Posted by Abe Sauer on August 27, 2012 03:05 PM
About a year ago, Volkswagen announced its new "People's Car Project" (自造车) in China. The idea was to crowd source unique concepts from Chinese Internet users. About 120,000 ideas later, VW chose three and displayed them at the Beijing Auto Show in May. One of those three ideas was a VW "Hover Car" (磁悬球形车).
That car is now here. Kind of… It's just one more piece of VW's massive push.
VW Beetle, meet the VW "Moth."
In a promotional video shot in the Chinese city of Chengdu, VW introduces the Hover Car and allows the parents of "Dark520" to take a spin. Dark520 is the handle of the People's Car Project user who suggested the hover project. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 22, 2012 10:17 AM
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne served as a proxy for much the rest of the European auto industry a couple of weeks ago when he complained that "the Germans and French" -- presumably including giant Volkswagen AG -- weren't willing to consider production cuts that could help the entire faltering European market reach more of an equilibrium between supply and demand. VW executives rebuffed Marchionne then.
But VW's real revenge seems to be to continue to have its way with the European auto market and, the company hopes, the rest of the world. VW chief Martin Winterkorn has made no bones about the goal of global sales domination over the next few years for Volkswagen. It's already coming to pass in Europe, and VW also is aiming for far more sales and influence in other crucial markets including China and the United States.
In Europe, VW and its brands -- VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda -- now command a market share of 24 percent, up from about 19 percent in 2004, while the VW brand on its own commands nearly 13 percent. Meanwhile, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Europe's second-biggest automaker, has dropped to a 12 percent share from nearly 14 percent. Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on August 15, 2012 02:03 PM
The 25th anniversary of Shark Week has sparked an early feeding frenzy on social TV check-in app GetGlue, while Discovery Channel has created a host of digital tie-ins (games!) to keep viewers chomping at the bit. Sharp sponsors such as VW are also getting in on the fun, creating a shark cage to promote the 2013 Beetle. Watch its one-minute stunt above, follow along on Twitter, and tune in starting Sunday night.
Posted by Dale Buss on August 3, 2012 04:13 PM
Eurozone difficulties and fading business and consumer confidence in Europe are creating something of a black hole for global automakers in that market. So far, Fiat, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Ford and General Motors seem to be getting the worst of it, while Volkswagen and Toyota struggle to float on top of the difficulties.
The latest development is that politicians and unions are trying to get the Italian government to intervene to reverse Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's proclamation that the company can't give "any indication concerning future investments" in Italy because of the "economic crisis and current difficulties in the European auto market," according to Automotive News Europe.
Italy has been dancing on the fringes of eurozone difficulties along with Spain. And for months, Marchionne has been defying others in his industry by insisting that automakers need to put their heads together and figure out how to pare some of the excess capacity in the continent's car market — before the marketplace does it for them, more brutally. Marchionne even called out Volkswagen leadership this week for not being a team player on that issue.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2012 05:12 PM
This year in the U.S. auto market is looking more and more like a rewind of 2011. Last year, General Motors and Ford, among others, feasted on the lack of availability suffered by Toyota and Honda because of the Big Two Japanese brands' Year from Supply Hell. GM and Ford had just the crop of new small cars that could best take advantage of their foes' problems and steal market share from them.
But now that the impact of the earthquake and tsunami last March, and floods in Thailand last fall, is largely behind them, Toyota and Honda are making up for lost time with a vengeance. Once again this week, when all automakers reported their July sales results for the U.S. market, the two Japanese brands came up big — with year-to-year sales up 26 percent and 45 percent, respectively — while GM sales dipped by 6 percent and Ford by 4 percent.
Toyota ended July once again the industry’s number one retail brand, for the fifth consecutive month, perhaps helped Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2012 02:19 PM
Volkswagen may not be the official auto sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games — that title goes to BMW, which has been providing a sustainable fleet to VIPs and athletes — VW is sponsoring the Dutch Olympics team. Getting in the spirit of the games, VW's marketing team and agency in the Netherlands came up with a cheer-based campaign in the lead-up to the Games that got Dutch fans literally cheering.
As TrendHunter notes, "Up! Holland Up!" gave Dutch fans "the opportunity to win tickets to the London Olympic Games by making a Volkswagen car go as fast as possible—only, instead of driving it the normal way, the participants had to scream and cheer as loud as possible to get the car to move."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 27, 2012 05:17 PM
Volkswagen is by far the dominant automaker in Europe. And Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, arguably is one of the most colorful and forceful personalities in the entire global industry. So it's not surprising that the two forces would create a dust-up when they disagree about a fundamental issue.
Throw in the fact of the spreading European auto recession, and the continent's overall economic troubles, and you've got the recipe for fireworks.
That's exactly what occurred this week after Marchionne used his soapbox as the president of ACEA, the European auto-trade group, to call VW's corporate behavior to task. In remarks published in the International Herald Tribune, the sweater-favoring, shoot-from-the-hip chieftain raked "the French and the Germans" for not reducing production capacity in a shrinking European automotive market.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 27, 2012 01:12 PM
Even as the European auto market suffers in general, the German luxury brands are hatching new ideas to reach well-to-do buyers who are managing to stay above the recessionary fray.
They’re bursting on to the scene with new retailing concepts, including Audi City — which just opened in London in time for the London Olympics crowds — and BMW’s avant garde showroom in Paris.Continue reading...