car talk

Daimler Makes a Smart Move with Introduction of Electric Scooter in Europe

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2013 01:42 PM

"Urban mobility" is all the rage with auto makers these days, and none more so than Daimler. Combining this paradigm with the need to goose sales globally for its Smart minicar brand, the company has announced plans to introduce a Smart electric-powered scooter next year in Europe.

Daimler, also parent of Mercedes-Benz, has had trouble getting Smart onto a smooth plateau. The company killed a roadster in 2005 and a four-seater version of Smart in 2006 and has racked up 1.5 billion euros in losses since the brand's launch in 1998.

Even while other brands such as rival BMW, with Mini, and Fiat have figured out how to make and market tiny cars for global masses, Daimler just keeps misfiring with Smart. But the company says it plans to keep trying.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Netflix, Amazon, Ford and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 23, 2013 09:28 AM

In the News

Netflix reports strong subscriber growth.

Amazon may be planning to open a store in London, reports say.

Ford is reaching record profit on growing sales of Fusion, as company extends programmatic ad buying to online video.

Twitter reportedly reaches deal with Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group for hundreds of millions over several years.

Airbus strategy for big A350 is being vindicated.

Apple grapples with hardware-software identity crisis.

Burger King tests delivery in Los Angeles.

Cadillac eyes smaller cities for Chinese luxury share.

Del Taco debuts revamped menu.

DuPont more than doubles profit.

Fisker loses $21 million to US seizure.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt belittles importance of UK taxes.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: BlackBerry Z10, Pepsi, PPR and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on March 22, 2013 09:02 AM

In the News

BlackBerry launches new Z10 smartphone in US today, as CEO says Apple's iPhone is outdated.

Pepsi introduces first new package design since 1997.

PPR, French owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent, announces rebrand to "caringKering with new owl logo.

Nike surges on China rebound, North American results in latest quarterly earnings report.

Asda pulls private-label corned beef from UK shelves over horsemeat discovery as new report finds consumer concern fading. 

Chrysler looks to Nike and Starbucks for inspiration.

Coca-Cola tops British grocery brands ranking as Walkers rises to #2.

Facebook tests yet another timeline design.Continue reading...

brandcameo

Stark Contrast: Iron Man 3's Audi Deal Complicates Product Placement

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 12, 2013 10:31 AM

"Whenever Stark hangs up his suit, the technically-adept billionaire can be seen in the film behind the wheel of the all-electric R8 e-tron sports car prototype," reads the Audi press release announcing the brand's partnership with the upcoming Iron Man 3.

Iron Man's alter ego, Tony Stark, was last seen driving an Acura NSX roadster in 2012's The Avengers. In Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010), Stark drove Audi R8s. A spokesman at Acura's parent company, Honda, told Bloomberg that its role as the official vehicle of SHIELD (and the brand's relationship with Marvel) remain "unchanged."

"This is a strategic collaboration for us," said Loren Angelo, a marketing executive with Audi of America. "Similar to the position of the R8 as an innovation leader, Iron Man's character consistently evolved throughout the trilogy as he masterminds new trends."

In addition to swapping Stark's Acura for an Audi S7 in the third installment, Audi's Iron Man 3 deal will go beyond the R8 e-tron.Continue reading...

social media watch

Poland Spring's #SOTU Social Flop: Rubio Response a Missed "Oreo Moment"

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 12, 2013 11:39 PM

It is now an expectation of any live event that some unforeseen detailed quirk will become the hot meme of the night's social media. Think Oreo during the Super Bowl blackout or "binders full of women."

On Tuesday, during the "opposition response" to President Obama's State of the Union address, one beverage brand got its opportunity when Republican golden boy senator Marco Rubio awkwardly reached for, and drank from, a small Poland Spring bottle.

But neither of the brand's two Twitter accounts had a reply. In fact, both accounts have had dry mouth for years.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: McDonald's, Samsung, Walmart and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 22, 2013 09:02 AM

In the News

McDonald's debuts new packaging featuring QR codes.

Samsung reportedly developing new Galaxy Tab 3 line-up and a tablet.

Walmart toughens ethics policies for suppliers with zero tolerance policy.

AB InBev wins court bid to get back Bud EU trademark for beer.

Boeing faces intensifying probes on troubled Dreamliner.

Caterpillar woes deepen in China.

Cumulus brings country music back to New York City radio.

Daimler commits to innovation in mobility.Continue reading...

auto motive

A Sneak Peek at the Detroit Auto Show

Posted by Dale Buss on December 21, 2012 02:20 PM

The paint isn't even dry yet on the 2012 sales year and already automakers are gearing up for a 2013 that they hope will be even more prosperous. U.S. auto sales defied the economic headwinds this year, and prognostications so far are that they'll lead the way again next year in bringing whatever further measure of recovery comes to America.

That's why the buzz around the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), more commonly known as the Detroit Auto Show, already is stronger than it has been in a few years — at least since before the Great Recession and the GM and Chrysler bailouts.

More than 50 products are slated to be unveiled at NAIAS, which kicks off with a media preview on January 14-15, with most of them being global "reveals." The Chinese will be back after bowing out for a few years.  A number of luxury marques are returning to the show after absences caused by a number of factors; they include Jaguar, Land Rover, Ferrari and Maserati.

Here's a look at what a few brands already have signaled to expect at the show, including the new Toyota Furia, at top:Continue reading...

cause marketing

Pup Gear: MINI and SPCA NZ's Driving Dogs Steer Their Way Into Your Heart

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 11, 2012 12:19 PM

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Meet Monty, Porter and Ginny — three dogs trained by Mark Vette to drive cars in a novel partnership between a local SPCA branch in New Zealand and the automaker that puts a whole new spin on "adoption drive."

The cruising canines were selected by SPCA Auckland as the first crew for the Driving Dogs campaign, and started training two months ago with MINI New Zealand's instructors. Beginning with mock car controls, Monty (the Neil Armstong of the group) graduated to a real car where he spent hours behind the wheel – much like any nervous teenager, practicing his driving skills, while accompanied by a human instructor.

This week, Monty drove the car on his own on Campbell Live on New Zealand television, and social media exploded.Continue reading...

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