Me Too? Nissan, Infiniti Also Want to Tear Off Huge Chunks of US Market

Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2013 01:38 PM

Many other auto brands are pinning their hopes for global gains on a continued strengthening of the US market and their position in it. So why not Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand? The chiefs of both brands are expressing their intentions to leapfrog other marques in the next few years in large part by persuading more Americans to buy them.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that he has ordered his team to double Nissan's sales in the US by 2017. If Ghosn also means to double market share, that would give Nissan about a 15 percent chunk of American car sales within three years, compared with its 7.7 percent share and sales of 1.1 million units last year, up in volume by 5 percent over the previous year.

With the European market difficult for its sibling Renault brand and other national arenas, including China, proving somewhat iffier, Ghosn has focused on his disappointment with Nissan's recent sales performance in the US and has vowed to correct it. Much of the problem stemmed from difficult and late launches of the redesigned bread-and-butter sedan, the Nissan Altima, and other new models last year.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: YouTube, Amazon, Pfizer and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 6, 2013 09:15 AM

In the News

YouTube close to launching paid subscription channels, reports say. 

Amazon launches first Android app-store in China, ahead of Google

Pfizer lets bashful buyers get Viagra online.

Al Jazeera America plans to open Detroit bureau.

Asustek plans to make small Windows 8 tablets.

Audi considers doubling production at Mexico factory under construction.

Berkshire Hathaway provides peek at era after Buffett.

BuzzFeed takes steps to expand foreign news.Continue reading...

start your engines

Lexus May Be 'Amazing In Motion,' but Mercedes Is More Amazing On Sales Floor

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2013 05:27 PM

With their racing heritage and ongoing participation in the sport, Mercedes-Benz and BMW know something about keeping close competitors in their rear-view mirrors. That's why it may take more than a new branding campaign for Lexus—which also races—to take back its US luxury-market leadership from its German rivals this year.

BMW took the American luxury-segment crown away from Lexus in 2011, when the Toyota-owned brand was dealing with short supplies after the earthquake and tsunmi in Japan, and the German brand has held on to it for the last two years. There's been a lot of speculation that Lexus might be able to regain the No. 1 spot in the segment this year because its supply situation is now fully resolved, and it's got some new products.

But that isn't happening—at least not yet. And actually, in April, Mercedes-Benz strengthened its 2013 lead over BMW in the segment, having finished in second place behind BMW for each of the last two full years. In April, the Mercedes brand widened its sales lead to nearly 4,700 vehicles for the year to date over BMW, with nearly 93,000 sold to BMW's more than 88,000.Continue reading...

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...


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...

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