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In the News: Jeep, iPad Mini, Barclays and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 2, 2012 09:07 AM

In the News

Chrysler exec tweets a rebuff about Donald Trump comment on Jeep jobs, as UAW leads ethics complaint vs Romney over auto rescue remarks.

Apple's iPad Mini launches globally to shorter than expected lines; secures Lion trademark.

Barclays facing a $470 million fine for alleged energy market manipulation, and a corruption probe.

Australian court rejects free range trademark move.

BlackBerry 10 is on schedule for early next year, RIM says.

Bloomberg Businessweek pins Sandy on global warming in cover story.Continue reading...

October Sales Bring Encouragement to Auto Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on November 1, 2012 11:31 AM

Automakers looking for a port in their own particular storm — not Sandy — were excited to report U.S. sales reports on Thursday because they're eager to show that American consumers are continuing to power a gradual rise in year-over-year sales and the third consecutive year of modest recovery in the market.

GM, Ford and Honda, among others, have just reported third-quarter earnings riddled with problems such as the European automotive recession, the China-Japan conflict over some islands, and even some soft spots in North America. But each of them is expected to post sales gains for October over a year earlier.

Chrysler, which thanked its brand loyalists on Facebook, reported an 80-percent profit jump in the third quarter over a year ago amid strong demand in the U.S. and Canada. But increasingly, it will have to reckon with demand on its resources from its troubled owner, Fiat, which is stuck near the bottom of the industry's woes in Europe and predicts things will get even worse

J.D. Power & Associates projected a double-digit sales increase for the industry for the month over October 2011. "The October retail sales pace" in the U.S. "is solidifying an accelerating recovery in the automotive market," stated Deirdre Borrego, VP and GM of U.S. automotive operations at J.D. Power, in the firm's October forecast. "Each month, we're seeing stronger signs of a healthy market, not only in terms of sales volumes, but also in dealer inventories, transaction prices and incentive levels."Continue reading...


GM and Chrysler Reject Romney China Claims

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...

brand news

In the News: Sandy Whacks Google, Penguin/Random House, Honda Hit and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2012 09:04 AM

In the News

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...


Ford is Outside, Looking In, at Industry Bailout, This Time in Europe

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...


European Auto Gloom Inspires Dangerous Game of Musical Chairs

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...

brand news

In the News: Sprint, Santander, Microsoft and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 15, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

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...


VW and Fiat Go Toe to Toe at Paris Auto Show

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...

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