Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 03:37 PM
Get ready for the mother of all site-location battles as four Southwestern states attempt to lure the highly anticipated, multibillion-dollar new "gigafactory" that is supposed to be churning out state-of-the-art batteries for Tesla cars and other purposes within three years.
The competition and attention likely will rival that garnered by General Motors' Saturn project in the Eighties. After an unprecedented bidding and lobbying war by states across the country, Saturn landed in Tennessee and did a good bit to change GM and the auto industry before the company knocked the brand out of its orbit five years ago as part of the federal bailout.
Tesla already said it had narrowed its choice to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas for a plant that would cover 10 million square-feet and employ 6,500 people. But considering that the plant is one of the biggest economic-development prizes in recent American history, the hoopla will be endless.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2014 04:49 PM
With the European auto market showing signs of life after a five-year recession, and mobile-connectivity technology coming to dominate automobile design worldwide, there are hundreds of car brand executives flocking to Geneva and Barcelona this week.
At this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, increasing news about the latest in automotive technology is being made alongside myriad announcements about smartphone advances and news from the "internet of things." It's similar to how the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January has emerged as a crucial venue for advancements in automotive digital technology.
The Geneva Motor Show kicks off next week at a time when it appears European auto sales finally may have bottomed out. Combined with the fact that many of the advances they show won't be available for a year or a few years anyway, the Geneva show is a more important platform for car brands than it has been in some years.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on February 21, 2014 12:26 PM
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: House of Cards in China… Ai Weiwei's vase… Heineken… Hengda soccer's sponsorship windfall… Xiaomi… medical tourism and South Korea... WeChat mobile payments… 3M… Disneylands... gold fever... China loves olive oil... Sam's Club… Uniqlo and H&M… Airbus... GM... Furia... KFC's soy milk problem... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 20, 2014 02:42 PM
Part tech star, part automotive history-maker, Tesla keeps betting on the future and following founder Elon Musk's vision for making electric cars ubiquitous in global luxury markets and then affordable for mainstream consumers.
In the latest snapshot on his progress and thinking, Musk said this week that he's talked with Apple and vowed to lead the way to autonomous cars, and indicated that Tesla plans to boost production by more than 50 percent this year as its single nameplate, Model S, continues to appear on the wish lists of upscale, progressive car buyers everywhere.
"It's difficult to predict where the demand settles out with the [Model] S," Musk said on a conference call. But for now, he's forecasting sales of 35,000 Model S sedans this year after Tesla sold about 22,000 of them last year. And by mid-2014, he expects the Tesla factory in California to be making as many as 1,000 cars a week, implying an annual production target of maybe 50,000 cars.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2014 10:12 AM
Cadillac's aggressively American "Poolside" commercial being shown during the Sochi Olympics already was essentially in the can when Uwe Ellinghaus took over as the brand's CMO a few months ago, so his practical influence on the controversial tone of the ad was limited.
But there was one big decision he could still make to affect the commercial that stars Neal McDonough as an American who's proud of his American work ethic, American-style material success, and American car that demonstrates why Americans have it all over lazy Europeans—and European luxury car brands.
Ellinghaus told brandchannel it was he who decided to have the ad tout the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid rather than another model he didn't identify. The timing of the sales launch of the car would coincide perfectly with the brand's Sochi sponsorship and the debut of the commercial, he concluded.
And besides, what better chance to get traction for his repositioning of the Cadillac brand than to underscore its most technologically advanced and adventurous product to date?Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 10, 2014 09:47 AM
To kick off its huge Olympics sponsorship of Team USA and launch its new "i" EV sub-brand in grand style, BMW called on Arthur C. Clarke to talk about the far future in order to make an important statement about the automaker's near future.
While Volkswagen is the official automotive brand partner of the Sochi Olympics, BMW officially introduced its new, Tesla-fighting i3 EV and i8 plug-in hybrid with a TV ad, "Hello Future," that ran during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on NBC on Friday.
The spot uses a 1964 recording of the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey talking about the future. Clarke spins it as inevitably more fantastic than humans could imagine, and soon the ad is showing the gull-winged BMW i8 as proof of the futurist’s prediction.
"We thought it was a perfect match, because 'i' in our sub-brand stands for 'innovation,' and Clarke's speech even from 50 years ago speaks perfectly to today's challenges, that require innovation," Michael Jobst, national marketing manager for BMW of North America, told brandchannel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2014 03:06 PM
"All of the above" has become a popular term in the auto industry for a power-train strategy that attempts to field entries based on every mode of propulsion in the marketplace.
But BMW now is applying the concept more broadly to its entire business model, attempting to advance in every conceivable way to include not only "green" propulsion systems but also a much wider variety of products in all segments, more expert sales people and spiffier US showrooms.
Its plans include the introduction its all-electric i3 small car in the US this spring and says that hybrids and electrics under the i sub-brand could one day comprise 10 to 15 percent of its global sales while the internal-combustion engine continues to be the major drivetrain 10 years from now.Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2014 03:39 PM
The Detroit auto show has undergone a breathtaking transformation from a sales and marketing platform robed in green to one where the hue barely shows up anymore. That's because a range of fuel-sipping and alternative powertrains has become mere table stakes these days in the global auto business—and so it's nothing in particular to brag about on one of the car world's biggest stages.
It's not that concerns about cutting emissions, harnessing electricity and other alternative forms of power, and meeting rising regulatory standards around the world have disappeared from automakers' agendas.
Rather, almost to a brand, they've become fully engaged in pushing their electric, hybrid, diesel-powered and even natural-gas and hydrogen-fueled current and future models as a material priority for their businesses. But by now they assume their customers and the rest of the industry understand that, and there's not much to be gained by touting a "me-too" EV, for instance, even at the North American International Auto Show.Continue reading...