Archives for April 2014

Manchester United sponsorship is looking less like a great deal for Chevrolet every year

Chevrolet-Manchester_United-shirt-sponsorship-dealThe seven-year, $ 559 million sponsorship deal that Chevrolet signed in 2012 with English Premier League football/soccer club Manchester United is starting to look like a costly mistake as time goes by. The deal already cost General Motors global marketing chief at the time Joel Ewanick his job, two months after it was signed. Ewanick then defended his decision by declaring “It was clear that the deal would bring Chevrolet increased brand exposure, purchase consideration and awareness around the world worth “over four times” the sponsorship’s cost. […] We crunched more data than I’ve ever seen. We had three separate media and consulting firms take a look at it and tell us what they thought it was worth. […] The way this was going to work over time, I would say that for the amount of money we were talking about, it was the biggest no-brainer I’ve seen.”

However, less than eighteen months after the official announcement of the deal, and even before the Chevrolet bowtie logo was supposed to appear on the official Manchester United shirts, General Motors announced it would withdraw Chevrolet from the European market. GM officials were quick to point out that Manchester United has a worldwide fan-base and that the English Premier League is the most watched football competition in the world, reaching an estimated 643 million households in 212 countries around the world. On top of that, the club’s regular appearance in the UEFA Champions League would still offer the brand the worldwide exposure it was looking for, as this competition is watched by 360 million households, some of which should be incremental to the EPL viewers.… Continue Reading …

Chrysler has almost reached the goals of Marchionne’s 2009 plan

fiat-chrysler-ceo-sergio-marchionne-five-year-turnaround-planWhen Fiat took control of Chrysler in 2009, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne drew an ambitious five-year turnaround plan for the bankrupt American automaker, promising better product, improved quality, higher sales and profitability and independence of government ownership by 2014. On May 6th, a new five-year plan will be announced, which means it is time to look back at the previous plan and see how the company has fared in the past half decade.

Worldwide sales

Marchionne promised to more than double Chrysler Group sales from 1,3 million units in 2009 to 2,8 million sales in 2014. These numbers may be a bit misleading, as 2009 was a disastrous year for Chrysler, and a two month production shut down during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure didn’t help either. But still, when comparing the 2014 goal with the 2008 score of 2 million sales, it would still mean a 40% increase in 6 years.

In 2013, Chrysler Group worldwide sales increased 9% to 2,4 million. In order for the 2014 target to be met, sales would have to grow another 16,7% this year. This target was reiterated in the 2013 financial report, so Chrysler itself is still confident the goal will be reached. In the first quarter of 2014, Chrysler Group US sales, which represent three quarters of the company’s worldwide sales, where up 11,1% on 2013, so the company probably needs to increase its momentum in order to reach the 2,8 million sales.… Continue Reading …

Are the French finally going to find success in China?

Peugeot-dealeship-chinaThe Chinese passenger car market has become the biggest in the world, at almost 18 million units in 2013, and while German brands have focused on China as one of their core markets, the French carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën haven’t been successful in their attempt to gain a foothold in this market and are suffering from it now. Volkswagen has been China’s bestselling brand for years, selling more cars in China alone than in all of Europe. VW brand sales increased 17% in 2013 to almost 2,4 million cars. Even Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz sold more than 1 million cars combined in China last year, which is their biggest single market. This compares to “just” 550.000 PSA cars, while Renault imported less than 40.000 cars in 2013.

These 550.000 Peugeot and Citroën cars sold in China barely made up the 540.000 lost sales for the two brands in Europe since 2009. And with the European car market not very likely to climb back to pre-crisis numbers as quickly as the North-American market, the French are desperate to reduce their reliance on their struggling home market. But for now, their share of the enormous Chinese market is below 3,5%.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis March 2014

Jaguar-F_type-Land_Rover-Range_Rover-sales-March-2014In March 2014, European car sales increased 10,4% to 1.489.796 vehicles, bringing first quarter sales up 8,1% to 3.353.180. March marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year growth, which is starting to recover from the crisis that hurt the European car market in the past few years, as sales have decreased every year since 2007, losing more than 22% of its total volume.

As usual in March, the UK has a big influence on the brand rankings because of the twice-annual registration plate change, which gives UK-oriented brands Ford, Vauxhall(/Opel), Honda, Nissan and Jaguar-Land Rover a single month boost compared to brands that are relatively weak in the United Kingdom. In fact, over 31% of total European volume was registered in the UK last month, whereas it is usually Europe’s second biggest market behind Germany, at around 16 to 18% of total European sales over a full year.… Continue Reading …

How to put a Ford Mustang on top of the Empire State Building

Ford-Mustang-taken-apart-Empire-State-BuildingFor the two days preceding the New York Auto Show, Ford will put a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible for display on the top of the Empire State Building, again. Again? Yes, they’ve pulled that trick before, in 1965 to be exactly. So for everyone who will be in the Big Apple on April 16th and 17th, make sure to take the elevator up to the observation deck, and observe a bright yellow Mustang.

Except it won’t be a stock Mustang, as it is impossible to use a helicopter to fly the car all the way up, because the huge steeple on what was once the world’s tallest building makes that exercise a bit too tricky. Instead, the car will take the same route you will take to see it: the elevator. Only problem is: the entrance is only 36 inches (90 cm) wide, and the Mustang will have to fit through that in order to reach the 86th floor.

Ford-Mustang-classic-1965-taken-apart-Empire-State-BuildingSo what the engineers of an external engineering firm will do, is chop the brand-new, not even available to customers, Mustang into 6 pieces… Continue Reading …

6-wheeled alternatives to the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6

Mercedes-Benz-G63-AMG-6x6The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 is an automotive extravagance, absurdity on 6 wheels. Or, as Mercedes call it themselves: the automotive declaration of independence. Other people would call it an unnecessary waste of (natural) resources, but as Top Gear have shown in their review, there are some very important things you can do with the 6×6. For example: jumping sand dunes, climbing rocks and driving through a swimming pool full of people, which are of course very sensible things to do.

More is always better when it comes to power, and the G63 AMG 6×6 proves that for certain on-road, but mostly off-road activities, the same goes for the number of wheels. But what if you come up short on the € 380.000,- / US$ 525,000 / £ 315,000 excluding taxes Mercedes is asking for this six-wheeled monster?

Well, there are some alternatives for you, which you may be able to pick up for less money than that.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis February 2014

Fiat-Panda-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeEuropean auto sales in February 2014 are up 3,6% when compared to February 2013, slowing down the year to date increase to 5,7% vs. the first two months of last year. The Volkswagen Golf is not surprisingly still the leader by far, actually increasing its lead over the number two, the Renault Clio, passing the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo to move up from fourth in January.

Notice the return of the Fiat Panda to the Europe top-10 at 8th place, leapfrogging its sister Fiat 500, which has outsold it for the past 8 months. It is also the first month of a year-over-year increase for the Panda, after a 14-month streak of decreases, since December 2012. In fact, the 2.800 unit lead over the 500 in February puts the Panda in the lead of the minicar segment Year To Date.

Another minicar with an excellent month is the Suzuki Alto, up 90% on last February. It’s noteworthy to mention this increase is fully carried by The Netherlands, where the Alto shot up from 562 sales and 15th place in February 2013 to first place and 2.279 sales this year. As a result, over 60% of all Alto’s sold in Europe this month were registered in The Netherlands. However, since this freak event is due to pre-registration of unsold cars, expect the Alto to tumble in the Dutch and also in the European ranking in the next months, until the arrival of its replacement, the Celerio.… Continue Reading …