Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2012 01:02 PM
Michelin, like the auto-vehicle brands it supplies with tires, has noticed a long-term change in how car owners in the United States and worldwide regard new-vehicle purchases: They don't want to make them as often. This has resulted in a record level of what the industry calls "pent-up demand," as the average age of cars on the road has grown to more than a decade now — and demands various kinds of responses from brand marketers.
The approach being taken by the French global tire-industry leader is to make it easier for Americans to keep their cars longer. Michelin's new Defender tire, given its worldwide debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, is aimed squarely at this new reality by promising, among other things, to last up to 90,000 miles.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2012 11:58 AM
For 2012, Lexus executives are champing at the bit to try to reclaim their erstwhile title of best-selling luxury brand in the United States. A still-refilling inventory pipeline and exciting products, such as a new version of its staple GS sedan, should launch the Toyota luxury brand well on its way to achieving that goal once again.
But in its press appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, Lexus also encouraged its brand executives to wax philosophical about the long-term future of the brand and how they're going to shape it.
That's certainly what Lexus GM Mark Templin was doing when he got fired up by what Toyota's Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif., envisioned for the future — including tail lamps inspired by jet afterburners.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2012 09:01 AM
At CES, Samsung announces content for each screen.
Apple CEO Tim Cook could end up being America's highest-paid CEO for 2011.
Coors Light blasts by Bud to become No. 2 brew.
Dr Pepper releases "I'm one of a kind" ad campaign.
Ford is on the cusp of a true financial comeback; makes 100% sustainable interior.
Myspace reinvents itself as an entertainment experience, brings Justin Timberlake to CES.
Olympus sues execs over scandal.
Suze Orman puts her name on pre-paid credit card.
Smoothie King launches campaign to help customers get fit.
Toyota and Honda plan to fight back with new product reveals at NAIAS, which saw 27 new vehicle unveilings yesterday.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 06:44 PM
Audi executives don't mind not having been a part of the sales-deadline drama that enveloped their two biggest rivals last week, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as they played with the timing of BMW's victory in the 2011 luxury-sales race in the U.S. market. They're looking at the bigger picture and the longer term for their nascent brand in America, and they like what they see.
"Sales are a decent scorecard, but there are things that go significantly beyond sales," Scott Keogh, CMO of Audi of America, told brandchannel today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Audi unveiled an outdoorsy version of its Q3 small utility vehicle that it expects to begin selling in the U.S. by 2014. "True luxury leadership comes from being the thought leader in the segment, not necessarily the sales leader."
Clearly, Keogh and other Audi executives have thought through the great opportunities for their brand in 2012 after posting a 16-percent sales increase in the U.S. last year — and yet still seeming to fly a bit under the radar as BMW and Mercedes-Benz fought rather furiously through December until they could determine which one had sold more units for the year, with BMW taking the title that Lexus had claimed for 11 years.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 06:12 PM
Hyundai executives emphasized the brand's playfulness today over its well-established utility in product introductions at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And in unveiling a turbocharged version of its new Veloster small car (with the tagline: "Engineered for Whatever") and a substantially upgraded coupe in its Genesis near-luxury line, Hyundai of America CEO John Krafcik also made it clear that the brand now considers itself a mainstream player in the U.S. auto market.
"We've changed from a 'outstanding value brand' to a 'valuable brand,'" in the U.S., Europe and other markets, Krafcik told reporters at the Detroit show today. That rapid evolution is evident, he said, in some strong indicators. Hyundai's fleet sales in the U.S. comprise just 10 percent of its overall vehicle mix, he said, one of the lowest proportions in the industry.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 03:03 PM
Naming a new car after a venerable nameplate from its heyday is hardly a new ploy for the Dodge brand. Dodge did it with new muscle cars such as the Challenger a few years ago.
But today marked the first time that a Chrysler Group brand has gone back to the future for a nameplate since it has been controlled by Fiat. Dodge unveiled the 2013 Dodge Dart at the North American International Auto Show this morning, a new vehicle that should prove to be the most credible entry by the company in the compact-car segment since — well, since the heyday of the original Dodge Dart.
Accompanied by puslating techno music and lights in the predictable meme of auto-show unveilings, Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Dodge, said that the brand "wanted to create a world-class compact car" because Dodge wasn't "competing" in this segment with its Caliber model, introduced in 2006. "And we approached this segment with a clean slate — no baggage."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 12:17 PM
In 1986, Ford upended the automotive world by introducing its new Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable mid-size sedans featuring revolutionary slippery shapes that some derided as "jelly-bean" design. Just to emphasize the point, the company rented a Hollywood sound stage to launch the vehicles. And they did, indeed, go on to overturn the design launguage of just about every automotive grand operating in the United States for a decade.
Ford executives realize their new 2013 Ford Fusion isn't likely to have the same effect. But they clearly are stroking for a design statement with the new vehicles that they introduced at the North American International Auto Show this morning. The new Fusion — aimed at the heart of a huge and crucial segment of the U.S. market where Ford has been relatively moribund — is a sleek stunner compared with others in its segment, featuring a high rear end, long rear window and a spiffy new front grille with horizontal striations.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 11:01 AM
The opening of the press preview at the North American International Auto Show today was focused on celebrating the renaissance of the American Big Three automakers and their home town of Detroit, but non-U.S.-based automakers stole a march on them in winning both of the prestigious vehicle-of-the-year awards that are dispensed at the show.
The Hyundai Elantra was named the North American Car of the Year, and the Land Rover Evoque, an SUV, was named the North American Truck of the Year, by a panel of 50 automotive journalists.
Hyundai also won the Car of the Year Award three years ago, for its Genesis, and the clustering of such top-shelf recognition underscored the feat that the Korea-based brand has pulled off in the U.S. market over the last few years. Hyundai's U.S. sales grew by 20 percent in 2011 over the year before.Continue reading...