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...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2012 05:12 PM
This year in the U.S. auto market is looking more and more like a rewind of 2011. Last year, General Motors and Ford, among others, feasted on the lack of availability suffered by Toyota and Honda because of the Big Two Japanese brands' Year from Supply Hell. GM and Ford had just the crop of new small cars that could best take advantage of their foes' problems and steal market share from them.
But now that the impact of the earthquake and tsunami last March, and floods in Thailand last fall, is largely behind them, Toyota and Honda are making up for lost time with a vengeance. Once again this week, when all automakers reported their July sales results for the U.S. market, the two Japanese brands came up big — with year-to-year sales up 26 percent and 45 percent, respectively — while GM sales dipped by 6 percent and Ford by 4 percent.
Toyota ended July once again the industry’s number one retail brand, for the fifth consecutive month, perhaps helped Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2012 02:19 PM
Volkswagen may not be the official auto sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games — that title goes to BMW, which has been providing a sustainable fleet to VIPs and athletes — VW is sponsoring the Dutch Olympics team. Getting in the spirit of the games, VW's marketing team and agency in the Netherlands came up with a cheer-based campaign in the lead-up to the Games that got Dutch fans literally cheering.
As TrendHunter notes, "Up! Holland Up!" gave Dutch fans "the opportunity to win tickets to the London Olympic Games by making a Volkswagen car go as fast as possible—only, instead of driving it the normal way, the participants had to scream and cheer as loud as possible to get the car to move."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 27, 2012 05:17 PM
Volkswagen is by far the dominant automaker in Europe. And Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, arguably is one of the most colorful and forceful personalities in the entire global industry. So it's not surprising that the two forces would create a dust-up when they disagree about a fundamental issue.
Throw in the fact of the spreading European auto recession, and the continent's overall economic troubles, and you've got the recipe for fireworks.
That's exactly what occurred this week after Marchionne used his soapbox as the president of ACEA, the European auto-trade group, to call VW's corporate behavior to task. In remarks published in the International Herald Tribune, the sweater-favoring, shoot-from-the-hip chieftain raked "the French and the Germans" for not reducing production capacity in a shrinking European automotive market.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 27, 2012 01:12 PM
Even as the European auto market suffers in general, the German luxury brands are hatching new ideas to reach well-to-do buyers who are managing to stay above the recessionary fray.
They’re bursting on to the scene with new retailing concepts, including Audi City — which just opened in London in time for the London Olympics crowds — and BMW’s avant garde showroom in Paris.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 27, 2012 11:16 AM
Last year, Toyota faced global headwinds, but this year it's benefiting from tailwinds. Meanwhile, its chief rivals for the title of worldwide automotive-sales leader — General Motors and Volkswagen — have run into their own problems, especially in a slogging Europe and a slowing China.
In a nutshell, that's why Toyota grabbed the lead over the other two companies in the first half, selling 4.97 million vehicles globally during the first six months of the year, compared with 4.67 million sales by GM and 4.45 million by VW, according to Automotive News.
That represents a reversal from last year, when GM led the world as Toyota struggled with production cutbacks because of the tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand. "It shows it's a competitive world out there," commented Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with IHS automotive. That's an understatement.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 26, 2012 09:02 AM
KFC degrees now an educational option in the UK.
NBC Universal says Olympics ad sales reach $1 billion.
Roku raises $45M from News Corp. and others.
Alcatel-Lucent to slash jobs after loss.
Amazon and Apple heat up their war on multiple fronts.
Boeing improves forecast.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 02:23 PM
American auto buyers appear to be falling right into the clutches of several auto brands as they switch to smaller new vehicles in response to higher gasoline prices and their need to replace that aging hulk in the garage. Along with better fuel economy, many buyers are gaining amenities, overall better quality and improved functional design than Americans used to get in downsizing their car purchases.
Chevrolet, Kia and Volkswagen are among the leading brand exemplars, as well as beneficiaries, of this trend, according to the conclusions of the annual J.D. Power & Associates APEAL study that was released Wednesday. Each of them has found ways to embody and cater to how Americans are increasingly downsizing with relish, according to the firm's Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study.Continue reading...