Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 09:15 AM
Apple sells largest corporate-bond offer in history.
Monster sues to halt effort to curb energy drinks.
Twitter opens up self-serve ad platform to all businesses.
Chrysler Group auto sales rose 11 percent in April; Ram truck sales were up 49 percent.
Coda Holdings electric-vehicle maker files for bankruptcy.
College Football Playoff unveils new (and quite boring) logo.
Domino's results ride pan pizza wave.
Fisker Automotive fell apart because it sought too much, too fast.
Ford says sales of Lincoln MKZ have shaken off supply and launch problems.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 30, 2013 10:20 AM
Chrysler knows a thing or two about how to coax an emotional response out of American consumers. Exhibit No. 1: The now-iconic "Born of Fire" TV ad during the Super Bowl game some 25 months ago, starring Eminem and the Chrysler 200. It and the "Imported From Detroit" campaign it introduced nearly singlehandedly rescued the Chrysler brand from the scrap heap.
Now, Chrysler is angling for would-be Exhibit No. 2: The evocative "Farmer" ad that it ran on behalf of Ram trucks during the Super Bowl in February. There's already evidence of a medium-term impact from the ad and the attention that was paid to it in the game's aftermath: Through April 1, sales of Ram pickups were up 15 percent year-over-year in the US, to 77,594 units. And that included a 26 percent gain in March over 2012 and a 3 percent increase in February over a year ago.
April sales figures will be released on Wednesday.
Olivier Francois, Chrysler's CMO, insisted that the spot and follow-up actions by Chrysler to mark what it calls "the year of the farmer" are persuading Ford, GM, Toyota and Nissan customers to consider Ram trucks too. "I receive letters every day from loyal customers of the competition thanking us for doing that spot and saying that they are considering the Ram," Francois told Automotive News.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2013 09:59 AM
Coca-Cola posts lower net and unveils U.S.-bottler deal.
JCPenney buys time with credit line.
Twitter seeks deals with NBC and Viacom for high-quality video content.
A&W plans to move upscale and test fast-casual concept.
Amazon targets older consumers with new store.
Apple dominates in best-paid executives as board retains Jobs deputies.
BMW will debut EV brand Zinoro in China in early 2014.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 2, 2013 03:34 PM
The hits keep on coming for Chrysler, which reported a 5-percent sales increase for March over a year earlier. Its Dart compact is selling better; it just wrapped up the successful sale of a limited-edition Detroit Red Wings version of its Ram 1500 pickup; it debuted a revamped Jeep Cherokee at the New York Auto Show; and it's nurturing a boost in interest for the Motown Edition of its Chrysler 300 sedan in the walkup to the April 14 premier of Motown the Musical on Broadway.
Chrysler just reported its best monthly sales since December 2007, before its spiral into bankruptcy and rescue by Fiat and the U.S. taxpayer. Sales of Ram pickups were up 24 percent in March, reflecting the appeal of the new Ram model and an uptick in the housing sector. Jeep sales boomed by 27 percent, while Dodge brand sales rose by 15 percent.Continue reading...
start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on April 1, 2013 03:02 PM
No part of the automotive business is more important than the pickup-truck segment, where the biggest profits are made by each of Detroit's Big Three automakers. It's also a crucial time for pickup-truck sales because they're the vehicle of choice for the construction contractors who are finally benefiting from a significant bounceback in the U.S. housing market.
But there was another reason that General Motors made a big deal on Monday of the announcement of first mileage specifications for versions of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups that are due out this spring: It gave GM a chance to tweak arch-rival Ford on the issue of fuel economy, which is increasingly important to American truck buyers.
GM said that the Silverado and Sierra version that is expected to be by far the most popular configuration—a crew-cab truck with an 5.3-liter EcoTec3, eight-cylinder engine—will offer better mileage than directly competitive V8 models and will even barely beat out a version of the 2013 Ford F-150 pickup with a six-cylinder EcoBoost engine.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2013 04:43 PM
General Motors brands and Lexus were the big winners when J.D. Power & Associates announced its highly regarded annual awards for dealership-customer satisfaction based on its survey of thousands of American automotive consumers.
Three GM brands—led by GMC, and also including No. 3 Buick and No. 4 Chevrolet—placed in the top five in Power's prestigious designation. No. 2 Mini and No. 5 Volkswagen rounded out the top five. Three Chrysler Group brands—Jeep, Ram and Dodge—finished at the bottom.
In the luxury arena, Lexus once again won the day—for the fifth straight year—followed by yet another GM brand, Cadillac; Jaguar; Acura; and Infiniti. BMW and Mercedes-Benz placed below average, while Land Rover gained the most of any luxury brand from last year.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 4, 2013 10:16 AM
And so God created spin.
Get ready for the coming announcements that Ram's much touted "God Made a Farmer" ad and subsequent "farmer" campaign led to sales success for the flagging brand. There is likely to be more pieces with headlines like this one: "Chrysler Ram's farmer strategy pays off." But don't be fooled. Ram's strategy has no more paid off than the ad's narrator, Paul Harvey, knew about farming. Continue reading...
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...