start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2013 05:27 PM
With their racing heritage and ongoing participation in the sport, Mercedes-Benz and BMW know something about keeping close competitors in their rear-view mirrors. That's why it may take more than a new branding campaign for Lexus—which also races—to take back its US luxury-market leadership from its German rivals this year.
BMW took the American luxury-segment crown away from Lexus in 2011, when the Toyota-owned brand was dealing with short supplies after the earthquake and tsunmi in Japan, and the German brand has held on to it for the last two years. There's been a lot of speculation that Lexus might be able to regain the No. 1 spot in the segment this year because its supply situation is now fully resolved, and it's got some new products.
But that isn't happening—at least not yet. And actually, in April, Mercedes-Benz strengthened its 2013 lead over BMW in the segment, having finished in second place behind BMW for each of the last two full years. In April, the Mercedes brand widened its sales lead to nearly 4,700 vehicles for the year to date over BMW, with nearly 93,000 sold to BMW's more than 88,000.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 19, 2013 07:12 PM
Global automakers—including home-owned ones—will be showing off their wares at the press preview of the Shanghai Auto Show on Saturday. What they display will reflect the brands' various crucial strategies for stoking sales and market-share growth in the world's largest auto market, which is only getting bigger.
Analysts and auto executives alike have shown up in Shanghai predicting that the national market will balloon to 30 to 35 million vehicles within several years, or as much as a doubling of last year's sales of 19.3 million vehicles (in a year in which US sales were 14.5 million). That kind of expansion would make the Chinese market as big as the projected European and American markets put together.
"There's lots of competition here and everyone wants a piece of this pie," GM China President Bob Socia told Channel News Asia. "As competitive as it is, it's probably the only market in the world that offers the type of opportunities this market offers."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 28, 2013 06:32 PM
Because the Tri-State market is so demographically broad, automakers load up their car haulers for the New York International Show and bring every conceivable type of new vehicle—from inexpensive fresh production models to concept cars that would demand seven-figure prices if they were available—in an effort to leave no segment of the local market unturned and to impress the hordes of journalists who've assembled in the world media capital.
Given that the U.S. auto-sales recovery continues to gain some steam, it's no surprise that this year's show at the Javits Center has attracted one of the most impressive hauls of automotive hardware to the New York show that's been seen in several years.
Here's a brand-by-brand account of some of what news media have been seeing as the show prepares to open to the public:
Honda got tongues wagging this week with, of all things, a vacuum cleaner. HondaVAC debutes in the Touring Elite version of the 2014 Honda Odyssey as the brand ups the ante in the rolling-living-room segment. The device was developed with Shop-Vac and is comprised of a powerful vacuum, replaceable filter and canister bag with nozzle accessories neatly integrated into a dedicated space on the driver's side bulkhead of the rear cargo area, Honda explained.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 21, 2013 10:16 AM
Luxury is back at the forefront of fashion and lifestyle despite the still shaky worldwide economy.
Findings from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend, show gains in brand equity across 155 categories from auto makers to department stores across three key criteria: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration.
"This may show that after a number of years spent tightening their belts, consumers are looking to the quality and value they feel these brands provide,” said Aron Galonsky, SVP Brand and Communication Consulting at Harris Interactive.
Mercedes-Benz took top honors in the Luxury Automotive brand category for the third consecutive year, with Acura (which takes on uber-luxury in its latest US TV commercial, below), Audi, BMW, Infiniti and Land Rover receiving their highest scores ever. Harley-Davidson got its highest score in the study's 25-year history regaining top spot as Motorcycle Brand of the Year.Continue reading...
sports in the spotlight
Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2013 06:46 PM
Beginning Sunday with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament selection show on CBS, March Madness will get a grip on America. And that's the cue once again for a number of prominent brands to try to get a grip on March Madness fans.
Among brands that will be either sponsoring March Madness telecasts or advertising heavily during the next few weeks on the broadcast and cable networks that carry the 68-team tournament are Buick, Acura, Dove Men+Care and ING.
"The goal with March Madness advertising is reaching that core target and gaining prestige with them by associating with a prestigious event, as well as reaching next-generation fans and that passion of the recent graduate," Gary Robinson, manager of advertising and brand for Acura in the U.S., told brandchannel.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 12, 2013 10:31 AM
"Whenever Stark hangs up his suit, the technically-adept billionaire can be seen in the film behind the wheel of the all-electric R8 e-tron sports car prototype," reads the Audi press release announcing the brand's partnership with the upcoming Iron Man 3.
Iron Man's alter ego, Tony Stark, was last seen driving an Acura NSX roadster in 2012's The Avengers. In Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010), Stark drove Audi R8s. A spokesman at Acura's parent company, Honda, told Bloomberg that its role as the official vehicle of SHIELD (and the brand's relationship with Marvel) remain "unchanged."
"This is a strategic collaboration for us," said Loren Angelo, a marketing executive with Audi of America. "Similar to the position of the R8 as an innovation leader, Iron Man's character consistently evolved throughout the trilogy as he masterminds new trends."
In addition to swapping Stark's Acura for an Audi S7 in the third installment, Audi's Iron Man 3 deal will go beyond the R8 e-tron.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2013 07:22 PM
The good news for Detroit's three automakers is that Chevrolet and GMC managed to get some of their new models recommended by the influential Consumer Reports. The bad news is that just about every other brand fielded by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler is still placed near the bottom in the magazine's new rankings of the best light vehicles on the market.
Just like every year, the new rankings—listed in the April 2013 issue of Consumer Reports—finds that Japanese brands, especially those made by Toyota, continue to dominate. Toyota landed three of the top seven spots, with Lexus as CR's best overall brand as well as Toyota at No. 4 and Scion at No. 7.
Subaru and Mazda finished second and third while Acura and Honda finished fifth and sixth. Audi led its German rivals to finish No. 8, followed by Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz to round out the top 10. Continue reading...