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car talk

Kia Partners with MADD Canada for Student Car-Sharing Initiative

Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2013 03:45 PM

Every automaker is trying to figure out what to make of the car-sharing phenomenon among Millennial consumers. Some brands have been moving to get pieces of the growing market even if they're not quite sure how it'll all turn out.

Kia Canada became the latest, launching today a five-year agreement with MADD Canada to give access to a variety of Kia models on 15 college and university campuses across the country. The available models will include Millennial favorites like the Kia Soul, which the brand is calling an "Urban Utility Vehicle," and the Kia Rio sub-compact sedan and five-door model.

"We are excited about launching this unique program to students" because it will allow them "first-hand experience with some of our new and exciting lineup," Robert Staffieri, director of marketing for Kia Canada, said in a statement.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Kraft, Tesco and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 12, 2013 09:35 AM

In the News

Apple will debut next iPhone on September 10, report says.

Kraft launches comeback plan for Jell-O.

Tesco set to withdraw brand from China.

AOL pushes to make Patch profitable.

Amazon may expand grocery service to New York, report says.

BlackBerry weighs selling itself.

Crocs tussles with Wall Street.

Daimler plans to expand Smart brand in China. 

Ford steps up training of assembly workers in wake of shaky launches.

Fox talks with NBC about doing Hillary Clinton miniseries.

GM plans to scale back Korea operations in wake of higher costs, stronger unionism, report says.

Honda tries to save American drive-ins.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Samsung, GSK, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 26, 2013 09:33 AM

In the News

Samsung reports soaring profits on smartphone sales.

GlaxoSmithKline names new chief in China amid bribery probe.

Apple still tops consumer brands.

A&P goes on auction block.

Activision Blizzard buys back most of Vivendi controlling stake in company.

Acura and Porsche lead in evaluation of websites.

Amazon swings to loss as expenses grow.

American Airlines and US Airways offer antitrust concessions.

AT&T nabs naming rights for Cowboys Stadium. 

Daimler takes 5 percent stake in Aston Martin in technical partnership as CEO Dieter Zetsche faces pressure to catch Audi and BMW.

Facebook sees share price come within striking distance of disappointing IPO price.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Starbucks, Hanes, Time Inc. and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2013 09:21 AM

In the News

Starbucks teams with Groupe Danone to market new yogurt line.

HanesBrands buys Maidenform.

Time Inc. may look to further spinoffs.

Aereo targets 25 percent of TV users.

Apple is boosted by strong iPhone sales despite profit dip.

Boeing sees profit rise on strong aircraft sales as it awaits EU directive on Dreamliner safety.

Cadillac plans to rest its laurels in logo redesign, report says.

Carl's Jr. rolls out Pop Tarts ice-cream sandwich system-wide.

Caterpillar cuts outlook.

Daimler eyes recovery in Europe.Continue reading...

car talk

Daimler Makes a Smart Move with Introduction of Electric Scooter in Europe

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2013 01:42 PM

"Urban mobility" is all the rage with auto makers these days, and none more so than Daimler. Combining this paradigm with the need to goose sales globally for its Smart minicar brand, the company has announced plans to introduce a Smart electric-powered scooter next year in Europe.

Daimler, also parent of Mercedes-Benz, has had trouble getting Smart onto a smooth plateau. The company killed a roadster in 2005 and a four-seater version of Smart in 2006 and has racked up 1.5 billion euros in losses since the brand's launch in 1998.

Even while other brands such as rival BMW, with Mini, and Fiat have figured out how to make and market tiny cars for global masses, Daimler just keeps misfiring with Smart. But the company says it plans to keep trying.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Carnival, Barnes & Noble, Square and more

Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2013 09:17 AM

In the News

Carnival CEO to step down.

Barnes & Noble pulls back after losses in tablet wars.

Square takes on PayPal online.

Daimler outsources development of driver-assistance software.

Paula Deen's awkward TODAY interview furthers PR nightmare

Dow Jones plans to eliminate some newsroom staff as it unifies newswires and Wall Street Journal.

Fiat adds seven-seat minivan to 500 range in Europe.

Ford ushers great-great grandchildren of founder into management.

Google gets boost in EU privacy case.

Heineken says it is "absolutely on top" of issue of fake beer in emerging markets.Continue reading...

car talk

Smart Tries for More Attention While Microcar Rivals Swoop In for Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2013 03:52 PM

"Microcars" are increasingly popular in the US market as gasoline prices remain high and the number of entries in the segment proliferates. Now Smart wants to get its rightful share of an American market that it pioneered but never has mastered.

The Daimler-owned brand plans to straighten out its marketing under a new head of Smart USA, Mark Webster, before higher production volumes enable Smart to boost sales significantly by 2015, according to Automotive News. The brand's last major marketing effort, in a 2011 campaign with the tag line "Unbig. Uncar," helped boost sales of Smart's microcar by 92 percent in the US to more than 10,000 units last year.

Now, Webster said, Smart marketing is taking another turn—toward quirky. "It is different than Mercedes-Benz," he told the magazine. "Smart is a fun brand, and we treat it differently. There is a different customer, sometimes quirky and passionate. We're working on plans to bring that vision."Continue reading...


The Week in China: Rich Kid Culture, GSK's Data Woes, Beckham Frenzy and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 21, 2013 02:49 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: Starbucks discrimination... Facial recognition... Rich kid car culture... Digital music piracy... GlaxoSmithKline woes... Uniqlo expansion... Honda models... VW admissions... RV boom... and more.Continue reading...

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