Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2012 02:38 PM
Mazda may be zigging with its decision to bet heavily on making more of its vehicles in Japan and exporting them in the nation's classic Japan Inc. way. But all of its Japanese rivals are zagging — and sinking unprecedented amounts into building up their manufacturing presence in North America, as the lofty yen gives them little choice but to do so for currency hedging.
The little automaker has declared that 90 percent of the output of its new CX-5 crossover, in Japan, will be aimed for export and that it can make a profit on sales to the U.S. even if the yen continues to appreciate against the dollar.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 25, 2012 07:07 PM
For a series of Batman movies that takes itself so seriously, it's a surprise to see it right there so prominent as one of only five menu items on the official The Dark Knight Rises website: "Imported From Gotham City."
The Dark Knight Rises has a number of other official partners. There is Nokia (remember them?) and No Fear (remember them?) and Mountain Dew, which features at the core of its tie-in "Sad Batman." But none of these brands even get a mention on the film's official website, let alone being featured on the site navigation.
It seems that the heavyweight "Imported from Detroit" campaign, which debuted with Eminem at the 2011 Super Bowl and was reborn with Clint Eastwood at the 2012 Super Bowl, is now so ingrained in the American psyche that it's worth lampooning. But the first rule of auto product placement is "be serious." Be so, so serious.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2012 02:02 PM
For the members of Generation Y who (hope they) have stable jobs and incomes and are (reasonably) confident about their financial future, Acura has a message: The brand has a car for you, the new "gateway" model ILX.
The Honda-owned luxury brand is debuting the all-new compact luxury sedan at a starting price of $25,900 with the expectation (and new messaging) that young Americans in their early thirties, with their act together and decent prospects, are going to gravitate to what Acura calls a true luxury car at an attainable entry-level price point.
"This car was specifically designed for these people because of what they've gone through," Mike Accavitti, Acura's U.S. CMO, told brandchannel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2012 05:33 PM
Auto-industry observers didn't have to wait long to find out what Johan de Nysschen was going to do after announcing on Friday that he was leaving the helm of Audi of America for another job, following a stellar six years of advancing the cause of the German premium brand in the U.S. market.
Today, Nissan announced that De Nysschen will become SVP of the Infiniti luxury brand worldwide. The 52-year-old De Nysschen will assume the post on July 1st and will be based at Infiniti's new global headquarters in Hong Kong.
"We have exciting and ambitious plans for improving the Infiniti brand including introducing new models in all markets where premium customer demand exists," stated De Nysschen's new boss, Nissan EVP Andy Palmer. The choice of De Nysschen to head the Infiniti brand is a savvy move.
Nissan's luxury marque has been faring OK over the last few years and got through the supply disruptions of last year in better shape than Toyota's Lexus or Honda's Acura brands. Infiniti introduced the new JX seven-passenger SUV this year, which has gotten off to a solid start, and Inifniti sales overall in the U.S. market are about 7 percent above a year earlier.Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2012 04:13 PM
It's the third year in a row that brand executives have worried about the "c" word — as in "confidence." Consumer confidence, to be exact.
In the wake of last week's tough U.S. jobs numbers for May, there's more discussion among brands whether the economy this year will follow the pattern of the last couple of years: a first-quarter strengthening followed by relative anemia in the following months.
Only this year, while the American economic recovery has at least seemed on track, brands are more worried about negative influences from abroad.
"The headwinds we face on both the top and bottom lines, such as austerity measures in Europe, higher commodity costs in the U.S., and slowing growth in Asia, do remain," Don Thompson, new CEO of McDonald's, told securities analysts last week, according to Nation's Restaurant News. "I'm confident in our ability to navigate these near-term headwinds, because we've faced these situations before."
Thompson told the analysts that McDonald's long-running Plan to Win best practices platform, established by his predecessor as CEO, Jim Skinner, will be up to the challenge of any softening in consumer confidence, using local innovations scaled across the company's entire global system, for instance.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 7, 2012 09:08 PM
Without a doubt, audiences walking out of The Avengers are going to remember seeing one brand among the many that pop up throughout the movie: Acura.
The automaker filled the film, literally start to finish, with its models. And it capped it all off with at the end with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony "Iron Man" Stark hopping into a new, attention-grabbing Acura NSX roadster — and straight onto the carpet at the movie's premiere.
In the product placement world, The Avengers tie-in is a bit of a coup for Acura, with Stark having preferred Audi R8s in both previous Iron Man films. But by providing only a concept car for its most high profile role ever, has Acura dropped the product placement ball?Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 7, 2012 02:28 PM
Film: The Avengers
Brands/Products Spotted: 18
Standout Placement: Acura's NSX concept car
Most Memorable Placement (positive): Acura
Most Memorable Placement (negative): Oracle
Overall Product Placement Integration Grade (1-10): 6
Comments: Acura is the big winner in Hollywood's new record-smashing #1 movie, produced by Marvel Studios with Paramount Pictures. In one scene, the heroic team runs off camera and the audience is left, for a moment, with the camera lingering, close up, on the backside of an Acura SUV (a militarized MDX). The big question is, will Iron Man 3 go back to his Audi A8? (Or maybe something more.... Chinese?)Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 4, 2012 12:02 PM
It's fitting that Honda's Facebook page is touting brand enthusiasts' stories, because the automaker is in the middle of its own comeback story. Yes, it finally seems good to be Honda again.
The brand posted April U.S. sales of 122,000 vehicles today, which was down by about 2 percent from a year ago in absolute-unit numbers. But on a "selling-day" average for the month, Honda sales were up 9 percent over a year ago.
Honda U.S. is now fully restocked with vehicles after last year's disasters, and many of its most important models are moving briskly again off of U.S. dealership floors. Even its long-suffering Acura luxury brand showed some spark during the month, with a 5-percent sales increase over last April.Continue reading...