Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2011 02:04 PM
For 2011, BMW has an 8,000-car lead on Mercedes-Benz for the privilege of supplanting Lexus as the best-selling luxury brand in the United States. And now its executives are expressing confidence not only about this year's race but also about getting off to a fast start in the 2012 upscale-sales derby.
"We have a window to stay No. 1 in the first quarter" of next year, Ludwig Willisch, who took over BMW's North American operations, told Bloomberg this week. His confidence comes in part because BMW is introducing a new 3-Series sedan, an updated version of its classic entry-level vehicle that hits the sweet spot for Millennials who want to move up into the luxury niche. BMW has introduced a redesigned 5 Series sedan and X3 sport-utility vehicle over the last year.
His remark contradicted a view offered in August by his predecessor, who believed that Mercedes — also on the strength of new-product launches — might take a first-quarter lead. Neither did Willisch address the rest of 2012. One factor that he and competitors are acutely aware of is that Lexus is beginning its return to ample supplies of all vehicles this quarter, and by early next year expects to be flush with all of the Lexus vehicles that its highly loyal customers want to buy.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 20, 2011 09:01 AM
Abbott Labs plans to split into two companies.
American Express equalizes health costs for gay employees.
Citigroup agrees to pay hefty fine to settle securities charges.
Daimler dismissed US. head of Mercedes-Benz over personal expenses.
Eni makes big natural-gas find off coast of Mozambique.
Fox's The X Factor gets off to a slow start.
Frito-Lay draws complaint about "immersive" marketing to kids.
Groupon discounts its IPO valuation.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 19, 2011 01:04 PM
Product placement may make a big leap soon if the reboot of the 1981 classic Cannonball Run gets the green light.
New York magazine's website reports that GM is deep "in discussions about backing an update of The Cannonball Run in a deal that would be much larger than your average product placement." Reportedly looking for an "equity stake," GM could go deep into its pockets in a gamble to pack the film with its models, and might even give the "new Corvette the lead."
There are several reasons this might be a disaster — so it's a good thing GM isn't getting involved.Continue reading...
Posted by Matthew Moore on October 19, 2011 11:31 AM
With more than 12 million vehicles sold since the launch of its first generation in 1975, BMW claims the 3 Series is the world’s most successful premium vehicle. The launch of the sixth generation 3 Series looks to continue BMW’s success in the premium segment when it hits dealerships in February.
However, BWM’s announcement marks an important change for the brand, as the base engine in the latest 3 Series will be a turbocharged four cylinder.
For the last decade, BMW — the 15th-ranked Best Global Brand — has relied upon a six cylinder powertrain to drive the 3 Series, but BMW has now fallen in-line with European premium competitors Audi and Mercedes, who also offer turbocharged four cylinder engines as the default option in the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, respectively.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 18, 2011 04:02 PM
Well, 59 cars are better than none. That was the net gain in sales for Smart USA's ForTwo model in September, when it released its first national US TV commercial, over September 2010. That's right, Smart sold just 469 vehicles in the United States last month, about on par with its monthly sales total for all of the first half of the year, and hardly better than a year ago.
But give Smart credit. Mercedes-Benz just took over U.S.-market administration of its brand over the summer from Penske, and installed a new marketing team, and really has only taken the first halting steps toward building brand awareness for Smart, with that initial TV spot, called "Unbig. Uncar," above.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 18, 2011 08:45 AM
Air France replaces CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO is ousted in Daimler exec shuffle, and Olympus shares plunge as its CEO is fired.
Apple sells 4 million iPhone 4S units in first weekend, as Samsung sues to block the device in Japan and Australia and HTC loses Apple patent case in US. Steve Jobs' Silicon Valley memorial service reportedly filled with humor and music, as company prepares to honor late co-founder and report earnings on Tuesday. Starbucks and Apple are also partnering in the UK on free music downloads.
Mattel eyes UK's HIT Entertainment, home to Thomas the Tank Engine and other kids' properties.
Bank of America posts $6.2 billion quarterly profit, while Goldman Sachs reports $428 million loss.
BlackBerry customers receive free apps and tech support to make amends for outages.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 10, 2011 01:55 PM
This week's number one film Robot Rocky Real Steel is a litmus test for which generation one belongs to.
In one generational corner are those who joke that the film as a live adaptation of the old board game Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. In the opposite corner are those who jest that Real Steel is just a boxing movie about the NFL on FOX robot mascot, Cleatus.
But when it comes to the latter, one wonders why FOX's gridiron cyborg wasn't even involved in the film's promotion despite having done similar robot movie tie-ins in the past.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 5, 2011 01:53 PM
True, Mercedes-Benz now trails BMW by about 8,000 vehicles as the two German luxury automakers jockey for designation as the No. 1-selling upscale vehicle retailer in the U.S. market for 2012. The title belonged to Lexus for several years, but Toyota's gold-standard brand has been working hard to rebound from inventory shortages after the natural disaster in Japan in March.
But Steve Cannon, CMO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told brandchannel he likes where his brand is positioned at the moment. Holding steady at #12 on Interbrand's Best Global Brands ranking, the company has introduced a half-dozen new or substantially overhauled models into the American marketplace this year.
Mercedes-Benz hasn't yet realized most of the anticipated sales punch from those introductions, because early launches, such as a new CLS sedan and SLK convertible, were relatively low-volume nameplates. The most recent, such as the C-Class sedans and M-Class SUVs, are higher-volume, bread-and-butter products.
Given that new products typically drive sales increases, Cannon believes that Mercedes-Benz is sitting pretty heading into 2012.Continue reading...