Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2012 05:33 PM
In advertisements that began in the U.S. market last weekend, BMW launched an attempt to move its brand definition beyond traditional notions of "performance" to a more holistic positioning that depicts the company's entire model range as offering the "ultimate driving machine" for someone, depending on their wants and needs. And at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, BMW executives explained what they mean.
"We want to set in motion a platform that defines what 'the ultimate driving machine' means in 2012 and beyond," Dan Creed, CMO of BMW of North America, told brandchannel. "Twenty years ago, it was all about visceral horsepower, handling and going fast. But now we have four, six- and eight-cylinder engines; we have diesel and gasoline and EV [powertrains]; we have 'i' [electric vehicles for urban setings] and still our strong involvement with motorsports. Those last two are extremes. What we're saying is that, no matter the vehicle, we're delivering an ultimate driving machine."
The timing couldn't be better, with BMW having just won the 2011 crown for luxury auto sales in the U.S., pipping Mercedes-Benz and Lexus for the title. But there's no evidence of schadenfreude for having won the race against a highly competitive Mercedes-Benz, and succeeding Lexus, which had held the crown for 11 years.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 06:44 PM
Audi executives don't mind not having been a part of the sales-deadline drama that enveloped their two biggest rivals last week, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as they played with the timing of BMW's victory in the 2011 luxury-sales race in the U.S. market. They're looking at the bigger picture and the longer term for their nascent brand in America, and they like what they see.
"Sales are a decent scorecard, but there are things that go significantly beyond sales," Scott Keogh, CMO of Audi of America, told brandchannel today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Audi unveiled an outdoorsy version of its Q3 small utility vehicle that it expects to begin selling in the U.S. by 2014. "True luxury leadership comes from being the thought leader in the segment, not necessarily the sales leader."
Clearly, Keogh and other Audi executives have thought through the great opportunities for their brand in 2012 after posting a 16-percent sales increase in the U.S. last year — and yet still seeming to fly a bit under the radar as BMW and Mercedes-Benz fought rather furiously through December until they could determine which one had sold more units for the year, with BMW taking the title that Lexus had claimed for 11 years.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2012 04:34 PM
The U.S. economic climes are growing about as balmy as the unseasonably warm weather expected next week when global automotive media and industry executives descend on the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And car brands from Acura to Volvo are poised more than they have been in a few years to try to take advantage of the platform to launch new models, brag about technological innovations, tease with concept vehicles and spin their stories to several thousand curious journalists, bloggers, TV producers and hangers-on.
Overall, NAIAS will feel more like the golden days of yore than a Detroit show has in years. For example, Nissan is making a return to the exhibit after a couple years' absence during the Great Recession. Fuel economy and electrification will continue to be strong themes as they have been for the past few years, but with a slow but steady multi-year recovery in the U.S. market underway, auto brands will be emphasizing "happier" themes such as exterior-design departures and interior connectivity technologies.
Audi plans to use the show to unwrap a concept "Vail" version of its compact Q3 just for the U.S. market, where the company plans to introduce several more models in the years ahead as it tries to supplant BMW as the world's largest luxury-car maker by 2015. Audi sells only about half as many vehicles in the American market as BMW and Mercedes-Benz at this point, but the Volkswagen-owned brand has been growing by leaps and bounds in teh U.S. already. Audi executives have said they're also looking at the idea of making SUVs in the United States as its two German rivals do already.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2012 09:03 AM
Apple reportedly plans in-store branded boutiques at Target, while the iPhone's new Siri feature is said to double mobile data usage.
Porsche and Volkswagen compensation claims increase, while VW closes market cap gap with Toyota and looks to expand in China and India.
Dunkin' Donuts gears up to double number of U.S. locations.
Alcoa is scaling back.
Audi is adding models to win more U.S. market share.
Baskin-Robbins to expand to Vietnam.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 5, 2012 12:06 PM
You'd think they were electing a new pope, the way BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand executives stretched out the resolution of their mano a mano battle for leadership in U.S. luxury autos for 2011, as a tantalized global automotive press and many others wondered what the holdup was.
The two teasing German brands finally released their December sales results this morning, about 24 hours later than usual for a monthly sales report and many hours after every other brand in the U.S. market released their December and year-end sales reports on Wednesday.
And when the black smoke actually appeared, the expected winner became the confirmed winner: BMW edged out an aggressive December effort by Mercedes-Benz to sell more of its brand of vehicles in the United States for all of last year, with BMW edging out MBUSA's 2011 tally by 247,907 to 245,192.
Inventory-challenged Lexus — the US luxury winner for each of the last 11 years — finished a distant third, with 198,552 sales, and a promise to compete for the title again in 2012.
Overall, the Ford brand was the volume leader in the U.S. market last year, with 2,057,210 sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 5, 2012 08:50 AM
BMW projected to beat Mercedes-Benz for US luxury crown.
PepsiCo reportedly mulls layoffs and salary freeze to appease Wall Street.
Kodak bankruptcy report in WSJ slams stock price.
Apple hires Adobe exec to oversee iAds, threatens to sue company behind Steve Jobs doll and rises at Foxconn's expense.
Australia's Commonwealth Bank crowdsources customer ideas.
Arm & Hammer ordered to pull TV commercial criticizing cat litter competitor.
Audi's China sales outstrip Germany.
Boeing closes premier factory in Wichita.
Burberry is now the most popular luxury brand on Facebook, as YouTube, MTV and Coca-Cola lead in FB engagement.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 4, 2012 06:01 PM
Less than 24 hours after Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney attempted to out-wait each other — and the results — before Romney was designated winner of the GOP Iowa caucuses by a razor-thin margin, BMW and Mercedes-Benz played their own waiting game on Wednesday, delaying the announcement of their 2011 sales figures in a stand-off to see which one could claim the U.S. luxury sales crown.
Which brand sold more vehicles in the U.S. market during 2011 and therefore claimed, for the first time, a segment sales crown that Lexus had owned for more than a decade? BMW entered December more than 1,000 units ahead of Mercedes-Benz, but the latter had closed a bigger gap during November with a furious surge of sales promotions and incentives. Auto industry observers are projecting that BMW will take the luxury sales crown for 2011 until the companies release the actual figures.
The rest of the industry closed out 2011 in relatively fine fashion, riding a surge of stronger U.S. sales that slowly built beginning in the third quarter and allowed the auto business to turn about 13 million sales for the year. That was up about 10 percent from a year earlier.
Considering all that the brands had to fight through during the year — including $4-a-gallon gasoline, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand, and consumers made queasy by global fiscal turmoil from Brussels to Washington, D.C. — brand executives were pleased with that performance.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2012 09:11 AM
Altria launches tobacco rights website.
Apple sees its devices dominate mobile ordering as brand plans books announcement and sets Red Friday sales event for Asia.
Avery Dennison sells office and consumer products business to 3M.
Axe woos young males with interactive comic book.
Bentley plans luxury SUV.
BMW sees 2012 premium growth.
BP sues Halliburton over Gulf spill, includes anti-BP protesters in new ad.
Bridgestone kicks off Super Bowl campaign at NHL Winter Classic.
Brisk ties into Star Wars 3D theatrical launch with mobile campaign.
Cadbury adopts vertical shelf-ready packaging.Continue reading...