Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2013 08:46 AM
Walmart philanthropic director Sylvia Mathews Burwell expected to be nominated Monday as Obama's budget chief.
India develops a taste for premium beer while officials approve $2 billion Diageo deal.
HSBC set for $23 billion profit as turnaround gains traction.
AB InBev takes to Twitter and newspaper ads to fight watered-down-beer charges.
AIDS drug breakthrough sees infant evidently cured through early use of virus-blocking drugs.
Alfa Romeo reboot marks tough road for Fiat.
American Airlines drops below 60,000 employees for the first time since 1987.
AOL's new Brand Group CEO Susan Lyne lays out her goals.
Asos joins brands using Twitter's Vine for short form social video marketing.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2013 05:24 PM
The question of adding brands has become a hot topic for auto companies these days as they revisit strategies from before the Great Recession. Fiat, Chrysler and Volkswagen are among car makers that have become bullish on new brands while General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Hyundai are among competitors that haven't moved in that direction.
It didn't seem that this would be an issue as recently as three years ago. GM famously shed Saturn, Saab, Hummer and Pontiac (a few years after killing Oldsmobile) as it shrank down for the 2009 bailout, while Ford finally deep-sixed Mercury after decades of keeping it on life support. Going lean with brand architecture, the thinking was, would be the future as automakers focused on globalizing product platforms and marketing to keep things simpler, more cost-efficient and, they argued, less confusing to consumers.
Though lately, some players have been throwing that logic out the window—seemingly to good effect.
Chrysler, for instance, spinned off Ram from Dodge, began adding Fiat to its brand stable in the U.S., created an SRT performance sub-brand and announced that, soon, Fiat will be bringing Alfa Romeo to the United States again. Meanwhile, it has been bulking up its other brands with new products, such as Jeep, which just announced that it is resurrecting the venerable Cherokee nameplate for 2014. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 18, 2013 09:01 AM
Reader's Digest files for bankruptcy for second time.
Starbucks bets on Asia-Pacific growth.
Maker's Mark restores alcohol content after public uproar.
BMW recalls 30,000 SUVs for brakes.
Biggby Coffee has big plans to expand regional coffeehouse chain into national brand.
CBS buys into cable TV.
Coca-Cola says reached Twitter-imposed ceiling as reason for stopping tweeting during Super Bowl.
Danone may be targeted by activist investor who prodded Heinz.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 4, 2013 09:01 AM
Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl over the San Francisco 49ers, as critics and viewers evaluate Super Bowl commercials, and CBS deals with half-hour second-half blackout by honoring its high-priced ad units and advertisers take advantage of lull with social-media frenzy.
AB InBev faces familiar game plan in U.S. opposition to merger.
BP heads to next phase in Gulf spill litigation.
Bank of America faces fresh questions over Countrywide settlement.
Clearwire weighs merger offer from Dish Networks.
Coca-Cola uses Super Bowl campaign as springboard for year-long efforts.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 30, 2013 12:50 PM
Above, Chrysler's well-received 2011 Super Bowl ad, "Imported From Detroit," featuring Eminem.
Chrysler's earnings report today made it apparent that its sales and financial recovery remains well on track, though there are new snags in its product plans due to fiat's drag on the combined company.
Chrysler posted prelimary net income of $1.7 billion for 2012, up nearly tenfold from the year-earlier $183 million and exceeding the guidance that it issued previously. The gains came largely on the strength of an 18 percent gain in worldwide vehicle sales, most of it realized in a U.S. market that has re-embraced Chrysler brands and products. Chrysler U.S. sales have increased by more than 50 percent since 2010, and its U.S. market share climbed two percentage points, to 11.4 percent, last year.
"While we are pleased to have achieved strong financial results in 2012, the enterprise we are crafting is not complete," CEO Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday in a release.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2013 01:03 PM
In bringing Alfa Romeo back to the U.S. market this year, Fiat has three big goals for the move: broadening the car lineup of its joint stable with Chrysler Group; trying to re-establish an Alfa brand that long ago was tarnished in America; and boosting output at its home-market manufacturing operations in Italy.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters at the Detoit Auto Show that Fiat plans to introduce an Alfa Romeo 4C sports car to the U.S. market late this year. Marchionne said that the biggest remaining obstacle is to "make sure we hit the powertrains dead on." Still, he told the news service, "We are finalizing the car now, so it should be" in the U.S. this year.
From an American perspective, Alfa Romeo is one of the wild cards that got thrown into the deck when Fiat acquired the carcass of Chrysler from the U.S. government in 2009. It exited the U.S. market about two decades ago with a tattered quality reputation. Now, Marchionne has built the marque into one that would have a shot even in today's highly competitive U.S. market.Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 18, 2013 11:07 AM
If Sergio Marchionne weren’t the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, globetrotting across three continents on a regular basis and running companies based on two of them, the man probably would have to make up a similar job just to contain his prodigious energy.
This week, he and the increasingly worldwide automotive operation he runs have made news in North America, Europe and Asia. And the charismatic, peripatetic Italian car mogul has displayed some of the inner edges of his famously expansive personality as well.
In the biggest news, Marchionne signed a deal in Michigan with Guangzhou Automobile Group to build Jeeps in China as Fiat, Chrysler and their brands try to play catch-up in the world’s biggest automotive market. Guangzhou will build at least 100,000 Jeeps there beginning in 2014, and output could double at some point, Marchionne said this week. Continue reading...
detroit auto show
Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2013 05:12 PM
Over the past few years, fuel economy became the predominant theme of the Detroit Auto Show, as brands battled recession, $4-a-gallon gasoline, the heavy hand of the federal government and one another to lure American buyers into their increasingly "green" machines.
But at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, one of the clearly emergent themes is a return to more substantial and practical vehicles — specifically, to utility vehicles. Fuel economy isn't being ignored; it's more that decent mileage is a given for just about every new model these days.
One after another, brands at the first of two press-preview days at the show on Monday revealed new production models of mid-sized and compact sport-utility and "crossover" utility vehicles, plans to field more of them, or both.
"We're absent from the midsize-SUV segment" in the United States, Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America, said at a press conference where the brand introduced a new concept SUV called CrossBlue. That segment has "predicted growth of more than 20 percent by 2018, the biggest predicted for any segment," he said.Continue reading...