With Brands Revived and New Products In Tow, Toyota, Lexus Push Niche Marketing

Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2013 07:12 PM

As Toyota and Lexus have regained footing in the US market and restocked their product portfolios, the brands' marketing has taken on new confidence as well. And like the rest of the auto industry, Toyota and Lexus are pursuing niches of American consumers with more verve than ever as they seek to squeeze every last sale out of a vibrant US car market.

One thing Toyota is doing now, for example, is experimenting with a partnership with DirecTV to zero in on would-be customers for the all-electric version of its RAV4 SUV. Even though Toyota essentially has given up on EVs as a high-volume proposition—in favor of flogging the Prius hybrid brand—the company is attempting to target tech-savvy early adopters in major California cities using DirecTV subscriber data to reach narrow slices of consumers.

"A national campaign doesn't make sense," Dionne Colvin, Toyota's national media marketing manager, told Automotive News. "But we do want to get the message out."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, BlackBerry, Facebook and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 19, 2013 09:17 AM

In the News

Apple garners upbeat reviews for new iPhone and iOS 7.

BlackBerry slashes workforce by up to 40 percent.

Facebook gets First Amendment protection for “likes.”

Checkers prepares for IPO, report says.

Chili’s sees boost in checks from new table-top ordering system.

Chipotle gets more than 5 million views of Scarecrow documentary.

Dish Network wins legal victory over ABC in DVR fight.

Fisker Automotive sees its green loan from US headed for auction.Continue reading...


No Shortage of Sporty Glitz at Frankfurt Despite Still-Suffering Euro Auto Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2013 11:52 AM

Two topics have dominated industry chatter at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week: When will the European market begin recovering? And what's with all the new SUVs that are on display at the show?

Oh, and 'Where's Waldo?' Or, rather, why did Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne abruptly cancel his planned appearances at the show?

There are signs that sales in Europe at least have flattened out. But while UK car sales rose in August by 11 percent in their 18th consecutive month of growth, that has been a contrast to Germany, France, Italy and Spain, all of which have continued to suffer sales declines.

"Clearly, Europe still has a long way to recover," Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America Group, told brandchannel. "Eastern and Central Europe are showing a few more signs of rebound, but they're still relatively weak."Continue reading...

brand strategy

Toyota Plots Improved Hybrids and Customer Care to Regain US Share

Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2013 06:22 PM

Toyota plans to keep pressing the advantages of its renewed mojo in the US market with sportier hybrids, a greater emphasis on customer care and the possible addition of more production in Mexico to supply American customers.

The company has seen its market share in the US slip from a peak of 17 percent in 2009 to around 14 percent this year through July, as it was afflicted by natural disasters, its safety-recall fiasco, and intensified competition that took advantage of Toyota's weakness.

"Of course many customers still believe in Toyota, but some don't trust us," said Kazuo Ohara, CEO of Toyota's US Sales arm, according to Automotive News. "To recover our reputation, we should get back to basics.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Walmart, Nissan, New York Times and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2013 09:31 AM

In the News

Walmart plans to offer health benefits to same-sex domestic partners of US workers.

Nissan says it will have self-driving cars ready by 2020.

New York Times says it was hacked this time, and so was Twitter, HuffPost UK. 

Apple sees judge planning to narrow scope of oversight in e-books case.

BlackBerry weighs spinoff of Messenger service.

Burger King plans burger topped with french fries.

Courtyard by Marriott caters to NFL fans.

Daimler wins French court ruling to resume vehicle sales in France.

Facebook to pay $20 million in class action lawsuit over sponsored stories.Continue reading...

luxury watch

Whether Charging Up Cars or Chilling Out Shoppers, Luxury-Auto Brands Innovate

Posted by Dale Buss on August 21, 2013 07:03 PM

One of the most hopeful signs for the long-term global automotive business is that car brands keep coming up with new ways to please wealthy buyers. These lures attain different levels depending on whether you're Ferrari, Tesla or Lexus, but each brand is demonstrating its bullishness with innovative ways of reaching their target demographics.

Ferrari, for example, plans to field more hybrid vehicles for the ultra-rich crowd in the wake of the success of its $1.3 million LaFerrari. The 963-horsepower hybrid, unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March, is already sold out under CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo's strategy of planned scarcity that boosts a product's cache—and profit margins.

"I don't believe in the electric cars, but I strongly believe in hybrids," Montezemolo told Bloomberg Television. Porsche and Land Rover also are easing into the hybrid business.Continue reading...


Domino's Feeds Tech and Innovation with 'Powered By Pizza' Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2013 10:23 AM

You can dispute the exact fuel, but there's no argument that fast food and late-night gnoshing can power the most successful entrepreneurial dreams. Domino's Pizza is tapping into that reality with a new promotion called "Powered by Pizza" that expands the brand's digital chops while also identifying it with business-building ambitions.

Domino's said in a press release that it "wants to inspire groups—often brainstorming over pizza—with the proper food for thought." So America's No. 2 pizza brand is going to offer gift cards to individuals on the fundraising site Indiegogo who pledge support toward select projects reflecting great and innovative ideas. And in a "Pizzavestments" aspect of the program, Domino's is awarding $500 gift cards to about 30 startup companies throughout the country.

"The reason this campaign works is that people already fundamentally get that it's true: Innovators and creative people and students and everyone around the world use pizza to kind of fuel their late-night productive sessions," Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle told brandchannel. "We're going to give pizza away to people who are generating those new ideas and funding those new ideas." In fact, Doyle himself will sign a letter and cerftificate accompanying the prizes.Continue reading...


Toyota is Making All the Right Moves as It Confirms Strong July Sales in US

Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2013 07:11 PM

Toyota in July outsold Ford in the United States for the first time in more than three years. That was just one reason the Japanese automaker was the biggest winner of the week in the global auto industry as US monthly sales results were revealed today. 

In addition to its 17 percent US sales gain over a year ago, Toyota this week also was expected to report robust profitability and lay down bullish production plans that would make it the first global automaker ever to manufacture 10 million units in a year.

Overall, the industry remained strong, posting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales of about 15.7 million for July, the second-highest monthly mark in six years and an indicator that full-year US sales likely will total around 15.5 million, which would be a 50 percent increase from just four years ago. In July, every automaker posted a sales increase over a relatively weak July 2012.Continue reading...

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