car talk

Lexus Promotes Hipper Image in US with Help From CEO Toyoda

Posted by Dale Buss on April 24, 2013 11:42 AM

It's one thing for Lexus to become a more American brand by building vehicles here, which has been announced in recent days, but a bigger challenge might be recasting the Toyota-owned luxury brand as an aspirational marque for younger consumers.

That is Lexus's goal, and it's in the midst of rolling out a number of initiatives to attempt to achieve that.

The brand plans a rollout of a new global marketing campaign in May under the fresh tagline, "Amazing in Motion." It is emphasizing mold-breaking exterior design for the first time in Lexus history, especially through the introduction of a so-called spindle hourglass-shaped grille. And it is even taking a page from a brand as far afield as GQ, by opening a new series of Intersect by Lexus meeting places in Tokyo, Dubai and New York starting this summer.Continue reading...

auto motive

Foreign Auto Brands Look to Expand US Manufacturing Footprints

Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2013 08:02 PM

There remain obstacles in doing it, but there's no denying the strong rush of foreign upscale automakers that are announcing plans to expand production in the United States these days.

Toyota is expected to confirm on Friday morning that it is moving production of its Lexus ES from southern Japan to Georgetown, Ky.; Nissan is looking to build a second US plant for its Infiniti brand, which already makes the JX SUV in Tennessee; and German luxury automakers each in their own ways are expanding American manufacturing footprints that used to be mainly afterthoughts. Mainstream players are participating in the trend too, such as Subaru, which is set to expand US production, presumably at its existing plant in Indiana.

For Toyota, one of the keys to its Lexus decision was several years of appreciation in the value of the yen, which made Japan manufacturing cost-prohibitive. Another key in the Lexus decision was recognition that, after decades of closing the gap, the quality standards apparent in US manufacturing by all brands, and by American workers, finally rivaled those established by Japan in the 80s.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Twitter Music, Burberry and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2013 09:08 AM

In the News

Apple loses throne to Exxon as world's biggest company as its slowdown threatens a $30-billion global supplier web.

Twitter launches music app for iOs devices today.

Burberry sales rise as China growth recovers.

BlackBerry says Alicia Keyes delivers its PowerPoint presentations.

CNN deals with aftermath of erroneous reporting in Boston Marathon investigation.

Carnival plans to spend up to $700 million to upgrade fleet.

Chevrolet says its new Cruze diesel outdoes Volkswagen Jetta diesel in mileage.Continue reading...

brand revival

Volvo Embraces its Unpretentious Customers in Plan to Regain Ground in US Luxury Market

Posted by Dale Buss on April 15, 2013 07:14 PM

Volvo owners always knew they were different from other consumers. Now, the brand is launching a new, integrated advertising campaign in the US that explicitly appeals to the non-materialistic, minimalist ethos which differentiates Volvo aficionados from buyers of other luxury and near-luxury brands.

In the process, Volvo brand stewards hope to finally begin turning around the sales of a franchise whose US results peaked a decade ago, when the company was owned by Ford, and have kept on sliding over the last few years as Ford lost interest and then, in 2010, sold Volvo to Geely, a large Chinese automaker, for $1.5 billion.

Volvo owners' "interpretation of luxury is different but very real," Tassos Panas, vice president of marketing and product planning for Volvo of North America, told brandchannel. "They're more into life's experiences, and more into a Scandinavian simple design [of vehicles] versus a lot of clutter. They are very much luxury customers and love luxury products, but they don't feel a need to impress others."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Deutsche Telekom, The Masters, Toyota and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 11, 2013 09:16 AM

In the News

Deutsche Telekom raises bid for MetroPCS.

The Masters begins at Augusta National today with Tiger Woods again among the favorites.

Toyota and other Japanese automakers recall 3.4 million vehicles over Takata airbag.

Applebee's led first-quarter social media engagement by restaurants.

Barnes & Noble rebrands self-publishing platform PubIt! as Nook Press as it continues to invest in future of Nook brand.

Justin Bieber backs a debit card for teens, from parents.

ConocoPhillips suspends Arctic drilling plan.

Daimler says worsening Europe puts its 2013 profit outlook in doubt.

Dell plans to double sales outlets in China.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Aereo, iPhone 5S, Billabong and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 9, 2013 09:03 AM

In the News

Aereo TV streaming service from Barry Diller faces showdown with News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch, who threatens to take FOX cable-only, as Intel cooks up its vision of future of TV.

Apple, which can now trademark iPad mini in U.S. and captured 74% of mobile app revenue in Q1, reportedly will release new iPhone 5S in "at least" two screen sizes.

Billabong in talks to sell out for $300 million.

Airbus juggles order book to meet record demand for A320neo Jet.

AT&T joins Boeing in backing U.S. cyber bill facing privacy fight.

Audi promotes in-vehicle Wi-Fi in new TV campaign.Continue reading...

car talk

BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz Focus on US and China To Win Global Horse Race

Posted by Dale Buss on April 8, 2013 02:38 PM

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi each badly wants to be the brand at the top of the global automotive-luxury mountain, and each has a strategy for attaining or retaining that pinnacle over the next few years.

But the main action won't be their old stomping grounds in Europe; the sales picture there, even for premium brands, just keeps getting worse as the eurozone slips further into recession.

Instead, it'll be their performances in China and the United States that largely determine which of the three German-bred brands might gain enough traction to put the other two firmly in its rear-view mirror by the end of the decade.Continue reading...

auto motive

Auto Brands Look to Woo Millennials with Entry-Level Luxury

Posted by Dale Buss on April 1, 2013 04:31 PM

American Millennials are the apple of everyone's eye in the auto industry: They're the largest generation in the most reliable car market in the western world. And yet they're proving to be the most elusive in terms of attaching themselves to brands and even to the idea of owning a vehicle.

So automakers are beginning to do some unprecedented things to reach them. Case in point: Toyota executives revealed at the ongoing New York International Auto Show that they're considering converting Scion—which until now has focused on quirky designs and low prices to attract young buyers—into an entry-level "luxury" marque in a strategy that might enable the company to battle more effectively in that important gateway segment for upscale Generation Y buyers.

"Today it's hard to find much value below $18,000 to $20,000" for a car, Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota's North Ameica Region, told Automotive News. "There's going to be a big need in the $25,000 range for a fun-to-drive, nice-looking, value-oriented product."Continue reading...

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