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...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2013 09:17 AM
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...
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...
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...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 24, 2013 09:25 AM
P&G CEO Bob McDonald retires from troubled tenure as predecessor A.G. Lafley comes back to the company to take the CEO post.
Google faces antitrust probe over dominance in online display ads.
AT&T imposes new wireless fee and adds iPhone to pre-paid GoPhone program.
Apple faces potential setback in e-books case.
Boy Scouts of America vote to allow gay scouts into its ranks.
Campbell Soup's parent acquires Plum Organics.
Daimler and Ford strengthen technology ties.
Dodge banks on Fast & Furious 6 tie-in to rev flagging Dart sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2013 08:02 PM
There remain obstacles in doing it, but there's no denying the strong rush of foreign upscale automakers that are announcing plans to expand production in the United States these days.
Toyota is expected to confirm on Friday morning that it is moving production of its Lexus ES from southern Japan to Georgetown, Ky.; Nissan is looking to build a second US plant for its Infiniti brand, which already makes the JX SUV in Tennessee; and German luxury automakers each in their own ways are expanding American manufacturing footprints that used to be mainly afterthoughts. Mainstream players are participating in the trend too, such as Subaru, which is set to expand US production, presumably at its existing plant in Indiana.
For Toyota, one of the keys to its Lexus decision was several years of appreciation in the value of the yen, which made Japan manufacturing cost-prohibitive. Another key in the Lexus decision was recognition that, after decades of closing the gap, the quality standards apparent in US manufacturing by all brands, and by American workers, finally rivaled those established by Japan in the 80s.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2013 09:08 AM
Apple loses throne to Exxon as world's biggest company as its slowdown threatens a $30-billion global supplier web.
Twitter launches music app for iOs devices today.
Burberry sales rise as China growth recovers.
BlackBerry says Alicia Keyes delivers its PowerPoint presentations.
CNN deals with aftermath of erroneous reporting in Boston Marathon investigation.
Carnival plans to spend up to $700 million to upgrade fleet.
Chevrolet says its new Cruze diesel outdoes Volkswagen Jetta diesel in mileage.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 11, 2013 09:16 AM
Deutsche Telekom raises bid for MetroPCS.
The Masters begins at Augusta National today with Tiger Woods again among the favorites.
Toyota and other Japanese automakers recall 3.4 million vehicles over Takata airbag.
Applebee's led first-quarter social media engagement by restaurants.
Barnes & Noble rebrands self-publishing platform PubIt! as Nook Press as it continues to invest in future of Nook brand.
Justin Bieber backs a debit card for teens, from parents.
ConocoPhillips suspends Arctic drilling plan.
Daimler says worsening Europe puts its 2013 profit outlook in doubt.
Dell plans to double sales outlets in China.Continue reading...