auto motive

Fiat's Biggest Problem isn't UAW, it's Fiat's Frustrated US Dealers

Posted by Dale Buss on October 7, 2013 11:15 AM

California isn't always a bellwether; just ask Fiat dealers outside the Golden State. California consumers buy about one-quarter of all Fiats sold in the US now, but enthusiasm for the brand decidedly has not spread eastward like bell-bottomed jeans or bleached-blonde hair.

And that's a growing problem for Fiat and Chrysler. While the companies are locked in a game of chicken with the United Auto Workers over the value of Chrysler stock, CEO Sergio Marchionne is hearing increasing complaints from American Fiat dealers that instead of being a silk purse from a sow's ear, the Fiat brand has proven to be more like a pig in a poke.

"It's sad to say, but [Fiat has] become a stepchild," one Fiat dealer anonymously told Automotive News. "Chrysler doesn't want to hear that, but that's the reality."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Fiat, BlackBerry, Macy's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 7, 2013 09:22 AM

In the News

Fiat loses momentum in US comeback.

BlackBerry discusses bids with big-name strategic buyers that would dismember brand.

Macy's rethinks web plans in China.

Allstate outflanks online rivals.

Boston Market offers promotion related to idled government workers.

Burger King sees perception gains after "Satisfries" launch.

C-Span finds interest amid government shutdown.

Chevrolet will limit supplies of new Corvette at first.

Cracker Barrel and Kraft settle trademark differences.

ESPN drops International X Games.

Frito-Lay introduces glow-in-the-dark Halloween packages.

GM prods dealers to sell cars online.

Hershey plans plant in Malaysia.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Samsung, Chevrolet and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2013 09:34 AM

In the News

Amazon greenlights three new TV pilots and readies set-top box.

Samsung predicts record operating profit.

Chevrolet tries on Google Glass.

Banana Republic creative director steps down after five years at the brand. 

Boeing sees commercial deliveries rise.

Cars.com plans to sit out Super Bowl after six years in Big Game.

Facebook reveals plans for Instagram.

Fiat isn't close to deal with UAW for Chrysler stake.Continue reading...

auto motive

Marchionne, in Battle with UAW, Resolves to Show What a 'Fiat-Less' US Market Would Be Like

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2013 04:52 PM

Everyone involved in the 2009 bailout of Chrysler by the US government and Fiat knew that at some point there would be a vestigial mess to clean up even after the two parties, with the United Auto Workers, rescued the company financially and set the stage for the four-year sales boom and brand revival that the Detroit automaker has enjoyed.

Welcome to that mess. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is trying to wrap up the four-year transformation of Chrysler by taking control of the last part of the company that is controlled by the UAW because of the concessions that it and its members made to help keep Chrysler alive four years ago. But he's got to get the union to give up that stake at an optimum price for Fiat, and he's having trouble doing that right now.

Marchionne is saying that he's planning an IPO for Chrysler soon, which would place a market value on Chrysler stock that he says is being overvalued by the union. Presumably that would help wrap things up, but perhaps at a price that Marchionne deems too high. So he has threatened for Fiat to back away from its increasing entanglement with Chrysler.Continue reading...

luxury watch

Luxury Auto Brands Increasingly Turn to Designers to Fashion Lifestyle Brands

Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 25, 2013 03:52 PM

Luxury auto brands are well aware that their target audience is the upscale, discriminating buyer with disposable income—the same buyer, in fact, who is attracted to the high-end fashion world and who wants an increasingly personalized, exclusive retail experience.

That's why the latest trend has luxury auto brands expanding into retail—even putting their brand names on non-automotive luxury products.

Bugatti, for example, unveiled an exclusive apparel and accessories collection last week at Milan Fashion Week consisting of two lines, "Ettore Bugatti," carrying an "EB" monogram, and "Extreme Performance," carrying the Bugatti logo. Included in the collection is an exclusive blue crocodile skin handbag for women, the shape of which is said to be inspired by the Bugatti's front grille. Bugatti will open as many as 35 exclusive boutiques around the globe in the next five years to sell its collection. In addition, Bugatti introduced "Tailor Made/Bespoke" for customers only—an exclusive program in which custom-made branded products are created to a customer's specifications.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Mondelez, Samsung and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

Amazon debuts "native" video ads and launches new tablets while cutting Kindle Fire HD price.

Mondelez revamps its social media strategy. 

Samsung to launch smartphones with curved displays

AT&T launches mobile broadcast network and says it's open to European acquisitions.

Airbus wins plane orders from Chinese startups.

Alibaba heads for US with mammoth IPO.

Applied Materials to acquire Tokyo Electron in huge B2B deal.

BlackBerry shoves off bankruptcy questions.

Bob Evans sees disgruntled investor call for spin-off of restaurant division.

Carlsberg kicks off three-year partnership with Premier soccer league.

Carnival cuts outlook.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Tesco, Apple, Netflix and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 23, 2013 09:25 AM

In the News

Tesco launches own-brand tablet, Hudl. 

Apple sells nine million new iPhones on first weekend, and is named the UK's coolest brand. 

Netflix picks up first Emmy.

American Airlines, US Airways extend merger termination date in light of upcoming trial. 

BlackBerry explores taking company private and bets future business on services as it haults BBM roll out for iOS and Android. 

Bruegger's and Caribou co-brand in growth effort.

Chanel named coolest fashion brand by UK survey. 

Darden Restaurant Group makes job cuts.

ESPN launches new ad campaign for SportsCenter.

Fiat plans to buy GM share of their diesel joint venture.Continue reading...

car talk

Fiat-Chrysler Chief Marchionne Plays Poker with UAW

Posted by Dale Buss on September 19, 2013 06:17 PM

Forgive United Auto Workers officials if they are wary of the trademark sweaters worn by Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. They're worried that he might be hiding some cards up his sleeve.

The two sides continue to be engaged in a multi-billion-dollar game of poker as Marchionne attempts to bring the 42-percent share of Chrysler that Fiat doesn't own under its final control by buying it at the lowest possible price from the union, which picked up the stake just as Fiat gained majority ownership of the US automaker during the 2009 bailout.

Lately, Marchionne has been making noise about filing an initial public offering of Chrysler stock in coming days. Pundits are saying he's bluffing—that what the Fiat and Chrysler boss really wants to do is to get the market to value Chrysler and force the union's employee trust, which owns the Chrysler stake, to bargain a deal once and for all.Continue reading...

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