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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...


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...


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...


Ford Can't Escape 2nd Recall in Two Weeks

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...


Chevrolet Ready to Roll Out 60th Anniversary Corvette

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...


Chevy Volt Charges Past Nissan Leaf in America's Green-Car Derby

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...


Chevy Demonstrates Confidence in Brand With Money-Back Guarantee

Posted by Dale Buss on July 12, 2012 01:02 PM

What are the two worst sensations associated with the car-buying experience? High on the list would be buyers feeling that they got fleeced on the price of the vehicle. Another big problem is customer remorse that typically can set in about two weeks after they've made one of the biggest purchases of their lives.

Well, Chevrolet aims to vanquish both of those problems for its customers — at least on a partial basis, and at least for a few weeks — with the launch of its two-pronged "Chevy Confidence" program in the U.S. this week, which runs through September 4, at Chevy dealers and chevyconfidence.com.

Under "Love It or Return It," Chevy is offering a vehicle-return program on every new 2012 or 2013 model-year purchase. Customers can return vehicles bought during the progam, with less than 4,000 miles driven and no physical damage, 30 to 60 days from the purchase date. And Chevy's "Total Confidence Pricing" offers no-haggle pricing on all 2012 model-year Chevrolets in addition to specific vehicle incentives.

"From our research, we know that customers appreciate the opportunity to come in and have a risk-free buying process," Chris Perry, Chevrolet global vice president of marketing, told brandchannel.Continue reading...


Chrysler Needs Dodge Dart To Be a Game-Changer Beyond All-Star Game Debut

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2012 03:09 PM

When Chrysler airs the first TV commercial for the 2013 Dodge Dart tonight during the All-Star Game, a lot more is at stake than may be readily apparent.

The spot opens with the line, "'How to change cars forever," features cameos by Tom Brady and other athletes, runs for an unconventional 90 seconds, and positions Dart as a game-changer. It really needs to be that for Chrysler, for a number of reasons.Continue reading...

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