auto market seems to be headed on a further downward trajectory, whereas industry hopes in the U.S. in 2009 were for a turnaround that, in fact, soon materialized.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2012 04:04 PM
At this point, automakers are just trying to keep ahead of the cratering of the European market, like some Indiana Jones character who's attempting to leap to the other side of a chasm before his footing completely gives away.
Just about every carmaker selling in Europe is offering deep price discounts, slashing costs, planning to close plants, reducing sales forecasts, redirecting domestic output to export markets, posting losses, appealing for more government aid — or some combination thereof. And they are far from achieving an equilibrium in their scaleback as they cope with the steady worsening of a five-year sales slump that isn't forecasted to end before 2015.
"It is unclear if all carmakers will survive without government help," Volkswagen Group CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch said recently, according to Automotive News Europe.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 15, 2012 09:01 AM
Japan's Softbank acquires 70 percent of Sprint for $20 billion.
Santander walks away from $2.7 billion RBS deal.
Microsoft makes new push into music via Xbox.
Red Bull basks in post-skydive glory.
ABA sues New York City over soda ban.
Advent offers to buy beauty retailer Douglas.
Allstate scores points with peers with "Mayhem" campaign.
Amazon flags e-book refunds.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 28, 2012 06:14 PM
The Paris Auto Show is beginning to look less like an internationalized extravaganza of automotive glitz, glamor and haute sheet metal than a European summit meeting convened to solve some geopolitical crisis.
Brands still showed off all of their new and proposed hardware to automotive journalists this week. But as the show opens to the French public, there's a lot more attention being paid to the auto-industry CEOs — as they huddle to confront European-market sales that have fallen to a 17-year low — than to any particular concept car or new production model.
As the press preview week wound down, in fact, all eyes were on Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne after they emerged from an early-morning meeting today — what had been openly billed as a showdown between the two industry titans over differences on whether European automakers should respond collectively or only individually to industry overcapacity.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 28, 2012 12:43 PM
For any foreign brand that wants to become better known in America, partnering with one that already is renowned and made in the U.S.A. can be a great strategy. So that's what Fiat is doing by participating in the 20th anniversary of the Monopoly Game contest at McDonald's.
And, of course, Fiat hasn't chosen to partner with America's leading fast-food chain on just anything. The Monopoly promotion — in which customers peel game pieces from drinks and other selected menu items to collect property sets or win instant prizes, in-store and online — has become as iconic in its association with McDonald's as the Big Mac and Mayor McCheese.
That's just the point for Fiat. The brand and its minicars, new to the U.S. market over just the last year or so after a many-year hiatus, still are seeking more traction in American media and culture, competing with many other brands and against the fact that Americans still tend to favor bigger cars.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2012 06:18 PM
Auto executives from around the world, car journalists, and thousands of other hangers-on are flocking to the French capital for the Paris Auto Show which is kicking off with an end-of-the-week preview of new models and concept vehicles for the media.
One automaker after another is primping itself for the Parisian catwalk — such as the renascent Volvo, which is unveiling new variants of its V40 at the exhibition, and the snazzy new Jaguar F-TYPE, which was feted at the Musee Rodin Thursday night with celebs on hand including American chanteuse Lana Del Rey, above.
But unfortunately, a pall is hanging over the hall and the show's participants: the growing distress of Europe's auto market, which seems to be worsening not only quantitatively but perceptually every week.Continue reading...