Posted by Dale Buss on June 29, 2012 05:36 PM
Fiat and Chrysler are partnering more and more around the world. And the more problematic an area that Fiat's main market, Europe, becomes — while Chrysler continues to tear up the U.S. market — the more likely it is that we'll see still more transatlantic cooperation.
Two of the latest moves reflect the reality of how the fortunes of the two companies have shifted significantly since Fiat helped the U.S. government bail out Chrysler in 2009. One of these is that Fiat is getting closer to re-launching its Alfa Romeo brand in the United States. The other is that Chrysler is boosting output of its Jeep Wrangler in the U.S., a model that is one of Chrysler's best-selling exports.
Make no mistake: Wranglers are selling at a brisk pace Stateside, where the 71-year-old model set an all-time sales record in May; year-to-date sales were up 34 percent. "We're on track to have our best month ever [in the U.S.] for Wrangler in June," Reid Bigland, Chrysler Group's sales chief, told Automotive News.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 28, 2012 08:54 AM
News Corp. board approves company split, with Rupert Murdoch serving as chairman of both entities.
JPMorgan Chase may reach $9 billion in trading losses, New York Times reports.
RIM is expected to report an operating loss as missteps trip up BlackBerry brand.
Airbus plans to build first U.S. factory in Alabama.
Apple plans to overhaul iTunes to improve sharing.
Barclays hit with massive fines for rigging derivatives.
CBS to use neuroscience techniques in new show promos.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2012 05:05 PM
It only makes sense that auto brands should figure heavily in the new Interbrand Best Global Green Brands ranking, with eight of the top 21 brands. Car makers and their petrol partners arguably contribute more to environmental stresses around the globe than any other industry — but they're also working about as assiduously as any business to offset some of that decidedly un-green footprint.
Toyota ranked No. 1 in Interbrand's new list not only among auto companies but among all companies. That's impressive but hardly surprising for a company that essentially invented the hybrid for the mass market and has taken its biggest steps over the last year, of any in the last decade, to extend the Prius franchise and make it more available and more attractive (with some creative marketing moves) to more consumers around the world.
By introducing a less expensive and smaller alternative to its regular hybrid, Prius c, and almost simultaneously a more capacious one, Prius v, Toyota has opened the possibilities of hybrid ownership to millions more people who are attracted by the sterling Prius brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 5, 2012 06:02 PM
Are you a tennis fan? Then we don't have to tell you to watch the French Open. Are you a hardcore tennis fan? Then you might consider not only watching the French Open but getting behind the wheel of a French Open special edition Peugeot.
The tie-up between the venerable French brands to create the time-limited Peugeot 207 CC and 308 CC Roland Garros editions makes sense, and celebrates one of the most important tennis tournaments in the sport of tennis. Luxury (and less luxurious) lifestyle brands have a longstanding relationship with automakers, with varying degrees of success (and excess).Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2012 09:00 AM
Apple gears up for "incredible" new products and focuses on TV.
RIM prospects dim further as BlackBerry wanes.
Pepsi inks biggest marketing deal yet for Twitter.
Airbus woes give Boeing some breathing room on next plane.
Allstate leads insurers to best start in nearly a decade in wake of fewer natural disasters.
BYD defends electric car after crash.
British Airways touts "height cuisine."
Caterpillar faces resistance to deal from stirking machinists.
Charles Schwab confronts impulse buying in social campaign.
CNN signs Anthony Bourdain to weekend show.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 23, 2012 11:01 AM
Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and Audi have had hot hands lately in terms of strong vehicle introductions, rising brand strength, and market-share conquests in the United States. And in the view of executives at automakers and top-tier suppliers in the U.S. market, those four brands — and two companies — have the best chance of adding to their share gains in the next five years of any marques in the industry.
In fact, the consensus of the 200 executives interviewed recently by Booz & Co., the consulting firm, wasn't even close: 78 percent of them figured Hyundai and Kia, which are owned by the same Korean chaebol, was most likely to pick up share, and 72 percent of them tabbed VW and Audi, owned by Volkswagen AG.
The two companies were far ahead of all other automakers in the poll. Ford, with 38 percent; BMW/Mini, 31 percent; Toyota/Lexus and Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat, 28 percent, were the next finishers.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2012 03:02 PM
In his recent interview on 60 Minutes, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned only two future products: a new Maserati SUV (the China-oriented Kubang) that will be built in Detroit, and the upcoming Dodge Dart compact sedan, which is beginning to roll off a Chrysler assembly line in Belvedere, Ill. One of his main points to CBS correspondent Steve Kroft was that Dart will be "mechanically" sound.
Chrysler needs that to be the case. Amid all of the success and progress that the company has enjoyed since getting up off the mat in 2009 — big sales gains, positive Super Bowl buzz for its Clint Eastwood "Halftime in America" commercial, a raft of generally well received new products (including a key green car nod for the Chrysler 300) — the one bugaboo that the company hasn't been able to get past is its reputation for poor quality.
Even though it has improved markedly over the last several years, and under a succession of regimes, the company simply hasn't been able to keep pace with rising quality levels across the rest of the industry. Now, Chrysler executives are determined to banish the quality bogeyman once and for all.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 24, 2012 01:51 PM
There's nothing like robust sales and some good, old-fashioned TV commercials to bolster a brand's perception with the public. That's exactly what's been happening lately with Chrysler, according to YouGov's Brand Index.
Some worried that Chrysler would have a difficult time finding the right positioning after its 2011 Super Bowl-originated "Imported from Detroit" theme ran its course, especially without a reprise by Clint Eastwood of his role in the company's halftime commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl.
But judging by the feedback to YouGov, it appears as if Chrysler might have waited too long to move past Eminem, Dirty Harry, gritty images of downtrodden Detroit, and its vehicles in the midst of it all.
Turns out that Chrysler's new fleet of four TV spots — each of which bolsters an important bit of positioning for one of its four brands — have been all but magical in lifting the perception of the individual auto brands and Chrysler as a whole among those who've seen them.Continue reading...