Posted by Dale Buss on August 31, 2012 03:27 PM
Anticipation has been heavy for the success of the new Dodge Dart, the Illinois-built compact car that represents the first complete-vehicle collaboration between Chrysler and its new Fiat parent. The just-launched model has been saddled with hopes and responsibilities ranging from reestablishment of Chrysler's design chops to re-ignition of the company's hopes in a small-car market where it hasn't excelled for a long time.
But all of that has been delayed, at least, by Dart's slow start out of the gate, according to the Wall Street Journal. Noting that Chrysler sold fewer than 1,000 Darts in the car's first two months in dealer showrooms, June and July, the newspaper blamed Chrysler, in part, for producing many more manual-transmission Darts than the market requires.
An increasing number in the auto industry are talking about stick shifts these days, as a way to entice financially strapped Millennials into purchasing automobiles. In mainstream product segments, stick shifts are less expensive to manufacture, purchase, drive and insure. (Of course it's an entirely different market for stick shifts in pricey luxury makes, where they're provided for driving feel.) Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 09:02 AM
American Airlines faces record safety penalty, tests hotel baggage delivery service.
Amazon sees pay-off from locker service, looks to acquire more patents.
Apple shelves "Genius" TV campaign, puts former designer on the stand against Samsung and plans to beef up security.
AT&T sees 20,000 employees go on strike.
Bank of America brings discounts to bank statements.
Chiquita seeks new CEO as Undercover Boss star exits.
Chrysler’s Dodge pulls out of NASCAR.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2012 03:07 PM
In June Consumer Reports knocked the Scion IQ as "slow, uncomfortable and noisy." Now it's bearing down on a few more auto brands, including some of the the most popular and even iconic nameplates in the U.S. auto industry, in its latest evaluation of vehicles that might disappoint car-buyers.
Honda Civic, Toyota Prius c, Jeep Liberty, Ford Edge and Dodge Grand Caravan are the five models evaluated by the highly regarded magazine as "popular cars to avoid." As part of its September issue look at the best and worst new cars, the magazine concedes that the vehicles, some of them among the biggest sellers now and even for decades, "may be on a lot of buyers' shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear." The reasons: They didn't test well or have poor reliability, or both.
CR's gripes with each model:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 31, 2012 11:16 AM
Everything is coming up red, white and blue for Fiat these days — everything that's profitable, anyway. Once viewed as a long-shot and even an irresponsible lark by some, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's investment in taking over Chrysler now looks more briliiant every day. That's especially so given what's befalling Fiat in Europe.
Chrysler has once again underscored its new chief's wisdom by reporting an $800-million turnaround in its bottom line during the second quarter. It's up from a year ago thanks to rising U.S. sales and stronger pricing. And for the year, Chrysler said, it expects an 18-percent revenue gain on continued strong increases in U.S. vehicle shipments.
"They are tearing the cover off the ball when it comes to volume, revenue and gaining market share," Richard Hilgert, an analyst for Morningstar, commented to the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 02:23 PM
American auto buyers appear to be falling right into the clutches of several auto brands as they switch to smaller new vehicles in response to higher gasoline prices and their need to replace that aging hulk in the garage. Along with better fuel economy, many buyers are gaining amenities, overall better quality and improved functional design than Americans used to get in downsizing their car purchases.
Chevrolet, Kia and Volkswagen are among the leading brand exemplars, as well as beneficiaries, of this trend, according to the conclusions of the annual J.D. Power & Associates APEAL study that was released Wednesday. Each of them has found ways to embody and cater to how Americans are increasingly downsizing with relish, according to the firm's Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study.Continue reading...
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...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2012 08:57 AM
Neiman Marcus and Target join brands for unusual Christmas collaboration: 50 limited-edition American designer items, plus $1M donation to the CFDA.
Starbucks rolls out low-cal Refreshers drinks.
Marks & Spencer fires clothing head following worst sales in three years.
American Airlines and U.S. Airways keep dancing around a merger.
Apple removes green electronics certification from products.
Chase launches Chase Liquid reloadable card.
Coca-Cola takes stake in Mexican juice company Jugos del Valle.
Conde Nast confirms London location of namesake fashion college.
DirecTV could drop 26 Viacom channels in dispute.
Dodge places major ad push behind new Dart.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 25, 2012 07:07 PM
For a series of Batman movies that takes itself so seriously, it's a surprise to see it right there so prominent as one of only five menu items on the official The Dark Knight Rises website: "Imported From Gotham City."
The Dark Knight Rises has a number of other official partners. There is Nokia (remember them?) and No Fear (remember them?) and Mountain Dew, which features at the core of its tie-in "Sad Batman." But none of these brands even get a mention on the film's official website, let alone being featured on the site navigation.
It seems that the heavyweight "Imported from Detroit" campaign, which debuted with Eminem at the 2011 Super Bowl and was reborn with Clint Eastwood at the 2012 Super Bowl, is now so ingrained in the American psyche that it's worth lampooning. But the first rule of auto product placement is "be serious." Be so, so serious.Continue reading...