start your engines
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2012 02:48 PM
Recall all that pre-launch marketing that Ford so carefullly laid for the 2013 Escape? The branded entertainment experiment that was the Escape Routes prime-time TV series on NBC; the Spanish-language TV commercial during the NBA Finals featuring the Miami Heat; and, in its latest promotional stunt, measuring the model's interior in ping-pong balls (56,778, in case you were wondering).
Well, Ford may need all of the interest and goodwill generated by those marketing gambits, and a lot more, to get past the fact that the automaker just announced the second recall in as many weeks for the crucial new version of its venerable SUV. It also raises the issue that when it comes to brand recalls, customers do recall recalls, as Toyota found out the hard way.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on July 19, 2012 11:31 AM
Chevrolet's Corvette is "roaring into its 60th year," having just turned 59. Now the iconic GM-owned car brand is getting ready to release its 60th anniversary limited-edition Corvette: the 427. Described as the most powerful Corvette convertible ever built, the first one sold at auction for $600,000 in January. Take a closer look at the 427 below.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 16, 2012 12:52 PM
Pulling away at a "go" light, plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt have a big advantage over all-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf — because they have a gasoline engine on board that can provide the required performance punch.
That's sort of what is happening in sales of Volt versus Leaf as well. While the Chevrolet sold nearly 1,700 vehicles in June and, at 8,800, has more than tripled the number it sold last year, Nissan could only report sales of 535 Leafs in the U.S. last month. For the year to date, Leaf sold only about 3,400 units, down 19 percent from last year.
A Nissan spokeswoman told the Detroit News that the main reason for the decline in Leaf sales is that Nissan has been moving away from a "web-driven, build-to-order system that was designed to handle initial sales to more of a traditional dealer-based model."
As for Volt, "We're still trying to manage the production to demand," Chris Perry, Chevrolet's CMO, told brandchannel. "We still haven't totally filled the inventory needs growing in California and some other markets. We're still not sure how high is high with this product."Continue reading...