Thedetroitburea | TheDetroitBureau.com
Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘thedetroitburea’

First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano

A flagship crossover that remains a design benchmark.

by on Dec.08, 2014

The 2015 Nissan Murano shows off its V-Motion grille and floating roof design.

When the original Nissan Murano made its debut a dozen years ago, it stood in sharp contrast to the rest of the SUVs of that era. Conventional wisdom suggested that U.S. buyers wanted rugged utes capable of serious off-roading – or at least looking like they could handle the roughest trails.

One of the first car-based entries in the midsize segment, the Murano didn’t try to disguise what it was with lots of macho cladding. Instead, Nissan’s five-seat crossover put a premium on edgy styling, improved handling and reduced fuel consumption.

Stay on Top of the News!

Today, Murano has plenty of competition in a booming segment where car-based crossovers handily outsell traditional, truck-based SUVs. In fact, it’s becoming all but impossible to find a classic body-on-frame ute in a market where even the Ford Explorer and Nissan’s own Pathfinder have migrated to car-based platforms. But as Nissan makes clear with the launch of the 2015 Murano, its midsize model remains a styling trendsetter. (more…)

After Gloomy Forecast, Ford Earnings Narrowly Beat Expectations

But numbers still down sharply for Q3.

by on Oct.24, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields with the 2015 Edge, one of the models critical to turning around its earnings slump.

Ford’s third-quarter earnings report is a classic test of whether you want to view the glass as half-empty or half-full.

The maker recently warned that it would deliver a substantially lower profits due to problems in Europe and other markets, as well as having to cover the cost of a big recall. And, indeed, earnings for the July to September period plunged sharply, from $1.3 billion a year ago to just $835 million.

Earnings News!

The pre-tax profit, at $1.2 billion, was off from a year-earlier $2.6 billion. But at 24 cents a share, that nonetheless managed to beat the 19-cent consensus estimate, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. (more…)

GM Earnings Crushed by Recall Costs

"Nevertheless, we remained profitable," said CEO Barra.

by on Jul.24, 2014

Earnings on new full-size models, such as this 2015 Chevy Tahoe, should boost GM's earnings going forward, analysts forecast.

The fallout from the ignition switch recall and other safety-related problems cut deeply into General Motors’ profitability for the second quarter, the maker reported.

Net income for the March to June period tumbled to just $200 million, or 11 cents per share, compared to a $1.2 billion net for the second quarter of 2013. The GM balance sheet was hammered during the latest period by one-time costs, most of them related to ongoing recalls, as well as for setting up a new victims’ compensation fund. Earnings before the recall-related charges would have been 58 cents a share.

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

Beyond the Numbers!

“The ignition switch put tremendous pressure on our earnings,” GM chief executive officer Mary Barray told analysts and reporters. “But nevertheless we remained profitable.”

Barra also said the sweeping recalls, which so far this year cover 29 million units, have not deterred GM from pushing ahead with its effort to improve its competitive position around the world.

(more…)

New Mitsubishi’s Mileage No Mirage

With new 3-cylinder engine, maker targeting 44 mpg.

by on Mar.29, 2013

Mitsubishi looks to make inroads into the U.S. market with the 2014 Mirage.

Struggling Mitsubishi has had a hard time getting onto consumer radar screens in recent years, but it’s betting that potential buyers will pay attention to the news that its new small car is rated at 44 miles per gallon.

And that’s no mirage. Or, wait a second, yes it is, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage. Targeting subcompact competitors like the Ford Fiesta, the new Japanese offering is making its debut at the New York International Auto Show this week.

The Last Word!

The Mitsubishi Mirage will offer a new 74-horsepower 1.2-liter inline-three engine paired with a five-speed manual engine. There’s also an optional CVT. And, yes, that’s three cylinders – a layout we haven’t seen much of in the U.S. market in recent years.

(more…)

Audi Throws Down Gauntlet on Diesel

Maker introduces four new models in LA – but wants government backing for high-mileage technology.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Audi of America CEO Scott Keogh with two new diesel models - and a sign suggesting the fuel the technology has helped owners save.

Audi will introduce four new diesel models in 2013, technology the maker says has already allowed its buyers to reduce their fuel consumption by nearly 5 million gallons in recent years.

But during a news conference at the 2012 LA Auto Show, U.S. Audi chief Scott Keogh took shots at state and federal regulators whom he accused of unfairly favoring battery-based technologies, rather than diesel, as a way to curb American dependence upon imported oil. He called on officials to take steps that would help boost demand for diesel powertrains in the U.S. – as is already the case in Europe.

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

Subscribe Now! It's Free!

“These are cars that demand no sacrifice,” proclaimed Keogh as he introduced the upcoming diesel versions of the Audi A6, A7, A8 and Q5 models. That’s a big part of the diesel pitch, as the latest versions of that technology can deliver significant performance and plenty of towing power, along with higher mileage. By comparison, hybrids and other battery-based technologies require trade-offs such as reduced performance or shorter range.

(more…)

Team Lotus Buys Caterham Cars

Both trace roots to Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Caterham rolls out a special-edition 7 to celebrate its sales to Lotus.

Team Lotus Enterprises has expanded its motorsports base by acquiring Caterham Cars, an investment group led by London-based Corven Ventures. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Both makers trace their heritage back to Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, the British sports car company – with which there are no current ties.

News You Can Use!

“Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world. As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence,” said Lotus chief Tony Fernandes, who also owns Air Asia.

To celebrate the new deal, Caterham plans to produce a limited run of 50 Team Lotus Seven club racers bearing the team’s green and yellow colors.

(more…)

Milestones: Koç and Ford Motor 50th Anniversary

The Turkish joint venture now builds and exports Transits.

by on Jun.28, 2010

Ford's first pan-European product replaced two unrelated van models in Britain and Germany.

Ford Otosan, an automotive joint venture that traces its roots back to industrial pioneers Henry Ford and Vehbi Koç marked its 50th anniversary today with a celebration in Istanbul.

During the past five decades, Ford Otosan has been an integral part of Ford Motor Company’s international operations, most recently building successful vehicles such as the Ford Transit, Ford Transit Connect and Cargo commercial vehicles. Koç links to Ford go back eighty years to Henry I.

More than 500 guests joined the celebration, including Rahmi M. K Koç, honorary president and chairman of Ford Otosan, Bill Ford, Ford executive chairman, John Fleming, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe and Lewis Booth, Ford chief financial officer. The celebration also included Turkish federal, state and local government officials and cultural leaders.

Ford Otosan is a fully integrated operation, including sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing and parts distribution.

Ford Otosan is a fully integrated operation, including sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing and parts distribution. Ford Motor Company and the Koç Group each hold a 41% stake in the joint venture with the remaining 18% held publicly on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. It employs about 7,600 employees at its manufacturing operations in Kocaeli and Inönü, its parts distribution center in Kartal and its engineering center in Gebze.

“The foundation of what became Ford Otosan grew out of the drive and vision of Henry Ford, and Vehbi Koç,” said Rahmi M. K Koç. “Their passion and commitment continues to drive the Ford Otosan business forward today. We’re proud that Turkish automotive industry started with Ford Otosan.”

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

Talking Turkey!

Otosan was founded in 1959, and in 1977, the company signed a license agreement with then-Ford Chairman Henry Ford II and the company’s name was changed to Ford Otosan. In 1997, Ford increased its share of ownership to 30% growing to 41% in 1997.

(more…)

Toyota Begins Auris Hybrid Production in UK

Sales of 30,000 annually for first full hybrid made in Europe?

by on Jun.28, 2010

Auris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) will be sold, eventually, in 32 countries.

The Toyota Plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, is now making the new Auris hybrid, the first full-hybrid vehicle to be built in Europe, although some citizens of the UK might reject the “European” characterization.

Sales of 30,000 are targeted for the first year, with customer deliveries starting this July. Eventually, Auris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) will be sold in 32 countries.

The Auris, not on sale in North America, comes in 3- and 5-door hatchback models derived from the Corolla platform. The hybrid will start it sales life as a 5-door hatch. (See Toyota Auris HSD Concept Appears at Frankfurt)

The design of Auris HSD has evolved from the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Prius  was launched in Japan in 1997 and in Europe and North America in 2000. Prius is now in its third generation. Auris is very close in size and performance to the Prius, creating a potential marketing problem. I assume Toyota will offer the Auris for fewer Euros, and keep the Prius the premium nameplate.

Auris is similar in size and performance to the Prius, creating a potential marketing problem.

Prius, of course, much to the astonishment of the European and American automotive establishments was a major technological breakthrough  – providing huge fuel economy benefits, as well as a “Green” marketing triumph for Toyota.

Toyota plans to introduce full hybrid drive technology across the company’s entire model range by the early 2020s.

“It is a proud day for Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK as we celebrate the official start of production of the Auris with Hybrid Synergy Drive, yet another premium quality model to be Built in Britain,” said Katsunori Kojima, Managing Director of TMUK.

(more…)

Marty’s Marketing Minutia – Super Bowl Special

Hype, honor, hope, humor, hypocrisy, hierarchy and ho hum

by on Feb.05, 2010

The clock is ticking down. This Sunday, February 7, at 6:00 PM, between 95 and 100 million people are predicted to turn to CBS to watch, nosh, wager, cheer, jeer, drink and honor America’s favorite sporting event: the annual extravaganza of Super Bowl 44 or as the NFL demands, Super Bowl XLIV.  Roman numerals are much classier, right?

But 51% of the viewers, according to new study from the Nielsen Results, (based on a sample of 25,000 households in the company’s Homescan panel), said they enjoy the commercials that run during the game more than the game itself.

Thus Sunday is more than just a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. It is the new American institution known as the Cockamamie Commercials Competition or the Stupor Bowl of Advertising. Take your choice.

Some 36 different advertisers are joining the fray this year, but to us it’s all about the car commercials! This year five automotive advertisers are in one helluva money-spending battle not just to entertain us, but to achieve a lofty marketing goal. Well, at least some are.

Taking the digital in-game field will be Audi, Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai and Kia who will be spending millions despite the overall dismal results of 2009. There’s a non-discount rate of $3,000,000 for each :30-second commercial in XLIV.  The buy is scattered. Some brands have bought pre-game, half time, post game and promo positions at a lower, but still significant, rate. CBS isn’t cheap. The audience is huge.

Until recently advertisers kept their new commercials secret until the game itself.  I recall hiring a special company to videotape the entire game, and then edit it down to just the commercials, for Monday after during the game meeting with my former agency’s creative staff.  And it wasn’t cheap.  But the web, You Tube and technology has changed all that – only Chrysler has kept its commercial secret.

Here’s the line on who is doing what and whom should win the best automotive commercial(s) award as well as the odd, interesting and strange trivia and stats that have become part of the annual Sunday bash.

Hyundai is the odds on favorite

The not-so-little company that could and did shake up the automobile industry has scored big, not only with the award-winning Genesis sedan, and it unique assurance program, but by backing its superb spots with the voiceovers of Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges.

The question is: does quantity equate with quality?

In a phone interview with Joel Ewanick, Hyundai’s vice president of marketing, I learned the “watch out, here we come brand” is going to have eight, yes eight Super Bowl commercials. “Why the heavy lifting?” I asked.  Ewanick responded, “We are focusing this year’s Super Bowl campaign on the all-new 2011 Sonata, the most significant new model introduction in our history.”

In last years XLIII, Hyundai ran just two spots, so this year’s buy equals that of some really big advertisers in the fast food and beer categories.

I could provide a detailed description of each commercial, which seems rather stupid when you can watch them by clicking but I will provide a little info. Here’s the starting line-up for Hyundai’s strong campaign.

Here’s the pregame show  line-up:

In-game commercials   (more…)

GM Agrees to Take on Product Liability Claims

Chrysler walked from liability under Chapter 11.

by on Jun.29, 2009

While Chrysler used bankruptcy laws to walk away from product liability claims, GM officials -- CEO Fritz Henderson shown here -- will remain liable after emerging from Chapter 11.

While Chrysler used bankruptcy laws to walk away from product liability claims, GM officials -- CEO Fritz Henderson shown here -- say it will remain liable after emerging from Chapter 11.

General Motors Corp. and the Obama administration Auto Task Force have agreed that the new GM will cover all product liability and lemon law claims after it emerges from behind protection of an expedited bankruptcy.

The decision to accept the product claims, which was filed over the weekend with the federal bankruptcy court, represents a departure from the Chrysler bankruptcy but also removes one of the most contentious objections to GM’s sales of assets designed to release GM from Chapter 11.

Nevertheless, the bankruptcy court has still received 750 written objections to the plan to sell the automaker’s best assets to the new company, which would be financed by billions in government loans. GM responded the objections in an “omnibus” answer that dealt not only with the product liability issue but objections by salaried retirees and unsecured creditors.

GM’s lawyer’s dismissed the claims of the unsecured creditors by citing a long list of cases, including the Chrysler bankruptcy, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before being decided in the smaller maker’s favor. GM’s brief also dismissed claims that the union VEBA had gotten a better deal than creditors.

(more…)