Posted by Dale Buss on May 8, 2013 03:36 PM
Planned scarcity is a classic marketing trick for high-end goods. And if luxury fare isn't just difficult enough to get, then many of the most discriminating consumers don't want it anyway.
Ferrari's vehicles have been relatively inattainable forever largely by dint of their six-figure pricetags (and the brand unveiled a new, $1.3 million LaFerrari hybrid model at the Geneva auto show in March). But now Ferrari wants to make its goods even more exclusive by beginning to limit production. It's hoping a new tie-in with Apple will boost Ferrari's rarefied cachet even more.
The company plans to scale back sales to fewer than 7,000 vehicles this year to "maintain the exclusivity" of the brand. Ferrari sold 7,318 cars last year, and revenues so far this year have grown by about 4 percent over a year earlier.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 11, 2013 10:54 AM
At the Geneva Auto Show last week, global auto executives tacked warily between handwringing about the awful car market in Europe and cajoling praise for their latest upscale models.
At least Lamborghini and Ferrari don't have to worry about displaying any pretense of concern about the mainstream auto business in Europe. Instead, as the Geneva show opened to the public, the two brands were battling in their very rarefied niche for the attention only of the very, very rich.
To that end, Lamborghini has rolled out an "extremely exclusive" Veneno two-seater automobile whose speeds exceed 350 km/h and whose pre-tax price of 3 million Euros ($3.9 million) exceeds the pocketbook of just about everyone on the planet. That's why the Volkswagen Group-owned brand plans to build only three Venenos—and all are pre-sold. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2013 07:46 PM
Nissan executives are all juiced up about their decision to turn their NISMO motor-sports brand into a global marque and the imminent opening of a new research outpost in Silicon Valley.
But the United Auto Workers is reminding the company that the union may go to the ends of the earth itself in its long-term attempt to organize employees of Nissan's plants in the United States.
Union representatives on Wednesday traveled to the Geneva auto show to hound Nissan executives by passing out leaflets to the media hordes and by holding a press conference designed to embarrass the automaker on an important industry world stage.
"We want Nissan to stop intimidating workers from speaking in support of a union," Chip Wells, a worker at the Nissan assembly plant in Canton, Miss., said in a statement. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2013 02:17 PM
All the new sheet metal on display during the press-preview days at the Geneva Auto Show hasn't been able to outshine one big dull, sobering reality: The European auto market is still declining, and it won't recover anytime soon.
International auto shows typically are places where the excitement and optimism generated by all of the fresh concept cars and close-to-production models provide a can-do spirit and the sense of possilibity that dispel any gloom from the world outside the exhibit hall.
But not in Geneva; not this year. One car executive after another not only allowed as how the European auto-market recession would continue for awhile, but they said the current market has been getting worse.
Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2013 09:01 AM
Apple value dips as Google soars.
Facebook sued over bungled IPO.
HSBC, now Europe's biggest bank, sheds personal loan assets.
Carmakers at Geneva Auto Show express fears on European recovery.
AARP ramps up YouTube marketing.
Ally Financial says U.S. is probing its retail-financing practices.
Amazon launches first TV effort, for fashion unit; leads mobile retail sales.
American Suzuki gets OK of bankruptcy plan by U.S. court.
Baileys slims down its bottle.
BBC Worldwide reportedly in talks to sell Lonely Planet stake.
Best Buy and Facebook focus on next-generation mobile marketing.
Boeing expects to move fast to get Dreamliner back into the air after FAA approval of fixes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 1, 2013 07:22 PM
Even as European economies and the EU wrestle with the continent's slide back into recession, luxury auto brands are ready to show off at next week's Geneva auto show like there really is a tomorrow—at least for their upscale clients.
Alfa Romeo, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Land Rover, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Rolls Royce are among the premium marques that will be displaying new production and concept vehicles at the annual show, which ranks as Europe's most important stage for automotive style and innovation and one of the most important auto exhibits in the world each year.
Among the brands and their scheduled delights:
Alfa Romeo debuts its 4c small sports car after unveiling the concept at Geneva two years ago. The prospect of selling this new vehicle in the United States has got many Chrysler dealers sniffing out the possibility of adding the Alfa Romeo brand to their stable along with Fiat.
Audi will display a plug-in hybrid version of its A3 hatchback, known as the A3 e-tron, which will go on sale next year. Sibling brand Volkswagen, by the way, will show off the next-generation, sporty GTI hatchback that is supposed to go on sale later this year.
Bentley is supposed to show off its second-generation Flying Spur, which it says is faster, more powerful and more fuel-efficient than its current model, according to Automotive News.
Posted by Dale Buss on February 15, 2012 01:13 PM
As the time neared for Ford to unveil its new B-MAX compact car at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the most intriguing aspect of this vehicle — which reportedly is designed to replace the Ford Fiesta as a global model platform at some point — was the design of the rear doors. They are sliding doors that actually move the central pillar, known as the "B" pillar in the industry, when the doors slide back to open for rear passengers.
The biggest question was: How will B-MAX remain rigid and integral enough, with that structure, to satisfy both handling-stiffness and safety requirements? But now Ford has taken some of the focus off that question because it has moved up the introduction of B-MAX to February 27, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This will be the first automotive "reveal" at the signature global mobile-technology event.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 7, 2011 02:00 PM
"Renault is a human brand. We create cars for each chapter in life." That's Laurens van den Acker, the brand's SVP of design, explaining Renault's new design strategy (and the philosophy behind DeZir, Captur and R-Space) at the Geneva Auto Show, above.