Posted by Dale Buss on March 2, 2012 02:02 PM
Conventional wisdom about American auto buyers is that all they need to do is catch a whiff of a surge in gasoline prices, and they flock to higher-mileage vehicles — or, in a more extreme reaction, despair of buying a new vehicle at all because they're worried. U.S. auto sales for February showed consumers reflexively moving quickly to the former behavior while, to the industry's relief, continuing to power overall sales ahead at a brisk pace.
Small cars including the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Optima, Toyota's Prius hybrid and even the recently maligned Chevrolet Volt gained significantly in sales, especially as the month went on and media and political chatter about the arrival of $4- and $5-a-gallon gasoline picked up.
"They're more likely to have an effect on [sales] mix within the industry than on the total sales number," Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen of America, told reporters about rising gas prices. The trend, for example, is boosting sales of short-in-supply diesel versions of VW models such as its mid-size Passat sedan.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 1, 2012 04:34 PM
Never mind that recent commercial with three Jaguars playfully gliding through the countryside and turning doughnuts like baby versions of their namesake big cat, cavorting in the wild. Tata Group wants to get serious about reviving the venerable Jaguar brand so that it has a chance of gaining not only long-term feasibility but perhaps share in a U.S. luxury-auto market that seems to be on the upswing.
With that in mind, the brand is breaking in a substantial overhaul under the rubric "Alive," which includes not only a refreshed logo, but a new global advertising campaign launching this month. It's Jaguar's biggest branding campaign in seven years.
Jaguar could only embark on "Alive" after redoing the product line, which has left the marque with three fine models ranging in price from about $53,000 to about $138,000: the XF sports sedan, the XJ full-size luxury sedan, and the XK coupe and convertible.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 7, 2012 09:02 AM
AOL seeks new agency to convince consumers to "care" again.
Apple faces $38M fine in China for iPad name as company retakes crown as world's top smartphone maker.
Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors get into the hard-cider business.
Bayer CEO says consumers don't give pharma enough credit.
Coca-Cola draws more interest than expected with polar bears "watching" the Super Bowl, though its quarterly profits slid.
Clint Eastwood declares no political motive behind Chrysler Super Bowl spot, donates fee to charity.
Disney and Univision talk about creating English-language cable-news channel.
Ford and General Motors continue to snark over Chevrolet's Silverado ad in the Super Bowl as GM seeks new life for Volt in California.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 2, 2012 12:56 PM
Just when it seemed that almost every Super Bowl ad already had been revealed or teased, brand marketers' buzz machines continue revving up. GM is promoting their Super Bowl XLVI spots on Chevy's YouTube channel — including talking insects on a Chevy Sonic and Volt-enchanted aliens, which you can watch below — with YouTube-only clips with Rainn Wilson encouraging fans to share, engage and vote for their favorite spots.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2012 02:02 PM
Don't expect General Motors CEO Dan Akerson to go meekly back to Flyover Country after his resolute defense of the Chevrolet Volt before Congress last week. His appearance will rank as the high-water mark for the car's critics, not for the car.
The appeal of Volt to American consumers is poised to begin rising again. There's a new federal imprimatur on its crash-worthiness. GM will use its new marketing campaign, including on Super Bowl Sunday, to get out a fresh and upbeat message about Volt. And gasoline prices will likely start rising again, at least for seasonal reasons, as spring approaches, meaning that American consumers will be taking a closer look once again at what they shell out at the pump after about a year of relative stability, though at about $3.50 a gallon.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 26, 2012 09:02 AM
Acura makes the Sundance Festival a stage.
Airbus fixes cracked A380 wings as fault found.
Facebook marketer Buddy Media finds business is booming.
GE finds in study that shared content ranks higher with consumers than paid placement.
GM CEO offers resolute defense of Volt before Congress.
Illumina adopts poison pill against Roche.
J.C. Penney "reinvents" department-store retailing.
Netflix looks ahead as it returns to subscriber growth.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2012 01:01 PM
Just when General Motors executives were hoping they finally had gotten the Chevrolet Volt back on dry pavement, other obstacles have arisen: a mini-mutiny among some Chevy dealers who don't want to be stuck attempting to sell the battered plug-in hybrid brand, and the fact that GM CEO Dan Akerson is geting hauled in front of a congressional committee on Wednesday to testify about Volt.
On Friday, Volt received a clean bill of safety from the federal-government agency that had launched an investigation into some weird post-crash fire problems with Volt's battery, which occurred not on the road but within the testing procedures by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM had stepped up uncommonly during the investigation, offering to let Volt owners borrow another GM car and coming up with a safety "fix" even though its engineers belived it redundant in a design that already was safe.
GM is eager to rebuild Volt's tarnished image and get back to addressing more basic problems with Volt, which include not making or selling nearly as many as they had hoped a year ago. On Monday, for example, the automaker announced that Volt owners "may soon get charged with renewable energy" via GM's OnStar unit.
One spanner in GM's Volt image makeover plans: some Chevy dealers are turning down allocations of Volt that GM wants to ship to them, according to Automotive News. In New York, for example, GM allocated 104 Volts to four dealerships, but only 31 were accepted — the lowest "take" rate for any Chevy model in the market that month.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2012 09:02 AM
AMR reassures employees on pensions.
Amazon builds Fire tablet on Android without Google apps.
Anheuser-Busch president steps down.
Apple aims to shore up financial results.
Callaway tries to lure young golfers with Justin Timberlake involvement.
Chesapeake Energy pulls back on gas drilling amid glut.
Conde Nast may be cooking up another "shelter" magazine.
GM deals with Volt mini-mutiny as some Chevy dealers spurn allocations of the car.Continue reading...