Posted by Dale Buss on October 31, 2012 04:12 PM
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been busy this week denying what he won't do and sharing what he wants to do. And everything he has said has implications for the company, its brands and consumers on four continents.
Of most immediate importance, Marchionne was compelled to inject himself into the U.S. presidential campaign this week after a Romney TV commercial and radio spot in battleground Ohio highlighted his plan to build Jeeps in China.
It could be inferred from the Republican nominee's spot that Jeep jobs might leave Ohio and Michigan in such an endeavor — a suggestion that Marchionne swiftly rejected. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also said in a statement released by Romney's campaign: "GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas. These are facts that voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making."
An irked Marchionne released a statement to assure Chrysler employees and the public that the company's commitment to U.S. production of Jeeps, which has been expanding lately, was secure, stating "I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China." GM also refuted the Romney campaign claims.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 26, 2012 12:55 PM
Ford is experiencing a case of deja vu, and it doesn't like what it is seeing (again). Ford and Renault executives this week voiced concerns about the competitive effects of a French-government rescue deal for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
As the only one of the U.S. Big Three that didn't accept the offer of a federal-government bailout in 2009, Ford to rely instead on its own huge bet on its future financed by private capital and led by CEO Alan Mulally. But neither did Ford at the time object to the U.S.-taxpayer bailouts of GM and Ford.
This time around, however, Ford sees things differently, for at least two reasons. First, the European auto market seems to be headed on a further downward trajectory, whereas industry hopes in the U.S. in 2009 were for a turnaround that, in fact, soon materialized.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 25, 2012 05:51 PM
With major automotive markets in China cooling and in Europe crumbling, it's going to be tougher for the world's leading car makers to change places. But during the third quarter, Volkswagen still moved closer to its goal of nabbing the worldwide sales-leadership mantle because it outperformed the current title holder, General Motors, in China.
After trailing GM in China for eight years, Volkswagen edged ahead in third-quarter sales, with the automaker's deliveries jumping by 21 percent during the period -- almost triple GM's growth, according to Automotive News Europe. China is already the biggest market for both companies.
Both companies apparently gained from the fact that Chinese buyers have turned away from Japanese brands because of geopolitical tensions between China and Japan. But Volkswagen also benefited from one major advantage over GM.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 25, 2012 09:03 AM
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...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2012 04:04 PM
At this point, automakers are just trying to keep ahead of the cratering of the European market, like some Indiana Jones character who's attempting to leap to the other side of a chasm before his footing completely gives away.
Just about every carmaker selling in Europe is offering deep price discounts, slashing costs, planning to close plants, reducing sales forecasts, redirecting domestic output to export markets, posting losses, appealing for more government aid — or some combination thereof. And they are far from achieving an equilibrium in their scaleback as they cope with the steady worsening of a five-year sales slump that isn't forecasted to end before 2015.
"It is unclear if all carmakers will survive without government help," Volkswagen Group CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch said recently, according to Automotive News Europe.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2012 09:00 AM
Lance Armstrong is stripped of titles and banned from cycling for life by international body.
Nissan joins hybrid parade.
Virgin's four-star hotels are coming to NYC.
AIG CEO defends company's "free lunch" to New York mag.
American Idol sees ad rates fall.
Ancestry.com agrees to $1.6-billion takeover deal.
Apple creates buzz with plans for smaller iPad as school sales buoy its tablet lead.
BP sells entire Russian stake to Rosneft.
Banana Republic plans to bring back Mad Men collection.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 17, 2012 04:35 PM
Growth in auto sales may be slowing in China from the breakneck pace of a year or two ago, but it's still the most important long-term car market in the world. That's a main reason Chinese consumers are now seeing a new TV and print campaign for the updated Beetle.
China is Volkswagen's largest sales region — recently passing the US to become its top region for its luxury Porsche and Bentley brands — and has been a driver for the automaker's global sales volume and profit. Volkswagen sold 2.3 million vehicles in China alone in 2011, up 17 percent from 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company even reshuffled top management last summer in part to make sure it wasn't losing any traction in China.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 15, 2012 11:59 AM
China is the second latest economy in the world, every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse!); but who's got the time?! Enjoy these China bites that will make you look like a keen China branding observer. Today's round-up: Lenovo ousts HP, Diageo becomes Diabaijiu, auto downshift, Looper's China product placement, mocking the iPhone 5 and more.Continue reading...