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brand news

In the News: iPhone 5, Foxconn, Fiat and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

Apple flirts with first trillion-dollar valuation for a company as iPhone 5 first weekend sales top five million and Apple tops YouTube and Aston Martin as "coolest UK brand." Apple also halted production at Foxconn factory after mass brawl, and seen hogging new iPhone for its own stores. Its legal team has also asked CA judge to boost award from Samsung.

Alfa Romeo plots return to USA, with Chrysler helping Fiat.

American Airlines racks up flight delays and cancellations.

Applebee's reboots its marketing with inflatable dolls.

Boeing struggles with makeover of 777.

Conde Nast launches French Vanity Fair into economic headwinds and skepticism.Continue reading...

auto motive

German Premium Auto Brands Zip Past Competitors in Europe

Posted by Dale Buss on September 21, 2012 12:12 PM

This development isn't going to make Sergio Marchionne very happy: German premium brands are defying Europe's economic crisis and picking up sales and market share at the expense of mainstream car brands whose struggles are only growing.

Turns out that, while middle-class European consumers are sweating the Eurozone diffculties and being battered by recessionary gales there, luxury consumers are zipping ahead with substantially more confidence, and buying substantially more vehicles.

As a result of this autobahn-like confidence, brands including all three of the German premium makers — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz — are catching up in sales volume to their mainstream counterparts as the latter brands suffer.

It's exactly what Fiat CEO Marchionne has been noting as he has been calling for a coordinated approach to trimming production by auto brands in Europe so that general-market brands such as Fiat don't suffer disproportionately. The Germans have rebuffed him.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Samsung, Chick-fil-A, Visa and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 20, 2012 08:55 AM

In the News

Samsung mocks iPhone 5 buyers in latest commercial.

Chick-fil-A backs down and vows to stop donating to anti-LGBT groups.

Visa shifts global creative duties back to BBDO.

AOL names female CFO.

AT&T faces backlash over Apple FaceTime restrictions, while CEO explains anti-texting and driving push.

Bed Bath & Beyond beats the odds.

Citibank credit card is coming to China.Continue reading...

auto motive

John Varvatos x Chrysler Brings Designer's Motor City Chops to the 300

Posted by Dale Buss on September 13, 2012 11:58 AM

Sergio Marchionne got Chrysler dealers from across America fired up this week by pulling the wraps off dozens of potential new models and variations of vehicles that are in the pipeline for the next few years, including aerodynamic versions of current best-selling nameplates for Jeep, a vastly improved Chrysler 200 sedan, and an all-new Chrysler 100 subcompact that would fill a niche where the brand hasn't had a credible entry for decades.

But most of the hardware that the Fiat and Chrysler CEO showed off in Las Vegas is for the future. Right now, with double-digit sales increases each month, Chrysler has been doing a great job of selling just a very few all-new or substantially overhauled models along with others that are mainly reskinned. And one reason they've been so successful is some innovative marketing.

Chrysler launched a new initiative in that regard during Fashion Week in New York, introducing a new Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition and a Chrysler 300C Luxury Edition featuring the stylings and touches of the menswear (and now kids) designer. A native of Detroit, Varvatos was featured in a TV campaign for his 300 collaboration with the automaker.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Brands Climb Onto NFL, NCAA Juggernauts for Football's Big Kick-Off

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2012 05:02 PM

Are you ready for some football? Big brands surely are. The National Football League may be a marketing and TV-programing juggernaut, but it is carrying more weight for more major brands than ever.

Take auto advertisers, for instance. Despite football telecasts that already were slated to be crowded with other car brands, Audi decided to use tonight's kickoff game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys for the marketing launch of its crucial new 2013 S Models. These performance nameplates (S6, S7 and S8) and the "S" brand are fundamental for Audi to move to the next phase of its positioning in the U.S. market, as a provider of exciting, luxurious and well-designed automobiles.

And so the NFL gets the call tonight to host the first Audi ad under its new tagline, "Heighten Every Moment," featuring the Audi S8. The 60-second spot (watch it above) will run in the first break after kickoff. Audi also announced that it will appear in the Super Bowl game in February, its sixth consecutive advertising appearance in the big game.Continue reading...

auto motive

New Dodge Dart Misses the Early Mark

Posted by Dale Buss on August 31, 2012 03:27 PM

Anticipation has been heavy for the success of the new Dodge Dart, the Illinois-built compact car that represents the first complete-vehicle collaboration between Chrysler and its new Fiat parent. The just-launched model has been saddled with hopes and responsibilities ranging from reestablishment of Chrysler's design chops to re-ignition of the company's hopes in a small-car market where it hasn't excelled for a long time.

But all of that has been delayed, at least, by Dart's slow start out of the gate, according to the Wall Street Journal. Noting that Chrysler sold fewer than 1,000 Darts in the car's first two months in dealer showrooms, June and July, the newspaper blamed Chrysler, in part, for producing many more manual-transmission Darts than the market requires.

An increasing number in the auto industry are talking about stick shifts these days, as a way to entice financially strapped Millennials into purchasing automobiles. In mainstream product segments, stick shifts are less expensive to manufacture, purchase, drive and insure. (Of course it's an entirely different market for stick shifts in pricey luxury makes, where they're provided for driving feel.) Continue reading...

auto motive

GM Vet Bob Lutz Dusts Off Soapbox to Rail Against A123 Sale to China

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 05:53 PM

The auto industry continues to move in fits and starts — some huge, some tiny — toward the future of the electrified automobile. It hasn't been pretty getting this far, and there will be many ups and downs for electric vehicles before U.S. and global consumers presumably someday embrace them.

One of the inevitable shifts along that path came today when a Chinese auto-parts company rescued cash-strapped A123 Systems, an American lithium-ion battery maker for the U.S. electrified-car market that has been in lots of financial trouble in part because of how slowly the market has developed. Wanxiang can acquire up to 80 percent of A123 Systems in return for an investment of up to $450 million.

Quickly, a very public critic of the deal emerged: Bob Lutz, former GM vice chairman, in a column on Forbes.com. The father of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is opposed to the "green-technology" mandate on the U.S. auto industry by the Obama administration, which had made a $249-million loan to A123 Systems.

Lutz characterized the acquisition of the high-tech company by the Chinese concern as a downfall of trying to "mandate" an EV-car market to an American public that isn't ready for it yet.Continue reading...

auto motive

European Woes Drag On Auto Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on August 3, 2012 04:13 PM

Eurozone difficulties and fading business and consumer confidence in Europe are creating something of a black hole for global automakers in that market. So far, Fiat, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Ford and General Motors seem to be getting the worst of it, while Volkswagen and Toyota struggle to float on top of the difficulties.

The latest development is that politicians and unions are trying to get the Italian government to intervene to reverse Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's proclamation that the company can't give "any indication concerning future investments" in Italy because of the "economic crisis and current difficulties in the European auto market," according to Automotive News Europe.

Italy has been dancing on the fringes of eurozone difficulties along with Spain. And for months, Marchionne has been defying others in his industry by insisting that automakers need to put their heads together and figure out how to pare some of the excess capacity in the continent's car market — before the marketplace does it for them, more brutally. Marchionne even called out Volkswagen leadership this week for not being a team player on that issue.Continue reading...

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