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Isaac Mizrahi Woos Women to Wear, Then Drive, the 2013 Chevy Malibu

Posted by Dale Buss on October 18, 2012 05:52 PM

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney aren't the only ones who want the votes of women this fall: Chevrolet is also pursuing women for the new Malibu, and so the brand has enlisted designer Isaac Mizrahi to get some fashion-forward attention for a vehicle that hasn't been known for being on the cutting edge of couture.

Mizrahi has designed a preppy collection (in patriotic colors of red, white and blue) of Chevy Malibu-inspired clothing, Malibu Style. It's exclusively being sold on the LivingSocial deals website, with its six pieces ranging from a bright blue totebag to an oversized watch, at prices ranging from $78 to $298.

The New York-based Mizrahi has colllaborated in the past with the likes of Target and QVC, but this collaboration aims at getting women to take a closer look at a nameplate that otherwise might not get their attention.Continue reading...

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Chevrolet Jolts Volt Sales as CMO Defends Incentives

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2012 03:03 PM

"Lightning rod" no longer suffices to suffice to describe the platform for controversy that the Chevrolet Volt has become in its two-year history on the market. Maybe someday Volt will simply serve as its own metaphor for a brilliant but troubled car — like "DeLorean."

That's not to say that it's not successful — indeed, the Volt has expanded its lead, as Bloomberg reports, "as the top-selling U.S. rechargeable car this year as Toyota expanded plug-in Prius deliveries and Nissan said it's working to boost electric Leaf sales." Chevy sold 2,851 Volts in September; Nissan sold 984 Leafs; it wasn't clear how many of Toyota's mearly 19,000 Prius sales were plug-ins, but certainly it was a small percentage.

Even so, Chevrolet CMO Chris Perry is having to defend the recent ramping up of sales incentives that the brand is using to entice consumers and dealers into moving more units of the plug-in hybrid nameplate.Continue reading...

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Toyota Essentially Pulls Plug on EVs As Company Doubles Down on Hybrids

Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2012 02:17 PM

When it comes to hybrids, Toyota is saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if it's a winning formula, don't alter it — double down.

That's why Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday announced (in a press conference and release titled: "TMC Announces Status of Its Environmental Technology Development, Future Plans") a drastic scaling back, close to an abandonment, of its all-electric vehicles — the iQ and eQ EV models — in favor of a dramatic ramping up of its plans for developing and producing new hybrids.

"Toyota’s engineers have been involved in Electric Vehicle (EV) research and development for over 40 years, since 1971," Toyota's press site notes. "Developed in parallel with the company’s pioneering full Hybrid (HV), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Fuel Cell (FCV) vehicles, the EV represents Toyota’s long-term vision for short range sustainable mobility."

It turns out that long-term vision was more short-term than anticipated when it comes to EVs.Continue reading...

start your engines

Chevy Ignores Bad Reviews for 2013 Malibu with Tim Allen's Dulcet Tones

Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2012 03:02 PM

The timing would be great for Chevrolet to be pushing a hot new car. GM sales were up in August, renewing hope for a continuation of the company's recent momentum. And the Chevy Volt continues to get shellacked for high development and manufaturing costs, low sales, and desperate incentives to sell the units that do move — a critique the automaker refutes.

But according to the automotive cognescenti, the Chevy Malibu Eco just isn't up to the challenge of delivering another winning product for GM in a sequence to follow the Chevy Cruze and Sonic models, which are smaller. (Chevy is also launching a new, tiny Spark nameplate this fall.) Eco's raison d'etre appears to be a "mild hybrid" drivetrain that includes an electric motor to give mileage a boost — but which, unfortunately, doesn't deliver much by way of fuel efficiency, compared with competitors, and is accompanied by a smaller wheelbase and cramped rear seats.Continue reading...

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Spotlight Turns to Manchester United IPO and GM Lawsuits Post-Ewanick

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 12:59 PM

General Motors is scrutinized daily by thousands of automotive and business journalists as well as investors and U.S.-government policymakers and a whole host of other people, and yet there remains a mystery about exactly why GM CMO Joel Ewanick became persona non grata so abruptly on July 29th. The latest disclosures, via Bloomberg News, paint a picture of a relationship betweeen Ewanick and his CEO that unraveled in part over lack of decorum.Continue reading...

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GM's Interim CMO Walks Tightrope as Automaker Looks to Restore Confidence

Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2012 06:04 PM

From his first public remarks since taking over as interim CMO of General Motors, it's clear that Alan Batey isn't planning any abrupt changes in policies, directions or programs as he steers the company's marketing efforts at least for the short term. Only recently promoted from Chevrolet sales vice president to vice president of U.S. sales and service, Batey was just tapped again — this time to succeed Joel Ewanick, the controversial global CMO who unexpectedly parted ways with GM on Sunday.

"There is no change," Batey told reporters and analysts during the company's July sales call. "We've always been one thing here, and we have no change in direction or priorities. Our focus is on executing. There is a lot going on right now; a lot of new products. We'll have no disruption and no change. It's all about execution."

From Batey's remarks, it's easy to infer that the main problem his bosses had with Ewanick was with Ewanick, not necessarily with his work. And GM did say that his dismissal had to do with execution of Chevy's sponsorship agreement with the Manchester United soccer franchise, not with the fact of his having struck a deal with Manchester. Sure enough, Batey's first duty in his new role on Monday was to announce the signing of the Man U deal after terms were altered.

But more (likely) is going on than it appears.Continue reading...

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GM Ends Stormy Tenure of CMO Ewanick in Wake of Manchester United Deal

Posted by Dale Buss on July 30, 2012 12:13 PM

Suddenly, Joel Ewanick is done knocking over all of the furniture in General Motors' marketing world — because he's gone. The company's strong-headed global CMO proved to be only a shooting star after GM ousted Ewanick (technically, he resigned, as GM tersely stated) over the weekend following a drama-filled two-year stint.

GM surprised Detroit, Madison Avenue and Wall Street by announcing on Sunday that Ewanick had "failed to meet expectations the company has for its employees" and elected to resign. Outlets including Ad Age and the Wall Street Journal reported that the trigger for Ewanick's sacking was that he failed to properly vet the financial details of Chevy's five-year deal with the iconic Manchester United soccer franchise, which was announced six weeks ago in a high-profile partnership that encompassed China, an international commitment to football and, somehow, Sting.

Today, Man United and Chevy detailed the jersey branding part of the deal, with GM's North American VP Alan Batey quoted instead of Ewanick. Ewanick has shed little additional light on what led to his abrupt exit, although he did tweet that it "has been a privilege & honor to work with the GM Team," and then tweeted the link to the Wall Street Journal report on his exit.Continue reading...

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Hamsterbranding: Kia and Chevy Know How to Score With Millennials

Posted by Dale Buss on July 30, 2012 10:58 AM

Many car brands may be scrambling and scratching their heads to figure out how to appeal to the elusive and automotively nonchalant Millennial generation, but at least two brands seem to be closer than some of the others.

Kia is bringing back the popular hamster characters for its Soul minicar on the basis of how well the campaign has played with Generation Y. And Chevrolet already is seeing an encouraging interest by twenty-something consumers in its new little Spark model, which is just hitting showrooms at prices as low as below $13,000.Continue reading...

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