Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2012 01:08 PM
Toyota may be on the rise again in the U.S. market, but it still can't get the floor-pedal thing right.
The automaker has just been ordered to pay a record fine of $17.35 million for failing to report a safety defect to the U.S. government in a timely manner, the U.S. Department of Transportation said. The fine is a record civil penalty for a single violation and the maximum that the federal government can assess.
And the thing is, the fine relates to the same troubled region of its automobiles — the intersection between floor mats and floor pedals — that was behind Toyota's catastrophic unintended-acceleration problems in 2010 and the company's payment of nearly $50 million in total fines for reporting violations on sticking gas pedals and some other matters.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 13, 2012 09:04 AM
Google releases new map app for Apple iPhone, shuts down shopping search in China, and makes porn harder to find, as CEO defends tax avoidance.
Apple settles European e-book price-fixing probe with publishers.
Applebee's interviews creator of #HireKevin campaign.
BMW and Boeing plan to collaborate on making carbon fiber.
Barclays joins industry cost-cutting wave, eliminating 2,000 jobs.
Berkshire Hathaway plans rare buyback of holder's stock.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 11, 2012 08:57 AM
Delta buys 49% of Virgin Atlantic, as Virgin's Aer Lingus hookup mocked by Ryanair and Branson bets on future of the brand. American Airlines, meanwhile, says decision on pursuing US Airways merger is coming soon.
HSBC to pay record U.S. penalty on money laundering.
Diageo terminates talks on "future" of Jose Cuervo.
AIG shares yield $7.6 billion to U.S. government, boosting taxpayers' overall profit to nearly $23 billion.
AOL postpones premiere of hip-hop-inspired TV ad.
Boeing faces revived concerns about 787.
Burberry launches Christmas events and global review.
Burger King expands digital marketing.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2012 02:22 PM
As vehicles cluster closer together at ever-higher levels in objective measures of quality, such as manufacturing defects and "fit-and-finish," more subjective indicators are helping to differentiate brand perceptions about "quality." Customer treatment in dealer showrooms and dealings with brands' retail reprentatives increasingly are one of those.
Obviously, Lexus and Mini have a firm grip on this increasingly important dynamic. Lexus finished first for the second straight year among luxury brands in the US according the latest annual rating by J.D. Power & Associates of customer satisfaction with the auto-buying experience, and MINI finished first among mainstream brands for the third time in a row.
Power based its findings on 32,000 owner surveys in May, measuring satisfaction with the selling process at dealerships where they made their purchase and at any store where they shopped but didn't buy, according to Automotive News. Overall for the industry, greater consumer satisfaction with salespeople helped raise the general score.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 04:45 PM
More auto brands are jockeying to be able to take your pulse instead of quicken it when you drive. Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and other makes are joining Ford in developing, researching and — in some early cases — deploying body-monitoring technology that addresses everything from driver sleepiness to low blood sugar.
In-vehicle biometrics and telematics is an interesting trend at a time when some automakers continue to struggle to make the very basics of passenger-compartment information technology understandable and acceptable to vehicle owners, such as the controls for on-board audio systems and smartphone connections.
But at the risk of being left behind by some new technology applications that catches consumers' fancy, auto companies are combining major advances in their own electronics with leaps in medical-monitoring technology largely in the hopes of appealing to an aging population, as noted by the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 09:06 AM
Airbus and Boeing aim at each other in advertising spat.
CNN prospects weighed under Jeff Zucker.
Canadian Club launches "Join the Club" red-meat campaign.
Carnival apologizes to gay passengers after forbidding drag dress on cruise.
Chevrolet sees Volt ranked as best-loved car by Consumer Reports.
Costco to spend $3 billion on special dividend ahead of fiscal cliff.
Exxon faces short-term shortage of oil supplies.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 31, 2012 05:13 PM
Ford's fall from grace with Consumer Reports has been breathtaking. The brand finished in second-to-last place, 27th of 28, in the magazine's closely watched, newly released automotive-reliability ratings — just three years after the bible of product quality praised Ford as the only domestic automaker with "world-class reliabilty."
Stunningly, Ford still apparently hasn't corrected its huge problems — real and perceived — with its MyFord Touch system, which continues to confuse some customers even a year and a half after Ford publicly acknowledged the usability problems with what is essentially Sync 2.0.
"They've put out some updates to try to address some of those problems for both the transmissions and the infotainment controls, but it doesn't seem to be enough," Jake Fisher, director of testing for Consumer Reports, commented on the most and least reliable rankings to the Detroit Free Press.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2012 05:35 PM
Lexus is ready to cap a satisfying comeback year with one of the biggest satisfactions of all: the launch of a new version of its flagship LS sedan. The Toyota-owned luxury brand's other three main sedans each handily outsells the top-of-the-line LS in volume, but none is as important as the LS in terms of setting the table for the Lexus brand -- and for its customers.
That's why Lexus plans a full-out marketing campaign for the new LS, a car that is so "refreshed" that it includes "more than 3,000 new parts." The effort is aimed at highlighting what a Lexus press release called "the thrilling, exclusive lifestyle LS drivers live."
And make no bones about it, this campaign doesn't apologize for the high-end lifestyle one presumably needs to afford an LS, nor for the people who can afford to live it — and to buy the car. The snob appeal is overt and unapologetic, because Lexus wants to get more fully back on the radar of U.S. luxury-car buyers who may have fallen away to some of the competition during the 18 months of overall supply difficulties for the brand and of waiting for the new LS.Continue reading...