Auto Makers Roll Out More New Brands as Recovery Continues

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...

brand news

In the News: American Airlines, Comcast, Yahoo, Adidas and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 13, 2013 08:43 AM

In the News

American Airlines and US Airways finalize merger details.

Comcast buys balance of GE's stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion.

Yahoo CEO Mayer looks to focus mobile, expresses disappointment in Microsoft search deal.

Adidas will reveal Boost running innovation at New York event.

Apple CEO Cook feels brand's stores are too small; a Google payday might help.

Barclays CEO pressured to get moving on revamp.

BBC Worldwide appoints global editorial director.

Blockbuster UK closes 164 more stores.

Dior sees former designer John Galliano re-offend Jewish community.

Facebook eyes books, movies and TV content as Zuckerberg's full philanthropy revealed.

Ford assures dealers on Lincoln MKZ supplies.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Samsung, Sony and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 27, 2011 08:50 AM

In the News

Absolut launches gay pride campaign.

Amazon creates new name and URL for China.

Apple is 'sizzling' in Asia.

China moves to restrict social media and bloggers, which doesn't stop one NBA star.

Facebook to build server farm near Arctic Circle.

Google reveals massive spending spree.

Groupon culls its sales staff.

Iconix acquires Sharper Image brand.

Nokia's Lumia smartphone translates badly in Spanish.

Pontiac owners are staying loyal to GM.

Samsung granted expedited hearing against Galaxy Tab ban in Australia.

Sony buys Ericsson out of mobile phone venture.

Sprint needs billions to cover iPhone investment.

Warner Bros withholds films from Blockbustermatches Netflix and Redbox 28-day release window.

YouTube is preparing to launch celebrity and branded channels to promote original content.


Splat! Biff! Nike! Product Placement Comes to the Comics

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 17, 2011 03:00 PM

When most people read comic books, it’s an escape from reality. But to those in search of connecting with their own desirable demographic — specifically, guys in their 20s — that doesn’t mean a whole lot. And so, product placements have come to the comics world. And the advertisers involved are not small potatoes.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Marvel Entertainment has worked in the Nike swoosh onto a character’s T-shirt and on a car door in its books recent months. "We are always looking for new and interesting ways of connecting with our consumers," says Nate Tobecksen, a Nike spokesman, told the Journal. "This is certainly one of them."

DC Comics, which is owned by Time Warner, is releasing a new comic book, Rush City, in which the hero, The Rush, drives a Pontiac Solstice.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Apple Leads Brands Cringing Through the Casey Anthony Trial

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 9, 2011 12:30 PM

The sensational trial of Casey Anthony, the mother accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, has become the biggest media courtroom circus since O.J. It's also proving to be the most brand-laden trial since O.J. Simpson modeled gloves.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Brands Get a Jump on March Madness

Posted by Dale Buss on March 14, 2011 02:30 PM

It’s that time again. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins tomorrow, and brands are gearing up as never before, from official “corporate champions” to those that can suggest only the thinnest of possible connections between themselves and some sort of vernal activity.Continue reading...


As Smart Stalls, Is Penske the Black Widow of Auto Brands?

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...


Thanks for Your Service, Mr. Goodwrench

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...

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