brand challenges

Barra Cleans House at GM, Vows to "Do the Right Thing" Following Recall Report

Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2014 12:23 PM

In what could amount to one of history’s biggest episodes of bloodletting by a major corporation, General Motors CEO Mary Barra dismissed 15 employees—including at least eight senior executives—in the ignition switch recall debacle.

And no doubt hoping as much as dictating, Barra pronounced an end to “the personnel issues in this matter” as she addressed GM employees today in a global town hall about her actions. The move comes after Barra received the final report from the investigation she commissioned by former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas.

After combing through 41 million documents, he found what Barra called “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” that led to 11 years of delays in recalling millions of cars for the ignition switch defect that killed at least 13 motorists—and has swallowed up Barra’s new tenure since early this year.Continue reading...


Car Buyers Drive Around Recall Bumps as GM Sales Show No Slowing Down

Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2014 05:11 PM

Anticipate the next bump in the road for GM in its recall crisis on Thursday, when the company’s special investigator, former US attorney Anton Valukas, is expected to name executives, employees and departments within the company that shared responsibility for its failed safety recall enforcement and communications debacle.

But as for American car buyers, they seem just as likely to ignore tomorrow’s news as they have all of the publicity about the safety recall fiasco for the past few months. 

GM’s sales in May, reported yesterday, grew by 13 percent in the US market over last May, a healthy increase that was in the top tier of all brands reporting on monthly results in a still-strong auto sales recovery. And while GM’s retail sales increased only 10 percent (with a 21 percent boost in fleet sales accounting for the rest of the rise), the double-digit increase was a healthy sign that the recall woes aren’t translating into a big barrier for getting customers into Chevrolet, Buick/GMC and Cadillac showrooms.

That’s a remarkable achievement for a company that has endured a three-month run of awful publicity (and a $35 million fine) for its untimely ignition recall that is responsible for at least 13 deaths—an occurrence that has few equals in the annals of corporate reputation-wrecking except maybe Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol era.Continue reading...


Tesla and Prius Leave Others in the Dust as Hybrid Trend Falls Off

Posted by Dale Buss on May 19, 2014 05:12 PM

Electrified vehicles may—eventually—become the future of automotive transportation, but EVs actually seem to be slowing down in a takeover that many still believe is inevitable. In fact, except for Tesla and Prius, no hybrid or EV brand has really proven itself, and many remain in trouble or may become stillborn.

Because of Tesla’s success with its $70,000 Model S all-electric vehicle, traditional premium car marques believe there’s enough of a market at the top end for their own growing incursions into EVs to be worth the risk. BMW, for example, continues to grease the skids for the introduction of two electrified vehicles this year.

This month, BMW is rolling out its i3 city car, an extremely light-weight, small entrant that is available in an all-electric version or, for those afflicted by range anxiety, in a version with a small onboard gasoline engine. And later this year comes the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, which it will position as a worthy rival to the Tesla Model S—even though the latter is fully electric while the i8 won’t be. 

BMW is using an extension of its DriveNow car-sharing program in the San Francisco Bay area, which competes with Zipcar and other car-sharing services, to promote its EV lineup by injecting the program's available car lineup with a few dozen new ActiveE electric cars.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: AT&T, Coca-Cola, Google and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 13, 2014 09:39 AM


Brands to Watch

AT&T said to be in “advanced talks” to acquire DirecTV for $50 billion.

Coca-Cola increases stake in Keurig to become largest shareholder.

Google must delete some sensitive information if asked, Europe rules.

FCC Chairman will revise net-neutrality rules to prevent “fast lanes” as activist campaign ramps up.

Forever 21 dives deeper into cheap, trendy clothes with new F21 Red retail concept.


Audi makes London showroom a tech-rich showpiece for brand.

Chrysler posts huge net loss after costs of completing merger with Fiat.

Cisco launches connected billboard in San Francisco.

Credit Suisse could be facing fines of $2 billion for helping US residents avoid taxes.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News You Can Use: AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola, News Corp. and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2014 09:14 AM


Brands to Watch

Apple, Facebook lead Big Tech brands fighting data requests as White House panel calls for big data reforms to protect privacy.

AstraZeneca rejects raised bid by Pfizer as "inadequate."

Avon reaches settlement of bribery probe.

Bayer eyes Merck’s OTC consumer business.

Burberry officially has a new CEO in Christopher Bailey as Angela Ahrendts takes retail reins at Apple.

Coca-Cola pressured by Warren Buffett on executive pay.

Exxon sticks with Russia drilling despite geopolitical tensions.

Fiat faces tough turnaround in Europe.

GM recalls 50,000 Cadillac SUVs, returns to bankruptcy court to fend off suits.

News Corp. acquires Harlequin Books for HarperCollins.

Below, news on brand innovation, culture, and more:Continue reading...

Geneva Auto Show Spotlights New Roles for Some Familiar Auto Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on March 3, 2014 05:33 PM

Just as the European auto market is shaking off years of rust, the Geneva International Motor Show once again is showing the continent some new goodies for when the time comes that everyone can afford a new automobile again.

Among the most interesting new vehicles being revealed this week is the Jeep Renegade subcompact SUV. It turns out that US presidential candidate Mitt Romney was only half right when he worried about overseas production of Jeeps during the 2012 campaign; he was fretting about China, but these new Jeeps will be "offshored" to Melfi, Italy, and assembled on a Fiat line with a new sibling Fiat model, the 500X.

The vehicle that helped GI Joe subdue the Axis, including Italy—is being built in Italy? That's right. Partly because of its assisting role in winning World War II, Jeep long has been one of the most "patriotic" auto brands in America. But with Chrysler now being controlled by Fiat, it's a new day in lots of ways.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: PepsiCo, Dell, Newsweek and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 3, 2014 09:14 AM

In the News

PepsiCo exec slams Nelson Peltz for financial criticism as Pepsi Max "Test Drive 2" pulls four million viewers in two hours.

Dell goes back to B2B roots with latest campaign.

Newsweek restarts printing presses. 

12 Years a Slave takes Best Picture at Oscars for Fox Searchlight.

AmEx focuses on busy-mom market with new rewards card pitched by Tina Fey. 

Audi risks wan presence at Geneva Motor Show as BMW recovers.

Boston Market reduces sodium in core items.

Cadillac makes a splash at the Geneva Motor Show.

Chrysler exceeds estimates with February sales increase.

Forbes is being eyed by foreign buyers.

Foursquare, GroupMe bow out of SXSW. 

GM braces for recall fallout.Continue reading...

Consumer Reports Creates More Turmoil in Auto Hierarchy, But Lexus is Still Tops

Posted by Dale Buss on February 25, 2014 04:02 PM

Consumer Reports' closely watched rankings of auto brands and top vehicles are out for 2014. And while Japanese brands remain on top, the annual evaluations once again are providing an illustration of major automakers increasingly clustering together in how their vehicles are regarded by consumers.

Japanese automakers captured 7 of the top 10 ranked brands overall for reliability and road-test performance in the tests conducted by the magazine. And the top-ranked Detroit brands, Buick and GMC, could do no better than tie to rank 12th.

Yet in the magazine's separate list of Top Picks in each vehicle segment, Japanese brands took only five of the top 18 spots, the fewest in the 18-year history of the publication's picks. Japanese brands had taken more than 70 percent of those spots since 1997.Continue reading...

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