Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2013 05:24 PM
The question of adding brands has become a hot topic for auto companies these days as they revisit strategies from before the Great Recession. Fiat, Chrysler and Volkswagen are among car makers that have become bullish on new brands while General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Hyundai are among competitors that haven't moved in that direction.
It didn't seem that this would be an issue as recently as three years ago. GM famously shed Saturn, Saab, Hummer and Pontiac (a few years after killing Oldsmobile) as it shrank down for the 2009 bailout, while Ford finally deep-sixed Mercury after decades of keeping it on life support. Going lean with brand architecture, the thinking was, would be the future as automakers focused on globalizing product platforms and marketing to keep things simpler, more cost-efficient and, they argued, less confusing to consumers.
Though lately, some players have been throwing that logic out the window—seemingly to good effect.
Chrysler, for instance, spinned off Ram from Dodge, began adding Fiat to its brand stable in the U.S., created an SRT performance sub-brand and announced that, soon, Fiat will be bringing Alfa Romeo to the United States again. Meanwhile, it has been bulking up its other brands with new products, such as Jeep, which just announced that it is resurrecting the venerable Cherokee nameplate for 2014. Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on August 27, 2012 12:21 PM
Film: The Expendables 2
Brands/Products Spotted: 5
Standout Placement: Smart Car
Most Memorable Placement (positive): AA-12
Most Memorable Placement (negative): Smart Car
Overall Product Placement Integration Grade (1-10): 2
Comments: The stars, one-liners and action sequences aren't the only clichéd elements of The Expendables 2, which slaughtered the box office commotion for a second straight week. The product placement is just as imaginative and forward-thinking. That is, when it isn't blurred out. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 24, 2011 04:00 PM
This story is beginning to look familiar to fans of Smart, the original mainstream mini-car.
A troubled new-age automotive brand is counting on Roger Penske for a rescue after its big corporate owners decide they can’t cover the weaknesses of the marque anymore. Penske is all in. But then he decides to get all out.
Of course, that is the story of the end of the Saturn brand, which Penske Automotive Group looked set to buy from General Motors in 2009 before reversing course and allowing GM to kill Saturn as part of a federally mandated brand house-cleaning that also victimized Pontiac, Saab and Hummer.
Will this kind of brand history be repeated with Smart cars?Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2011 04:00 PM
Now that Chrysler today has cleared the decks of leftovers from last year by reporting a $199-million loss for 2010, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne can’t pivot fast enough to building Chrysler’s future.
And in doing so, the charismatic Fiat CEO is pursuing a two-pronged strategy: re-ingratiating Chrysler (funding a "Game On" blogger road trip to the Super Bowl, above) and its pre-existing brands with the American masses while re-introducing the Fiat brand, via the 500, to an upscale market.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 18, 2011 11:30 AM
A fixture of daytime TV is stepping down. Regis Philbin announced he is retiring from daytime television, and will step away from his 28-year-running talk show at the end of the summer. The former Who Wants to be a Millionaire host will no doubt continue his lucrative side-career as a pitchman. A few of his many endorsements, after the jump.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 9, 2010 01:00 PM
First it was bye-bye, Oldsmobile. Then General Motors deep-sixed the Saturn, Saab, Pontiac and Hummer brands as part of its cataclysmic government bailout last year.
And now, GM is kicking one more old friend to the curb: Mr. Goodwrench. As of early next year, the brand personification of GM service using “only genuine GM parts” will be gone from the U.S. automotive landscape, though Mr. G will maintain his residence north of the border in the Canadian market.
Sentimentality aside, the move makes sense if you’re Joel Ewanick, CMO of GM since spring. Ewanick has been doing everything he can to get consumers, and his colleagues, to focus on the company’s four vehicle brands – Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC – and nothing else.
GM’s fine care at the dealership level will now be rebadged as “Certified Service” under the name of each of those surviving brands. The change “is a natural extension of the customer’s vehicle purchase experience at the dealership,” said Steve Hill, GM’s vice president and general manager of Customer Care and Aftersales, in a statement.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 13, 2010 05:30 PM
Wal-Mart is focusing on smaller-format stores, bringing back "Action Alley" — wide aisles filled with palettes of discounted merchandise — and offering same-day pickup for online purchases in an effort to jumpstart sluggish U.S. sales.
Apple shares pass $300 for first time on promise of iPad, China expansion.
Bing is adding a social layer to its search results, with a little help from Facebook.
Bit.ly now generates QR codes in addition to short URLs.
Domino's unveils first new pizza since reformulating its recipe.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 25, 2010 11:30 AM
Look at things from the point of view of a Chrysler dealer, especially if they’ve been in business for a while. They survived the company’s brush with bankruptcy in the late Seventies, the K car, the company’s ill fit under Daimler-Benz, and last year’s bankruptcy, takeover by Fiat, and shakeout of Chrysler’s dealer ranks.
So it’s only natural that some are objecting to Fiat SpA’s plans to establish Fiat as yet a fifth brand in the Chrysler family, joining Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram trucks. At a time when even General Motors has eliminated some brands, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to go the direction of brand proliferation in the U.S. market. Chrysler needs new vehicles but not necessarily a new brand, some analysts believe.Continue reading...