brands under fire
Posted by Dale Buss on April 25, 2013 07:01 PM
The recent, cartoonish prospective print ads by Ford's agency in India—depicting Silvio Berlusconi and Paris Hilton as heartless kidnappers—turned out to be mere child's play in the modern universe of tin-eared automotive marketing. Hyundai has just set the bar at a new low with an online ad in Europe for its iX35 fuel-cell car, which depicts a suicide attempt in the car—which eventually fails because of the vehicles clean emissions.
The spot by Innocean, Hyundai's agency of record because it is owned by Hyundai, shows a man sitting in the driver's seat of a Hyundai in his garage, having made all the necessary preparations for offing himself by breathing in carbon monoxide. But, despite the foreboding music, it doesn't work. The commercial shows a tube—run into the passenger compartment from the exhaust pipe—emitting what looks like smoke but turns out to be vapor, as the car runs on "100-percent water emissions," a tagline informs the viewer. The guy is out of luck.
Hyundai today pulled the ad (which was posted last week) from YouTube, but it has gone wildly viral and enraged the brand's fans and non-fans the world over. "Hyundai understands the video has caused offense," Hyundai Europe said in a statement (update: scroll down for additional statements). "We apologize unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 19, 2013 07:12 PM
Global automakers—including home-owned ones—will be showing off their wares at the press preview of the Shanghai Auto Show on Saturday. What they display will reflect the brands' various crucial strategies for stoking sales and market-share growth in the world's largest auto market, which is only getting bigger.
Analysts and auto executives alike have shown up in Shanghai predicting that the national market will balloon to 30 to 35 million vehicles within several years, or as much as a doubling of last year's sales of 19.3 million vehicles (in a year in which US sales were 14.5 million). That kind of expansion would make the Chinese market as big as the projected European and American markets put together.
"There's lots of competition here and everyone wants a piece of this pie," GM China President Bob Socia told Channel News Asia. "As competitive as it is, it's probably the only market in the world that offers the type of opportunities this market offers."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 18, 2013 12:17 PM
Dragged down by a still-worsening automotive recession in their home continent, European automakers are pulling out all the stops in efforts to retain and create sales momentum—with some new initiatives in Europe and many in the still-growing markets outside of it. Meanwhile, Lexus is planning a global brand campaign in May as it finally puts a disastrous 2010 and 2011 behind it.
German automakers Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are jockeying not only to attempt to stay above the fray in a troubled European market but also to advance their individual designs on global supremacy. VW vows to become the world's top automaker in the next several years, while its Audi brand also is battling with BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand for worldwide luxury-sales leadership.
One possibility for Volkswagen is to add still more automotive brands to its existing stable of 12, CEO Martin Winterkorn said. Last year, VW completed its purchase of Porsche and added Italian motorcycle maker Ducati.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 14, 2013 01:16 PM
While the white smoke billowed out into St. Peter's Square and Pope Francis was introduced to the world, the Catholic Church’s legal team was busy behind the scenes.
As it's widely understood, the Catholic Church is as much a business as it is a religious beacon, and like any smart business, the Church protects its property. Vatican City and the Holy See are already the owners of such trademarks as “Benedictvs XVI Pontifex Maximus,” “Ioannes Pavlvs Pontifex Maximus,” “Stato Della Citta Del Vaticano,” and “Segreteria Di Stato," according to Forbes. Now, with a new pontiff in place, Vatican lawyers will be hard at work securing trademarks for everything Pope Francis related.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 7, 2013 10:24 AM
Happy Endings. Literally. That's the latest strategy from French automaker Citroen, as it moves to fulfill its promise to double its sales in China over the next three years.
Citroen's new ad campaign for its C4L model is an extended joke about going to a brothel, but the ad is similar to an erotic hit Hong Kong film from last year. It's just one more way Citroen is embracing the fact that it might soon be more Chinese than French. Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2012 05:01 PM
French automaker Peugeot Citroen has had a rough time financially in recent years and isn’t expecting to turn a profit again till 2015, according to German newspaper Wlt am Sonntag. Meanwhile, the French government promised assistance to the company last month and “the car maker has also agreed to withhold dividend payouts, as well as postpone share buybacks and performance bonuses to top executives,” according to Fox Business.
What may help the automaker get back into the black is a partnership with General Motors that Peugeot’s head, Maxim Picat, says is still moving forward with the Opel brand: "Our cooperation is going as planned," he said, according to a translation by Fox Business. "As we said, we will build cars together using four shared platforms."
One thing Peugeot should pay extra attention to when it designs its next round of cars: how much exhaust it puts out. The New York Times reports that Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has “angered vintage car owners and motorist groups and raised concerns among those who say they cannot afford new cars” by asking to ban vehicles made before 1997 to help reduce air pollution. The plan could affect 367,000 automobiles, including France's "landmark" Citroën DS, named "the most beautiful car ever" by car designers in 2009.Continue reading...
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...
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...