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 Dale Buss on February 25, 2014 09:23 AM
LinkedIn launches China site despite risk of censorship.
Taco Bell rolls out breakfast nationwide.
Facebook drops unpopular email service.
Avaya hopes payoff from Olympics is just beginning.
Bitcoin plunges as major exchange goes dark.
BlackBerry launches sub-$200 phone aimed at Asia that is manufactured by Foxconn.
Conde Nast's Self magazine launches frozen foods line.
Einstein Noah sees CEO resign.
Ford readies smaller Focus engine in fuel-efficiency drive.
JCPenney plans to break new marketing campaign during Oscars.
JPMorgan Chase cuts thousands more jobs.
Jack Daniel's enlists Frank Sinatra.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 24, 2014 12:52 PM
Auto brands are sure to make lots of news in the connected-car space at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, but the biggest news in the field already seems to be out: Ford is ditching Microsoft for BlackBerry's QNX in Sync, its in-car infotainment system.
According to Bloomberg, Ford is going to base the next-generation Sync system on the QNX software that BlackBerry acquired when it bought QNX Software Systems in 2010. Using QNX will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system, the publication said.
Sure, BlackBerry, the parent company and brand, are troubled in the cutthroat mobile technology industry, but QNX remains vital in the exploding auto-mobility business. For instance, at the Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm and QNX are demonstrating a Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG that has been modified to showcase the latest features of Qualcomm's Snapdragon connectivity system.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2013 11:36 AM
Ford has learned a lot about social media marketing since launching the Fiesta Movement with 100 bloggers in 2009. Now the brand is applying all of that to its latest social iteration, "The Rider Challenge," an online reality-competition show that Ford is sponsoring with Live Nation Entertainment to help launch the 2014 Fiesta subcompact.
This time, though, Ford is asking its new crop of 100 bloggers and other "agents" to glean more insights from actual Ford customers and other consumers about the new Fiesta and then echo some of those throughout the bloggers' own sites.
"We're getting insights from agents' fans and followers, verbatims about what [consumers] think of Ford and the Fiesta—people who have actually raised their hands with interest in the car," Crystal Worthem, manager of band content and alliances for Ford, told brandchannel. "We'll be able to measure sales matches on them as well."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 23, 2013 11:34 AM
Ford's emphasis on social media marketing for its Fiesta subcompact is paying off in a somewhat surprising way: The brand was able to declare this week that Ford has enjoyed the fastest retail-sales growth of any auto brand in the US among the highly sought but stubborn Millennial demographic over the last four years.
Ditto in a sense for Chevrolet which, while without making claims versus the competition, noted that it continues to gain share of Millennial buyers with its own small cars, including not only the Sonic competitor to Fiesta but also the larger Chevrolet Cruze and even smaller Chevy Spark.
Ford posted a whopping 80 percent increase in sales among shoppers ages 18 through 34 in the first half of this year compared with the first half of 2009, according to R.L. Polk registration data, while the industry overall increased by only 35 percent.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 7, 2013 01:37 PM
Every automaker is formulating its own answer for success in the most competitive segment in the global automotive business: small cars. They're constantly tinkering with styling, pricing, interior refinements, financing programs and marketing as the number of vehicles in the category continue to proliferate.
But Toyota, seeking to extend the recent rebuilding of its mojo, just wants to blow the competition away with a fresh entry that is formidably better than its old entry. That car, Toyota says, is the newly redesigned and completely rethought Corolla, which over its nearly half-century in the market has compiled nearly 40 million sales worldwide and has become the globe's best-selling nameplate.
"The 11th-generation Corolla is a dramatically styled, sleeker, more dynamic Corolla that will change consumer perceptions of the iconic compact," Toyota blared matter-of-factly in a news release. The 2014 Corolla "will elevate the consumer's experience for the world's most popular sedan with modern, expressive styling, a more premium interior experience, improved fuel economy and performance, and a strong menu of available features."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2013 03:38 PM
Just as the conventional wisdom in the auto industry used to be that Toyota's quality always would be unparalleled, the thought has been that Ford would never catch General Motors in US sales volume.
But these days, just as Toyota's grip on the quality crown is being threatened by some other auto makers, Ford has come within a whisper of beating GM in sales. In May, on the strength of a 14 percent year-over-year sales gain, Ford came within 6,000 units of besting its long-time larger rival in US sales, as GM posted just a 3 percent relative gain.
"It's not necessarily saying that GM's performance was bad, becasue it wasn't," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmuncs.com, according to The New York Times. "It was just that Ford was better. Ford has a balance in their portfolio, while GM is a little more hit or miss."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2013 07:30 PM
Ford is facing a lawsuit that threatens to tarnish the carefully nurtured image of its EcoBoost engines as a way to get big improvements in fuel efficiency without giving up driving performance.
Some Ford owners in Ohio alleged in a suit filed in federal court in Columbus that Ford vehicles containing the 3.5-liter, V6 EcoBoost engine are "subject to sudden shuddering, shaking, rapid loss of power, and inappropriate transition to limp mode." The allegations echo complaints that Ford addressed last year in a non-public bulletin to dealers and by making changes on its engine assembly line.
At the same time, there are more reports from reviewers who maintain that EcoBoost engines don't deliver their promised fuel efficiency in real-world driving performance.Continue reading...