Posted by Dale Buss on January 19, 2012 03:58 PM
Small cars are facing big problems these days.
Mini this week announced a global recall that impacts 89,000 of its cars in the United States, including its Mini Cooper line, and 235,000 worldwide because of faulty water pumps that can malfunction and have caused some engine-compartment fires. Mini parent BMW is trying to reassure consumers that the move is preventative. Indeed, Mini's documented problem — five of the fires reportedly destroyed cars actually being used by their owners — far eclipses the fire problem in the Chevrolet Volt that has so weighed down that brand lately.
Beyond that speed bump, Mini these days is achieving exactly what the BMW-owned brand has wanted to achieve in the American market: reigning as the undisputed champion of the tiny-car segment, holding off the likes of Smart, Scion and even Fiat.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2012 03:13 PM
Toyota and Honda must be concerned about the here and now after their abysmal 2011s. They're still attempting to get back to par with their global venicle inventories and have been gearing up new products they're hoping will begin attracting Americans back to their brands this year.
But at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, their necessary preoccupation with sales numbers for this month and next month didn't prevent Toyota and Honda executives from turning toward the mid- and long-term future as well.
For Toyota, that meant, among other things, a heavy reckoning with its trailblazing investments in hybrid automobiles and a rather candid assessment of American consumers' continued ambivalence about electrified automobiles. The brand showed off its new Prius c — the "c" in the name is for city — a small entry in its growing "family" of Prius hybrids, and bowed its NS4 concept plug-in hybrid that should see the market around 2015.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2012 04:34 PM
The U.S. economic climes are growing about as balmy as the unseasonably warm weather expected next week when global automotive media and industry executives descend on the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And car brands from Acura to Volvo are poised more than they have been in a few years to try to take advantage of the platform to launch new models, brag about technological innovations, tease with concept vehicles and spin their stories to several thousand curious journalists, bloggers, TV producers and hangers-on.
Overall, NAIAS will feel more like the golden days of yore than a Detroit show has in years. For example, Nissan is making a return to the exhibit after a couple years' absence during the Great Recession. Fuel economy and electrification will continue to be strong themes as they have been for the past few years, but with a slow but steady multi-year recovery in the U.S. market underway, auto brands will be emphasizing "happier" themes such as exterior-design departures and interior connectivity technologies.
Audi plans to use the show to unwrap a concept "Vail" version of its compact Q3 just for the U.S. market, where the company plans to introduce several more models in the years ahead as it tries to supplant BMW as the world's largest luxury-car maker by 2015. Audi sells only about half as many vehicles in the American market as BMW and Mercedes-Benz at this point, but the Volkswagen-owned brand has been growing by leaps and bounds in teh U.S. already. Audi executives have said they're also looking at the idea of making SUVs in the United States as its two German rivals do already.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 9, 2011 05:02 PM
For Toyota, things may still be going from bad to worse. Meanwhile for Honda, things may be moving from absolutely awful to simply unbearable.
On Tuesday, Toyota posted second-quarter results that read like the report card of a company in big trouble. Profits fell by 19 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, as a surge in the yen weighed on Toyota's overseas profits. Toyota continued to struggle to restore its global supply chain after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, to supply its dealers in North America and elsewhere with all the vehicles they are used to having in their showrooms. Even by the end of last month, one month after the close of the third quarter, Toyota still hadn't achieved full supply in the U.S. market.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 12, 2011 11:02 AM
Zeus, the Greek father of Gods and men has not one, but two limited edition Scion Release Series in his garage, apparently: the Hot Lava xB RS 9.0 and the Blizzard Pearl xD RS 4.0.
The self-described "god of awesome" is back by popular demand following his previous performance with the limited edition Scion tC Release Series 7.0 in June. In the two weeks following that appearance, the campaign garnered a thunderous 13.5 million impressions.
"We hinted around at Zeus's personal life in our first campaign, but this time we decided to visit him at Mount Olympus to see how a God really lives," said Ron Lim, creative director ATTIK, which created the campaign. "While the TV spot is too short to talk about anything other than his whips, the online content lets us delve into his unbelievable palace and see how and where the magic happens."
The TV campaign is running on Adult Swim, CBS Sports, Current, Comedy Central, FX, FUEL TV, G4, IFC, and MTV networks. Radio, print, online and outdoor placements target young men and Scion’s YouTube, and Facebook fans will be the first to see behind the scenes content and receive exclusive offers.
Posted by Dale Buss on September 29, 2011 08:59 AM
Amazon launches tablet skirmish against Apple with Kindle Fire.
Darden targets sluggish performance of Olive Garden brand.
DreamWorks may take over distribution of its own films.
Electronic Arts will feature romping Sports Illustrated models in new video game.
Family Dollar keeps expanding.
Ford considers adding 10,000 jobs and moving Fusion production to the U.S. from Mexico, Bloomberg says.
Gas Station TV gets to distribute Bloomberg news content at the pump.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 28, 2011 08:55 AM
Allstate looks to jettison weak agents.
Amazon's iPad challenging Kindle Fire set to be revealed today.
Arnott's promotes Roadies beer chip brand in Australia.
Aston Martin named UK's coolest brand, while Asos tops British digital brand love ranking.
Barclays is Britain's most beefed about banking brand.
BP launches "My Gulf" web series promoting Louisiana Gulf Coast tourism and culture on YouTube.
CBS News confirms Andy Rooney's last 60 Minutes is Sunday.
Esprit value tumbles.
Facebook wins first round in fight with Teachbook.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 8, 2011 08:00 PM
Kia's gains in the U.S. market lately have been rather obscured by the even more impressive performance of its larger, siblling Hyundai brand. But more and more, Kia is earning its own place in the sun as it consolidates share increases and carves out a unique brand identity apart from any other.
One way is by building on its hamsters marketing campaign for the niftily designed Kia Soul mini-car. In the latest ad, the soul-mellowing effect of the Soul and its cargo of fun-loving, gyrating hamsters is so powerful that it prompts combatants in a hard-bitten combat video game to lay down their arms and dance along.
Indeed, Soul is "A new way to roll," starting at prices of under $14,000. The new ad, released just before Labor Day weekend, breaks just in time to welcome new competition to the tiny-car segment in the form of the Fiat 500 and the new Scion iQ, as well as a Smart brand determined to try again in the U.S. market.Continue reading...