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GM Will Increase Marketing Budget in 2009 and 2010
Aug12

GM Will Increase Marketing Budget in 2009 and 2010

By Brendan Moore

08.12.2009

gm-logo-small1GM announced that it plans to significantly increase its ad spending for the rest of 2009 and all of 2010 in order to attack assumptions now held about its cars and trucks.

Specifically, GM wants to change negative perceptions about quality and fuel economy regarding their vehicles. GM, and Bob Lutz, GM’s new marketing head, feel that GM has a great story to tell about its improved lineup – a story that Lutz feels hasn’t been told effectively by recent advertising on behalf of GM.

GM spent $1.81 billion USD in 2007 in advertising, which is the last year numbers are available for; 2008 ad spending took huge hits, and 2009 dropped even more as a result of bankruptcy. GM has dropped many sport sponsorships this year, including the Buick Open, and had also declined to advertise during the upcoming Super Bowl.

No numbers or percentage increases were mentioned concerning GM’s planned increase in marketing expenditures in the next 16 months.

It is no secret that Lutz plans to run ads directly comparing GM cars to their competition, even if some competitors’ feelings get hurt in the process. The question is how those ads will be shaped.

Lutz has been deeply critical of recent GM advertising that he feels was vague and unfocused. The recent Buick ad set in a studio where a Buick commercial was being filmed came in for special criticism from Lutz. “It makes me cringe to watch,” he said. “Car ads about car ads, it seems to me are not what we should be doing.”

Lutz did say, however, that GM would keep using its current lineup of large advertising agencies that includes Leo Burnett Group and Campbell-Ewald.

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Proton Looks to India for Export Sales
Aug07

Proton Looks to India for Export Sales

By Brendan Moore

08.07.2009

proton-logoProton, the inscrutable Malaysian auto manufacturer, has announced that they intend to sell their cars in India.

Proton has some sales in the Southeast Asia market, and some sales in the Middle East and Asia, but over 90% of their annual sales are still in their home country of Malaysia.

Proton used to have a protected market until a few years ago, when the Malaysian government liberalized their home market, which led to Proton’s sales plummeting. Proton had, and still has, some quality issues with their vehicles, and once Malaysians were able to buy Japanese cars, they did.

The company plunged into a financial abyss, prompting intense speculation at the time that a partnership with either VW or GM was imminent. But, Proton rebuffed both those suitors, and decided to go it alone.

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Cash for Clunkers Program Replenished
Aug07

Cash for Clunkers Program Replenished

By Brendan Moore

08.07.2009

cars-programThe United States Senate approved an extension of funding for the Cash for Clunkers program yesterday afternoon, and President Obama signed the legislation this morning.

The program now has another $2 billion USD to use in the popular program, which provides up to $4500 to the buyer of a new vehicle that trades in a gas guzzler that meets the program terms. The original $1 billion funding of the program was depleted almost immediately, leading to the program’s suspension a mere seven days after the program rules were delineated to U.S. automobile dealers.

The political pressure on the Obama administration and the Democratic majority to continue the program was immediate and intense. The Cash for Clunkers program found favor with the public, and is one of the overall economic stimulus program’s most successful measures.

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Check Your Mirrors
Aug06

Check Your Mirrors

Odd and Ends about Cars and the Car Business

By Brendan Moore

08.06.2009

gm-logo-smallBuick is going to get a plug-in hybrid crossover. It will use the same type of battery technology as the Chevrolet Volt. Saturn was supposed to get the same vehicle, but Saturn is now gone, so it looks like Buick is the beneficiary of Saturn’s demise in this regard. Buick is also getting a crossover (what else?) built on the next-generation of the Chevrolet Aveo, a small economy car platform. Look for the plug-in in 2011; the small crossover in 2012.

Timothy Egan, a writer for The New York Times, published an interesting piece on the “Cash For Clunkers” program late last night, titled Clunker Class War. Here’s an excerpt:

But according to a barnacled cluster of senators, this program must be sunk, now. It’s been far too successful — dealers have been swamped, people are lining up to buy cars that burn less gas and bring instant cash to crippled local economies.

This is old fashioned stimulus of a sort that Republicans have always advocated, using financial incentives to change behavior. Representative Candice Miller, a G.O.P. lawmaker — albeit from the car-dependent state of Michigan — called it “the best $1 billion of economic stimulus the government has ever spent.”

But look where the rest of Miller’s party is. Last week, Senator John McCain threatened to lead a filibuster rather than let Cash for Clunkers continue to September, as the House has agreed to do with an additional $2 billion from money already approved in the stimulus law.

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Cash For Clunkers Program Shows Interesting Data
Aug05

Cash For Clunkers Program Shows Interesting Data

By Brendan Moore

08.05.2009

cars-programYou might be curious about which vehicles are being purchased by customers under the “Cash For Clunkers” program, as we were.

Now that break-out is here, courtesy of the federal government.

The U.S. Transportation Department has slaked that thirst for information by releasing a list of the top vehicles purchased and the top vehicles traded in through the program so far.

Top 10 vehicles retailed under the Cash-For-Clunkers program, according to the U.S. Transportation Department:

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