Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2013 05:46 PM
Volkswagen has been pounding the drum for clean-diesel power so vigorously for a while that it's an interesting change-up these days when company and brand executives are promoting other green technologies.
So while Volkswagen of America executives have been pushing the company's clean-diesel TDI versions in comments to the automotive press and lobbying in Washington, D.C., among other places, it's been a somewhat different story at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. About half the cars bought by Europeans are diesel-powered, of course, so the technology isn't very new to them.
But the idea of investing more heavily in electric and hybrid vehicles is only now catching on with Volkswagen and its German automotive rivals. And VW CEO Martin Winterkorn gave EVs and hybrids the company's biggest rhetorical backing ever at the show, promising that 14 models from several VW Group brands will be offered worldwide as EVs or some form of hybrid by 2014, according to the Detroit News.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2013 11:52 AM
Two topics have dominated industry chatter at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week: When will the European market begin recovering? And what's with all the new SUVs that are on display at the show?
Oh, and 'Where's Waldo?' Or, rather, why did Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne abruptly cancel his planned appearances at the show?
There are signs that sales in Europe at least have flattened out. But while UK car sales rose in August by 11 percent in their 18th consecutive month of growth, that has been a contrast to Germany, France, Italy and Spain, all of which have continued to suffer sales declines.
"Clearly, Europe still has a long way to recover," Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America Group, told brandchannel. "Eastern and Central Europe are showing a few more signs of rebound, but they're still relatively weak."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 9, 2013 09:35 AM
Nissan unveils its own smartwatch.
IKEA no longer ranks as Sweden's most trusted brand.
BMW eclipses rivals at Frankfurt Auto Show with three-level test track.
Apple readies to announce two new iPhones tomorrow.
Audi sees global sales rise 10 percent in August.
Clorox spoofs Real Housewives as "green" sales miss mark.
Daimler joins parade by aiming to launch self-driving car by 2020.
Deutsche Bank launches customer service channels on Facebook, Twitter.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne cancels two media appearances at Frankfurt Auto Show.
Holiday Inn Express debuts first ever European ad campaign.
Instagram will introduce ads within a year, reports say.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2013 02:51 PM
Audi plans to kick up the volume around its clean-diesel TDI models in time for the kickoff of the National Football League season. Reinforcing its recent focus on boosting regulatory treatment of clean-diesel power with promotional activities in Washington, D.C., the Volkswagen-owned luxury brand has launched a new TV-advertising campaign hailing the benefits of its rapidly expanding line of TDI—for Turbo Direct Injection—models in the US market.
In the first spot, "The Station," a woman at a fueling station reaches for the diesel pump to fill up her Audi A6. In dramatic fashion, unsuspecting onlookers race toward her because they can't imagine that such a cool car is in fact a diesel. The spot ends with the tagline, "It's time to rethink diesel—join the club." The spot will appear on Sunday Night Football, which is America's highest-rated program while it's running, and other major primetime and cable-TV properties.
The effort is meant to raise awareness about Audi's expanding lineup of clean-diesel options and to let Americans know that, in addition to big fuel-economy benefits, this particular "green" technology also brings some performance benefits, especially in the form of extra torque, and how far a carload can travel on just one tank of diesel fuel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 3, 2013 05:36 PM
Some luxury auto brands tack back and forth between exclusivity and accessibility, depending on the needs of the moment, their long-term strategies or a combination of both. Mercedes-Benz, for example, is about to introduce its low-end new CLA sedan in an attempt to open itself up to aspirational—but not necessarily high-net-worth—Millennials.
Now Cadillac seems to be taking a page from the same playbook with a new fall campaign under the theme "Work Hard. Be Lucky," according to Advertising Age, the first work by its new ad agency, Rogue.
"The messaging will lean on American values, such as the notion that everyone can create his or her own destiny," the publication said. "Cadillac will be painted as a more-accessible car than it has been."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2013 12:48 PM
Nissan stepped up and became the first automaker to vow to deliver a market-ready "self-driving" car by a date certain: 2020. An executive promised the company would be "ready to bring multiple affordable, energy-efficient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market" by then.
But will Nissan have a problem meeting this goal as it has for delivering predicted sales volumes of its Leaf all-electric vehicle? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, rivals are likely to begin setting their own public timetables for launching self-driving vehicles.
One thing is for sure even at this point: Automakers themselves have stepped up recently and have begun taking control of a much greater share of the discussion and development of self-driving cars, an idea once dominated by Google with its tests of autonomous vehicles.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2013 10:43 AM
China's luxury auto segment has been slowing, but the world's largest auto market still is beckoning as a No. 1 priority to any serious premium brand. And increasingly, China's own luxury carmakers are targeting the rest of the world with their own wares.
Mercedes-Benz, for instance, has outlined a turnaround plan for China where it badly trails its chief rivals, Audi and BMW. Mercedes plans to launch about 20 new or upgraded models in China over the next two years and also vows to greatly boost domestic manufacturing in China, which avoids a slew of expensive tariffs and taxes that are levied on imported cars.
Meanwhile, Geely, the Chinese company that acquired Volvo, plans to take the bold step of exporting cars that it jointly develops with the Swedish brand to the United States in 2016. That step would come a decade after the company first expressed such a goal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 26, 2013 12:39 PM
The forces of diesel are getting more aggressive, both in the marketplace and inside the Beltway. GM is indicating that it will stretch its growing diesel franchise to its new light pickup trucks, while Volkswagen Group of America is begining to pressure politicians and regulators in Washington, D.C., to grant clean-diesel power the same favorable tax and policy treatment as other "green" propulsion options.
Chevrolet already has fielded a diesel version of its popular Cruze compact car. And now, Automotive News learned, GM plans a diesel for the next-generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-sized pickups, employing a version of a four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that GM already is using to power Colorado in overseas markets. Sources told the magazine that the diesel option would be added about a year after the fall 2014 launch of the redesigned trucks.
That's also about when Nissan plans to introduce a version of its full-size Titan pickup truck and Chrysler plans to launch a diesel-powered version of its regular-duty Ram 1500 truck, each with a different Cummins-made diesel engine.Continue reading...