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Audi hopes that high sales of its volume brands in China will compensate for the decreasing demand for large luxury cars in the country. Audi officials say that because of the slowdown of Chinese economy, its two local plants have had lower capacity utilization. It also had to increase incentive spending for its older models and has shifted away from its more profitable upper segment models like the A6 Long.
Volkswagen’s luxury unit thinks that it is in a good position to have a bigger share of the overall market as it shifts into growing smaller segments. However, there’s still the risk that the sales decline and the recent discounting trend will make premium brands rely more than ever on volume growth to achieve more profits.
At the recently held Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai, Audi executives agreed with BMW’s comments about the down trend in China. It used to be that the Chinese market gave high contribution gains but this stage is now over. Audi sales chief Luca de Meo said that the car market in China is now “more normal.”Read the entire article Audi strategizes to keep lead in China despite slowdown
Ford Motor Co. has tapped John Casesa as its group vice president for global strategy, a newly created position that reports directly to chief executive Mark Fields. Casesa will sit on the post starting March 1 and will be in charge of investments in new products, technologies and business models.
Fields said in a statement that it is now very important Ford operates with a focus on delivering business today while also concentrating on anticipating and meeting the needs of customers many years from now. He remarked that Casesa knows the auto industry inside and out.
He added that Casesa’s deep experience and relationships will help guide and shape Ford’s global strategies. Casesa was the creator of the closely watched “Car Wars” report that assesses the competitiveness of auto product lines, as published by Merrill Lynch.Read the entire article Ford names John Casesa as vice president for global strategy
Volvo Cars will soon employ online selling as part of its overhaul of its global marketing strategy. Volvo sales chief Alain Visser told Reuters an interview that the carmaker is planning to sell all its product lines in all market directly online, a move usually not taken by carmakers as it bypasses the traditional middlemen – dealers.
While the plan sounds like the path taken by Tesla, Volvo actually has no plans to bypass its dealers. Visser remarked in the interview that dealers initially get nervous at the “e-commerce” word. He, however assured its 2,000 dealers around the world – half of which are in Europe – that vehicles sold online "will still pass through the dealer network" for delivery.
"We don't see a car distribution network without dealers in the foreseeable future," Visser said. To make its future offerings more compelling especially to Chinese customers, Volvo is making them more glitzy while donning more techs – without sacrificing key attributes like safety and uncluttered Scandinavian design.Read the entire article Volvo revamps global marketing strategy to include online sales
Mid-size pickups are made to lighter loads than their heavy- and light-duty cousins. But at General Motors, mid-size pickups are being made to bear the load of the carmaker’s truck strategy. GM believes that as the auto industry shift from smaller pickups, customers -- who doesn’t need to carry heavy loads and yet seek the versatility of a truck -- don’t have much options to choose from.
That is where the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon comes in. These GM midsize trucks are expected to surpass the segment’s Nos. 1 and 2 – Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier – in almost every aspect. Based on a recent comparison tests, the Colorado and the Canyon have quieter cabin, smoother powertrain as well as more features.
According to GM, its new midsize trucks feature industry-first fuel saving measures like electric power steering, aluminum hood and knuckles for reduced mass, and grille shutters that close at higher speeds. But GM’s trucks need to prove they are better mid-size pickups; they need to prove they could conquest from their segment rivals as well as capture buyers from other segments like crossovers and full-size trucks.Read the entire article Mid-size pickups on forefront of GM’s truck strategy
According to the latest reports, it appears that Cadillac is considering expanding its offices but what's more interesting is that this move will not be made in Detroit but Manhattan. As you may know already, Cadillac has a new leader, Johan de Nysschen, and expanding in Manhattan is part of his effort to broaden the brand’s appeal outside North America.
Still, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told Reuters that there are no changes for the moment. For those who don’t know, de Nysschen used to lead Nissan’s Infiniti brand where he engineered a relocation of headquarters from Yokohama to Hong Kong.
The move was made because Infiniti needed more autonomy from its Japanese parent company and the opportunity to expand in global markets. GM wants to follow the same path with its Cadillac brand and an expansion to Manhattan could help the company to attract additional talent.Read the entire article Cadillac could shift marketing, advertising and strategy to Manhattan
After years of favoring of hybrid engines over their conventional counterparts, Toyota Motor Corp. is now getting ready for a new engine strategy. The Japanese carmaker is designing common parts to stretch costs over several engines, allowing it to economically customize powerplants for specific vehicles with fuel injection and turbocharging.
Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of powertrain development at Toyota, told Automotive News that the carmaker is looking to hike fuel economy by up to 30 percent and reduce costs of key components by up to 50 percent through the new engine strategy.
The shift in engine strategy highlights how the Japanese carmaker is trying to catch up with rivals on engine technologies that have allowed them to gain on Toyota’s top fleet average fuel economy in the United States.Read the entire article Toyota shifts engine strategy to focus on conventional units
Volkswagen AG will start its biggest technology revamp in almost 20 years when it overhauls the Audi A3 in 2012. The compact Audi will have the first of at least 40 models that will use a set of standardized parts such as steering columns, chassis and axles.
According to analysts, sharing components all throughout the brands like Seat, VW and Skoda may lower costs by 5 billion euros or $6.5 billion annually, even with the risks of a repeat of recalls that staggered Toyota Motor Corp. Analyst Christoph Stuermer at Frankfurt-based IHS Automotive explained that one may get hit by an "epidemic plague" if something goes wrong. He further stated that the more related the structures, the higher the risk of "contagion."
The technology is developed for utilization in as many as 3.5 million small and mid-sized vehicles annually. This will help Volkswagen's plan to be the most profitable and largest vehicle manufacturer in the world by 2018, outperforming General Motors Co and Toyota. The company forecasts it will slash assembly times by 30 percent and reduce production costs by 20 percent.Read the entire article Volkswagen’s parts-sharing strategy to begin with new Audi A3 next year
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