Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 01:49 PM
In hindsight, it's obvious that Mercedes-Benz left little to chance in its determination to wrest the US luxury-auto-sales crown from BMW this year. And now—benefiting from just-in-time launch of a hot new vehicle, from new dealership sales tactics, and even a little feint from the CEO—the brand is less than a month from confirming its victory.
Mercedes-Benz extended its US sales lead over BMW for the year to more than 7,600 vehicles after both luxury marques reported November sales this week, a huge tack-on from a lead of less than 5,000 vehicles at the end of October. More than likely the lead will be even bigger by the end of this month, a busy one in the premium segment anyway with by-now-traditional year-end promotional pushes.
No doubt the biggest factor in Mercedes' ability to take the crown from BMW after the latter's two-year reign will prove to be great reception by American consumers and fantastic timing for the September launch of CLA-Class, an entry-level luxury sedan with starting prices under $30,000 that appeared in a segment where demand is growing but there hasn't been much available.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 09:18 AM
Snapchat hires away Emily White, Instagram's ad exec, to be company COO.
Mercedes-Benz CLA comes through and cements US sales lead over BMW.
Newsweek plans return to print.
Applebee's rolls out tablets nationwide.
Benetton rises above Levi's to become India's top international fashion brand.
BJ's Wholesale Club owners express interest in buying Hess gas stations.
Boeing tantalizes states with 777x production.
China issues 4G mobile licenses to country's three main telecom companies.
Drake announces partnership with Nike's Jordan brand.
Greenpeace makes Christmas a downer with Santa reporting from melting Arctic.
JCPenney finally reports comp-sales increase.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2013 09:13 AM
Amazon finds sales-tax challenge rejected by US Supreme Court as it opens holiday pop-up shops in malls across America.
Facebook adds more "news" to news feed as site proves its worth to CPG marketers.
Chrysler posts 16 percent rise in November sales.
Apple buys Twitter-data tool.
Audi seeks edge over BMW in high-tech headlights.
BP could be spared hundreds of millions by court ruling.
Canon connects consumers with Santa.
Constellation Brands is alleged to mislead on US beer prices.
Cyber Monday blew past $2 billion in online sales.
Dow Chemical launches margin-boosting makeover and considers name change.
Enterprise launches loyalty points-doubling promotion.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 09:33 AM
American holiday shoppers produced gloomy numbers for retailing's big weekend.
Saab rolls out first sedan under new owners.
Zappos taps former Vogue editor, Andre Leon Tulley, to be artistic director for its couture section.
Amazon floats idea of delivery drones.
Apple's iPhone 5S outsold the 5C three to one in the UK.
Bank of America to pay Freddie Mac $404 million.
BMW and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen will review small-engine alliance.
Burger King imitates Big Mac with Big King.
Chrysler boosts test-drive marketing.
Cracker Barrel sees new healthful menu drive sales.
Esprit plans to launch new fashion brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 22, 2013 02:52 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: Bloomberg blunder… Tesco's turtle headache… more marketing "freedom"… back to 1989's KFC Shanghai… Mercedes sales… alternative fuel… "lifestyle cities"… Sony… L'Oreal… e-commerce meets m-commerce… "China's Oscars" get branded… Guangzhou Auto Show… and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2013 03:57 PM
When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recruited Johan de Nysschen to head the Infiniti brand last year, he wanted his new recruit to accomplish much the same for Nissan's luxury brand as de Nysschen had done in turning around the fortunes of Audi in the US market. Only Ghosn wanted it done on a global basis.
Some of the results of de Nysschen's disruptive new strategy have become evident now, as Infiniti newly targets both China and its home country of Japan as it attempts to achieve Ghosn's target of 10 percent of the world premium market by 2020.
In China, de Nysschen told Bloomberg, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and his old employer, Audi, "have become so successful that they've become almost a little bit ubiquitous. They're everywhere. And this is where we see a big opportunity with this new emerging premium consumer, to offer them an alternative, reinvent the notion of exclusivity."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2013 12:42 PM
California always has been the most important US auto market, but the Golden State now is beckoning in significant new ways. And auto brands are trying to address all of them as the media preview and then public exhibition near at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Tokyo is running its own biennial Motor Show this year almost in parallel with LA's, but the annual California platform is of greater overall interest to the global industry— especially to the Detroit Three carmakers, each of whose fortunes has picked up lately in the bellwhether state market. In fact, none of them are appearing at the Tokyo Show.
California also has taken on greater importance as the world's premier market for electric vehicles and other "green" auto technologies, both because of the early-adopter mentality of Californians and because of the state's stiffest-anywhere emissions laws, both of which compel carmakers to debut their most advanced vehicles there first. As the home of Silicon Valley, California also is taking on a greater role as automakers increasingly outfit vehicles with digital mobile technologies.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 10:49 AM
As recently as five years ago, Toyota was the unchallenged 800-pound gorilla of the global automotive business. Now after a few years that disproved its invincibility, the company finally looks menacing again to its competitors.
The company posted a 70 percent increase in third-quarter profit and once again is the world's largest car maker by number of vehicles sold, pushing 10 million units a year—a level no company yet has reached. It arguably finally has put behind it the series of crises that enveloped the company beginning in 2008, including the Great Recession, pricey yen, a recall and safety scandal, and some boring products.
And now, while he won't quite shout it from the top of a Tokyo skyscraper, President Akio Toyoda—grandson of the founder—has made it clear that Toyota "is finally ready to go on the offensive again," as Automotive News put it. At this point, the New York Times pointed out, Toyota clearly is ahead of Japan-based rivals Nissan and Honda in its recovery and growth.Continue reading...