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 Shirley Brady on November 22, 2011 08:55 AM
AIG's former CEO, Hank Greenberg, sues U.S. government and Federal Reserve Bank for $25 billion over takeover.
Bill Gates testifies in Novell suit vs. Microsoft.
Cadbury's trademarks its distinctive shade of purple.
David Beckham's legacy starts to be assessed as Los Angeles Galaxy ending looms and Paris beckons.
Donald Trump estimates the Trump name's worth at $3 billion.
eBay buys Hunch to help discern individuals' taste.
GE expands to Iraq.
GM retools former Saturn site and prepares to manufacture China autos in Egypt.
HP reports spending $3.3 billion on WebOS as Meg Whitman sets course for turnaround.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 February 17, 2011 11:00 AM
Despite what eBay says, most people hate buying cars.
It’s not just a matter of the huge financial stakes that are typically involved – it's typically their second-largest purchase, after a house. It’s also a perception problem, and the fact that auto salespeople can make you feel like you’ve been taken, even when you haven’t.
Fiat wants to save buyers of its new 500 model from all that unpleasantness when the Italian-made curiosity begins landing on US shores in the coming weeks.Continue reading...
start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on February 15, 2011 06:00 PM
American consumers appear to be warming up to Chevrolet Volt, which is mostly an electric car without being all-electric.
So now, using similar logic, General Motors has created a new brand of almost-hybrid technology called eAssist that helps the internal-combustion engine rather than taking over for it at times, as regular hybrids do. Buick already appropriated eAssist for its 2012 LaCrosse, and GM just announced that its “light-electrification” system would be available on the 2012 Buick Regal as well. The new car is on display at the Chicago Auto Show this week.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 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 Barry Silverstein on July 28, 2010 01:00 PM
When GM announced it would first sell and then discontinue Saab, it was just another moniker like Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn that was to be tossed onto the brand scrap heap. But somehow, Saab survived where the others didn't. The brand is now staging a comeback, but is it too little, too late?Continue reading...