Posted by Dale Buss on November 1, 2012 04:01 PM
Fall is usually a good time to sell and buy a pickup truck, and this season is no exception: Today, Ford announced an 8-percent increase in October sales of its F-Series pickup trucks over a year ago; Chevrolet Silverado, up 6 percent; GMC Sierra, up 9 percent; Chrysler's Dodge Ram, up 17 percent; and Toyota Tundra and Tacoma, each up at least 20 percent.
The sales numbers for those truck brands and for the segment as a whole were better than for each nameplate's parent brand overall. So pickups have assumed an important position in driving the overall continuation of the U.S. auto-industry recovery. October auto sales increased by about 7 to 8 percent over October 2011 sales to notch the best October in five years.
But another factor was at work besides seasonality and a still-strengthening industry: The American housing industry seems to have entered a recovery phase, and there's no vehicle segment that benefits more from such a phenomenon than pick-up truck sales, as construction contractors and others begin to express more demand. And as Tim Allen says in the latest Chevy Silverado commercial, at top, "You build a reputation by not breaking down."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2012 09:01 AM
Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and COO John Havens quit unexpectedly; board elevates EMEA CEO Mike Corbat to top spot.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, back from two-week maternity leave, poaches new COO from her previous employer Google.
RIM sees its once-iconic BlackBerry slip into black-sheep territory.
CBS extends CEO Les Moonves for two more years to 2017.
Chrysler opens availability of natural-gas-powered Ram pickup to retail sales.
Facebook opens UK engineering hub to focus on mobile.
Foxconn admits to breaching child labor laws.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 24, 2012 08:55 AM
Apple and Samsung wait for jury to plow through complex case as Apple tries to thwart efforts by Google and its Motorola Mobility to ban iPhone and iPad imports into U.S.
Lance Armstrong says he'll stop fighting U.S. doping authority, faces loss of Tour de France titles.
Best Buy carries out drama with founder over control of company.
Boeing strains to make Dreamliner program profitable.
Bristol-Myers Squibb drops Hepatitis C drug after patient death.
Chrysler mulls boosting Ram truck production to meet rising demand.
Cox Communications debuts multi-platform football-based campaign.
Current TV to turn over half the screen to Twitter during convention coverage.
Daimler mulls building compact Mercedes cars with Renault-Nissan, report says. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2012 04:14 PM
General Motors and Ford have lost some combined momentum these days, as the most impressive relative sales results in the middling automotive recovery now are being turned in by their Japanese rivals and by Chrysler. So once again as in the past, Ford and GM are hoping that their biggest-profit vehicles, full-size pickup trucks, can rally to the companies' aid.
There certainly are some good harbingers for that hope. For one thing, there finally are signs of a recovery in U.S. new-home construction, which is the single biggest factor in encouraging the purchase of new pick-ups.
For July, GM reported 6-percent lower overall sales than a year earlier, thanks in part to fewer cars sales to fleets but also reflecting a 13-percent decline for the month in sales of its dominant pickup-truck line, Chevy Silverado, and a 12-percent drop in sales for its GMC Sierra line. The results set off some alarm in GM observers in part because GM has continued to boost dealer inventories of pickup trucks in advance of a big design change next year, which will idle pickup-truck production for a while.
Meanwhile, Ford's sales overall were off by 4 percent for July. And sales of its F-Series pickups — America's best-selling vehicle line for decades — were flat in July, though they're up by about 12 percent for the year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 02:23 PM
American auto buyers appear to be falling right into the clutches of several auto brands as they switch to smaller new vehicles in response to higher gasoline prices and their need to replace that aging hulk in the garage. Along with better fuel economy, many buyers are gaining amenities, overall better quality and improved functional design than Americans used to get in downsizing their car purchases.
Chevrolet, Kia and Volkswagen are among the leading brand exemplars, as well as beneficiaries, of this trend, according to the conclusions of the annual J.D. Power & Associates APEAL study that was released Wednesday. Each of them has found ways to embody and cater to how Americans are increasingly downsizing with relish, according to the firm's Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 24, 2012 01:51 PM
There's nothing like robust sales and some good, old-fashioned TV commercials to bolster a brand's perception with the public. That's exactly what's been happening lately with Chrysler, according to YouGov's Brand Index.
Some worried that Chrysler would have a difficult time finding the right positioning after its 2011 Super Bowl-originated "Imported from Detroit" theme ran its course, especially without a reprise by Clint Eastwood of his role in the company's halftime commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl.
But judging by the feedback to YouGov, it appears as if Chrysler might have waited too long to move past Eminem, Dirty Harry, gritty images of downtrodden Detroit, and its vehicles in the midst of it all.
Turns out that Chrysler's new fleet of four TV spots — each of which bolsters an important bit of positioning for one of its four brands — have been all but magical in lifting the perception of the individual auto brands and Chrysler as a whole among those who've seen them.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 4, 2012 03:03 PM
The Chrysler Group has posted another spectacular monthly sales result, with March sales up by 34 percent over a year earlier. Americans are buying Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles at a recent-record pace, and there appears to be no end in sight for the company's resurgence nearly three years after the U.S. government accepted its carcass and gave it to Fiat.
Yet there is one big cloud that remains for Chrysler amid all the silver linings: product quality. The company has made huge advances in spiffing up its vehicles as it has overhauled its product line over the last few years, especially in improving the materials and finish of amenities and components in its vehicle interiors. But there's much progress still to be made, which is why the company has invested $20 million over the last year to upgrade vehicle quality at the Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant where the new 2013 Dodge Dart soon will begin rolling off the line in volume.
"We are trying to drive a culture change," Jeff Betts, Chrysler's head of quality, told the Wall Street Journal. "Before we tried to downplay problems, because who wants them ending up in your lap. Now if you pont out a problem we shake your hand, say thank you and fix it."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 30, 2012 01:12 PM
It's finally the "second half" for Chrysler, and this weekend the automaker is rolling out a quartet of new TV ads that pick up where its "Halftime in America" commercial with Clint Eastwood (above) left off during February's Super Bowl. Don't expect anything like the punch delivered by Eastwood's craggy rallying cry or the alleged political innuendo in the spot that ran at halftime of the Big Game, urging Americans not to give up on themselves, their economy or their nation. And, of course — buy a Chrysler.
The new fleet of commercials is somber in tone, reflecting that of the original "Halftime in America" spot. They stick with the notion of making a comeback. And each shows a line at the end of the spot that repeats one of the themes uttered by Eastwood in the Super Bowl ad. But there are no overt references to Detroit as in Chrysler's celebrated advertising of the last year or so, just a few glimpses of a gray and gritty metropolis that might be Detroit. They offer "hope and encouragement," as Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois blogged about them.
Yet the new spots—watch them below—do shed some fresh light on Chrysler's strategy for each of its U.S. brands, depicting the stories of four individuals, each of whom relates to Ram, Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep in particular tell-tale ways. Below, meet Chrysler's post-Eastwood brand ambassadors: Tommy, Shaun, Steven, and Jenny.Continue reading...