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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...

auto motive

Lexus, MINI Dealers Still Best: J.D. Power

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...

brand news

In the News: Chevy, Costco, Exxon and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 09:06 AM

In the News

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...

auto motive

LA Auto Show Preview: Jaguar Fuels Desire for New F-TYPE and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 27, 2012 10:09 PM

When the Los Angeles Auto Show holds its media preview on Wednesday, it'll become more apparent than ever that in the world of cars, as in some other things, California remains vastly disconnected from the rest of America.

That's because the nation's strictest emissions standards and laws mandating electric-vehicle sales put a premium for auto brands on showing the best side of their electrification efforts at the L.A. show. And so while EVs have continued to sell at a snail's pace across most of the rest of the United States, California has become a robust market for electric vehicles.

It's also America's hottest market for sexy cars, of course, which is why Jaguar USA is at the LA Auto Show. The brand hosted a pre-show event Tuesday night to unveil the all-new F-TYPE two-seater. It also unveiled the trailer for Desire, a short film being released next year, which stars Emmy Award-winning actor Damian Lewis, produced by Ridley Scott Associates with music by Lana Del Rey. Check it out below along with other previews at the LA Auto Show.Continue reading...

china

MINI Goes Big in China to Take On a Major Rival: VW's Beetle

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 8, 2012 05:32 PM

Last weekend, the latest leg of MINI's "The Chinese Job" contest was broadcast live on China's video sharing site Youku. The winner of the ongoing driving contest wins the use of a special-edition MINI for a year.

The third annual "Chinese Job" — a spoof of The Italian Job, the film that made the Mini famous, of course — comes as more and more of the distinctive cars are seen on China's roads. BMW, Mini's parent, hopes that the trend will continue, opening China's first ever Mini dealership in Beijing just weeks ago.

But with VW's Beetle going hard for the same China millennials market, and its own BMW parent pushing its 1 Series, will MINI be able to find a market beyond a small niche of quirk?Continue reading...

survey says

Ford Brand Dinged in Consumer Reports Reliability Ranking

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...

brand news

In the News: P&G, Kimberly-Clark, Twitter and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 25, 2012 09:03 AM

In the News

P&G sees profit soar and revenue drop in latest earnings report.

Kimberly-Clark pulls back in Europe.

Twitter encourages brands to find and use their authentic voice.

Apple earnings report on Thursday will be closely watched.

AT&T sees slowing in wireless-subscriber growth.

Barbie CMO looks to Royal Caribbean cruise experience launch in new year.

Best Buy shakes up management.Continue reading...

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