Posted by Dale Buss on March 26, 2013 10:26 AM
Because nothing can be easy in New York, Nissan is still battling political headwinds as it plans to demonstrate the latest version of its upcoming taxi for Gotham at the city’s New York International Auto Show, whose press previews this week precede the public show at the Javits Center.
Complaints from advocates of the disabled already prompted Nissan to strike a partnership with wheelchair-van maker Braun Corp. to customize a wheelchair-accessible version of the new taxi, which will be based on Nissan’s new NV200 van. Nissan beat out Ford and a Turkish vehicle maker to win the $1 billion, 10-year contract.
But now the deal is the subject of a lawsuit by a taxi-management company and an association of New York cab companies alleging that the NV200-based taxi is untested in city cab duty and is too expensive, at $29,000—and Mayor Michael Bloomberg overstepped his authority in giving Nissan a monopoly.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...
Posted by Alicia Ciccone on March 20, 2013 09:15 AM
American Airlines defends $20-million severance pay to CEO.
Deutsche Bank forced to restate 2012 profits due to U.S. lawsuits.
Google will package and brand chat services as Babble.
T-Mobile readies "Uncarrier" no-contract pricing plan and proposed board structure, while AT&T introduces no-contract wireless phone service and Sprintlaunches de-branded Android smartphones.
7-Eleven sues 7-SEVEN chain for trademark infringement.
Apple brand found to be less "inspiring" than it was three years ago in new consumer survey.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 18, 2013 12:17 PM
Dragged down by a still-worsening automotive recession in their home continent, European automakers are pulling out all the stops in efforts to retain and create sales momentum—with some new initiatives in Europe and many in the still-growing markets outside of it. Meanwhile, Lexus is planning a global brand campaign in May as it finally puts a disastrous 2010 and 2011 behind it.
German automakers Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are jockeying not only to attempt to stay above the fray in a troubled European market but also to advance their individual designs on global supremacy. VW vows to become the world's top automaker in the next several years, while its Audi brand also is battling with BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand for worldwide luxury-sales leadership.
One possibility for Volkswagen is to add still more automotive brands to its existing stable of 12, CEO Martin Winterkorn said. Last year, VW completed its purchase of Porsche and added Italian motorcycle maker Ducati.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 14, 2013 09:08 AM
Google doubles size of Seattle-area campus as X Lab sparks interest, Android chief steps aside and loss of Google Reader upsets loyal users.
Time Inc. spinoff rattles employees.
Volkswagen warns of a tough year ahead and focuses on China.
Apple exec attacks Google, Android and Samsung on eve of Galaxy S4 introduction.
AMC Theaters seeing stellar results.
Amazon pares price of large-screen Kindle Fire HD.
American Express, Audi and Griffin's "get" social media, execs say.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 13, 2013 11:12 AM
For Audi, it's the best of times and the worst of times. It depends on whether you're talking about selling vehicles to Americans, Chinese—or Europeans.
Overall, Audi executives stated in a conference call detailing the company's 2012 performance and results on Tuesday, they're bullish as can be about beating the company's global vehicle sales record of 1.46 million last year and increasing deliveries to more than 2 million vehicles by 2020, with the aim of snatching the luxury-sales crown from rival BMW by that year. They also expect to reach 1.5 million annual sales worldwide earlier than their previous plan by 2015.
However, Europe stinks for selling cars right now as the continent sinks into recession and even luxury buyers are pressed. "Overall development in western Europe was recessive [last year] and economic output contracted," Audi CFO Axel Strotbek commented, according to Automotive News Europe.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 March 7, 2013 07:27 PM
Is the glass half-empty or half-full for the new Lincoln MKZ? It really doesn't matter—Lincoln dealers and many customers remain eager to get their hands on the short-of-supply MKZ as quickly as they can.
Still, there's the intriguing possibility that the current shortages of the first of the completely new line of Lincoln vehicles will end up enhancing Lincoln's brand equity, at least in the long run.
For now, Lincoln and MKZ clearly remain in a fix. After a months-long brand-repositioning effort that began last fall and has involved everything from Abraham Lincoln in TV commercials to dredging up of the old Lincoln Motor Company name for the division, Lincoln made a big and successful splash last month with a couple of Super Bowl commercials. Lincoln has followed that up with its buzz-worthy "Sound and Vision" project with Beck, re-imagining David Bowie in a sound-immersive concert facilitated with state-of-the art technology.