Posted by Dale Buss on May 16, 2012 06:09 PM
Over the last few years, new-guard brands including Hyundai and Kia have joined surprisingly strong runners such as Volkswagen in usurping share of the U.S. auto market, especially as the Great Recession and the Japanese natural disaster last year threw the entire industry into turmoil.
But it might be a surprise to know that one of the industry's foremost gurus on Wall Street is predicting when the dust settles three years hence, the only significant gainers in market share compared with now will be three of the hoariest names in the business: Ford, General Motors and Toyota.
The reason, said John Murphy, of Merrill Lynch, in the latest version of his annual automotive sector three-year outlook, "Car Wars," is that those old-guard brands will be doing the best job of replenishing their product lines. And in the car business, nothing matters as much to sales bursts and share gains as fresh sheet metal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2012 06:22 PM
Volkswagen AG sent shockwaves a couple of years ago with its bold declaration of its scheme for world domination, with a stated goal to become the world's #1 automaker by 2018. Then it began taking steps to do just that.
Today, the company's luxury brand sent a similarly strident message. The Volkswagen Group's Audi division confirmed rumors that it wants to take on take on BMW and go wheel-to-wheel with its cross-nation rival for global supremacy by buying Ducati Motor Holdings — and its premier motor bikes with names such as Street Fighter, Monster and Diavel — for an estimated $1 billion.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2012 04:59 PM
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are facing their biggest test since beginning their recoveries three years ago. Even in a bullish market, the challenges are huge.
Before the end of last year, many automotive pundits brought up two distinct possibilities about how the big car-makers could be faring differently in 2012 from the way 2011 was ending up. And already, the industry seems to be tacking in the direction of both of them.
One clear trend after first-quarter sales is that Detroit's Big Three automakers are already giving back much of the hard-won share of the market that they gained over the last two years. The other big news: Toyota has recaptured much of the mojo it lost in the U.S. market over those two years.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2012 12:57 PM
Ford is pursuing the Millennial generation these days like the rest of the global auto industry. But so far the carmakers' love largely has gone unrequited by a car-reluctant cohort.
Now, Ford hopes that a new Mustang can keep wooing Generation Y the way that its new Ford Fiesta did when it debuted a couple of years ago. Ford design chief J Mays has been telling folks for a while that the 2014 Mustang will comprise perhaps the nameplate's sharpest departure ever from the "pony car" that first excited the baby boomers a half-century ago under the guidance of then-Ford executive Lee Iacocca.
The company will have to be cautious. In the 1970s, after mistakenly believing that the appeal of the original, muscular, blockish Mustang design had run its course with the car market, Ford introduced a vastly diluted design and called it Mustang II.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 17, 2012 12:26 PM
It's doubtful that the new T-Mobile US campaign flashing a Ducati bike (above) made the difference, but Audi appears poised to snap up the Italian motorcycle brand for about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg hears that the board of Volkswagen AG, Audi's parent, is expected to ignite the deal for the maker of luxury motorbikes at the same meeting on Wednesday where it is set to endorse the choice of a site in Mexico for building its first North American plant. Both moves represent a further coming of age of the nascent Audi brand.
Buying Ducati would mark a significant step toward its goal of becoming the world-leading premium luxury brand, and would give BMW's own venerable cycle brand some competition. Ducati has been the apple of the eye of VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech for some time, and he publicly expressed interest in buying the brand in 2008 before losing out to Investindustrial SpA of Italy.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 17, 2012 08:59 AM
ABC edges out NBC in the morning.
AOL pushes to grab TV-ad dollars.
Apple loses luster on its shares.
Audi set to buy Ducati, Bloomberg reports.
BlackBerry store sits as quiet marker of RIM failed strategy.
Coca-Cola profit beats estimates.
Coty says it has lined up capital for Avon bid.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 4, 2012 01:01 PM
Because it owned the house, it was predictable that Ford's new reality-TV show on NBC, Escape Routes, would find every angle to tout the automaker's new 2013 Ford Escape — the namesake inspiration for the show. And it did.
But what viewers of the first installment of the show might not have expected was to see a number of other blue-chip brands — including McDonald's, J.C. Penney, several Procter & Gamble marques, even Ford rival Volkswagen — go along for the ride.
The six-week Escape Routes series, which debuted on March 31st, is the latest way for Ford to push the envelope with new-era marketing formats, where it has demonstrated industry leadership.
And while the first installment was hardly Emmy-worthy appointment viewing, Ford executives tell brandchannel they're pleased with the social TV meets branded entertainment experiment.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 22, 2012 11:19 AM
Volkswagen has come a long way toward men with the Beetle from the days of installing a vase holder near the steering column. But has it gone too far?
The brand wanted to make the new, new Beetle, introduced late last year, more appealing to men (while not losing women). Only 29 percent of purchasers of the old New Beetle, a year ago, were men, and the flower-vase holder as well as the fully rounded styling and VW's own positioning of the model had a lot to do with that.
Fast-forward to today. VW signaled early its intention to tap more into the male market with the new, new Beetle that came out last fall. It has a more raked, not so round profile, for one thing. It had a broader, more aggressive — OK, more "masculine" — stance. It's no accident that the dog featured in the brand's 2012 Super Bowl commercial for the new Beetle was a big golden retriever.Continue reading...