Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2012 04:07 PM
Lest doubters hold sway, General Motors turned in its best September in U.S. sales in four years and enjoyed strong performances in the important small-vehicle segments that are pacing the American market these days.
Overall, U.S. auto sales in September rose by about 13 percent compared with a year ago, continuing a moderate recovery that is providing much of the momentum behind whatever slow progress is being made by the American economy these days.
In fact, GM executives used their conference call with automotive reporters not only to underscore the positive results for September but also to declare that the company and its brands are on track to fulfill long-term goals that have been established for a while. "Things are working exactly as we designed," said Kurt McNeil, VP of U.S. sales operations.Continue reading...
start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2012 03:02 PM
The timing would be great for Chevrolet to be pushing a hot new car. GM sales were up in August, renewing hope for a continuation of the company's recent momentum. And the Chevy Volt continues to get shellacked for high development and manufaturing costs, low sales, and desperate incentives to sell the units that do move — a critique the automaker refutes.
But according to the automotive cognescenti, the Chevy Malibu Eco just isn't up to the challenge of delivering another winning product for GM in a sequence to follow the Chevy Cruze and Sonic models, which are smaller. (Chevy is also launching a new, tiny Spark nameplate this fall.) Eco's raison d'etre appears to be a "mild hybrid" drivetrain that includes an electric motor to give mileage a boost — but which, unfortunately, doesn't deliver much by way of fuel efficiency, compared with competitors, and is accompanied by a smaller wheelbase and cramped rear seats.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 3, 2012 11:19 AM
General Motors' marketing has drawn a lot of attention lately. But everyone in the car business knows it's actually new products that make the big differences in sales and market share: The more and the better vehicle launches, the bigger bumps a brand gets in all the important metrics. Nothing else an automaker can do even comes close.
That's one reason savvy GMers are looking hopefully past all the company's recent marketing kerfuffles to some promising new developments in sheetmetal: the introduction of the acclaimed new Cadillac ATS, for instance, and how GM reportedly is developing a new small-car platform that will boost efficiencies worldwide.
GM is hoping that the new ATS finally will establish Cadillac as a legitimate contender in the global luxury-car market, a gee-whiz compact luxury sport sedan that underscores the company's recovery from the dark days and bailout of 2009. Cadillac has been hyping the model all year, including substantial advertising during the London Summer Olympics on TV. The first shipments of ATS are expected on U.S. dealer lots over the coming week.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 24, 2012 08:55 AM
Apple and Samsung wait for jury to plow through complex case as Apple tries to thwart efforts by Google and its Motorola Mobility to ban iPhone and iPad imports into U.S.
Lance Armstrong says he'll stop fighting U.S. doping authority, faces loss of Tour de France titles.
Best Buy carries out drama with founder over control of company.
Boeing strains to make Dreamliner program profitable.
Bristol-Myers Squibb drops Hepatitis C drug after patient death.
Chrysler mulls boosting Ram truck production to meet rising demand.
Cox Communications debuts multi-platform football-based campaign.
Current TV to turn over half the screen to Twitter during convention coverage.
Daimler mulls building compact Mercedes cars with Renault-Nissan, report says. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2012 02:48 PM
Recall all that pre-launch marketing that Ford so carefullly laid for the 2013 Escape? The branded entertainment experiment that was the Escape Routes prime-time TV series on NBC; the Spanish-language TV commercial during the NBA Finals featuring the Miami Heat; and, in its latest promotional stunt, measuring the model's interior in ping-pong balls (56,778, in case you were wondering).
Well, Ford may need all of the interest and goodwill generated by those marketing gambits, and a lot more, to get past the fact that the automaker just announced the second recall in as many weeks for the crucial new version of its venerable SUV. It also raises the issue that when it comes to brand recalls, customers do recall recalls, as Toyota found out the hard way.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2012 03:09 PM
When Chrysler airs the first TV commercial for the 2013 Dodge Dart tonight during the All-Star Game, a lot more is at stake than may be readily apparent.
The spot opens with the line, "'How to change cars forever," features cameos by Tom Brady and other athletes, runs for an unconventional 90 seconds, and positions Dart as a game-changer. It really needs to be that for Chrysler, for a number of reasons.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 November 8, 2011 01:33 PM
Amid persistent signs that Americans still aren't exactly enamored of any kind of electrified vehicle, General Motors has been telling us that U.S. consumers really do want its Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid — there just weren't enough of them available to prove that thesis with actual purchases.
But today that is changing in a big way: GM is finally authorizing its dealers to sell the "demo" model of the Volt on their showroom floors if they want. The idea is that by doubling the number of Volts available for sale in the U.S. to 4,100, from the current 1,800, Chevrolet and its dealers finally will be able to satisfy a tremendous "pent-up demand" for the trailblazing vehicle.
Maybe. The company cites survey showing that 72 percent of Americans who would like to buy a Volt haven't bought one because not enough are available. And indeed, GM has only gradually ramped up production of Volt at a Detroit factory. And it has restricted consumer availability of those that were built because GM wanted dealers to keep at least one demonstration model on the showroom floor, not sell it. GM figured that would be a good way to make sure car shoppers were being familiarized with Volt and its groundbreaking idea of locomotion — as well as to help bring in buyers for other fuel-efficient Chevrolet models such as the conventionally powered Cruze.Continue reading...