Chrysler Aims for February Deadline to Open U.S. Fiat Showrooms

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of both Chrysler and Fiat, has said the Fiat 500 will go on sale late this year in the U.S. as the Turin, Italy-based automaker reintroduces its namesake brand to the world’s second-largest auto market. Fiat, which owns 20 percent of Chrysler, took control of the U.S. automaker as part of its bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.

The company said it will pick new Fiat franchises based on several criteria, including plans to create a standalone facility. Dealers have been told to build a business case for a Fiat franchise based on gross margins of as much as $1,500 for each Fiat 500 sold, people familiar with the planning have said.

Free Space

Some Chrysler dealers will have open space for a Fiat franchise after the closing of General Motors Co.’s Saturn and other brands, said Alan Helfman, vice president of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Houston. Helfman said in a telephone interview that he’s planning to submit a franchise application.

“I can have preparations in place, but I think it’s going to take a little time” for a showroom, he said. “Anytime I’ve built anything, if I thought I could do it in three months, it took six.”

Marchionne is scheduled to attend his first large-scale meeting with Chrysler dealers today in Orlando, Florida. The meeting, the first since 2007, comes as Marchionne is introducing 16 new or refreshed vehicles before the end of the year.

2011 Lineup

The heads of the automaker’s vehicle brands — Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat — are also expected to attend the meeting, Kisiel said. For most dealers, it will be their first chance to see the 2011 model year lineup, much of which will reach showrooms later this year, he said.

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Whitehouse Chrysler Group

By Tim Higgins

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker run by Fiat SpA, said dealers who want to sell the Fiat 500 subcompact car in the U.S. should have their new showrooms completed and running by the end of February.

Dealers will need time to train staff for selling the Fiat 500 and should have a separate showroom in place prior to the start of marketing in March, Ralph Kisiel, a Chrysler spokesman, said yesterday.

“We’d like it up as soon as possible so they can get their Fiat franchise and start selling the vehicle,” he said in a telephone interview.

Dealers must submit their Fiat franchise proposals to Chrysler by Sept. 22, and about 165 winners will be picked in October, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company has said.

Some dealers may be allowed to open later, Kisiel said.

“The key here is you don’t open something if they’re not ready,” Kisiel said. Leer más “Chrysler Aims for February Deadline to Open U.S. Fiat Showrooms”

10 marcas que podrían desaparecer en 2011

Después de que en abril de este año y diciembre del pasado publicara sus hallazgos sobre el dudoso futuro de algunas marcas, 24/7 Wall St. ha vuelto a lanzar una lista de marcas que podrían desaparecer antes del próximo año y entre las que se incluyen Reader’s Digest, Zale, Kia Motors o Blockbuster entre otras. Habitualmente se necesita de un periodo de un año para actualizar estas listas, pero la situación económica actual ha provocado una aceleración del proceso y la mayoría de las marcas que aparecieron en la versión de diciembre han desaparecido, han sido adquiridas por otras o se han declarado en bancarrota.

Reader’s Digest estaba considerada la revista más leída del mundo y, según la compañía, lo seguirá siendo cuando las ediciones americanas se tengan en cuenta. En el pasado mes de agosto, la compañía llevó a la bancarrota sus operaciones en los Estados Unidos para reducir la deuda, aunque logró salir de ella con una financiación de 525 millones de dólares que recibió en febrero. El número de ediciones publicadas se ha reducido de 12 a 10 y la garantía de circulación para los anunciantes ha pasado de 8 a 5,5 millones de copias. Aunque hace unos años la idea del cierre de Reader’s Digest era impensable, al menos tal y como se conoce en Estados Unidos desaparecerá…


Después de que en abril de este año y diciembre del pasado publicara sus hallazgos sobre el dudoso futuro de algunas marcas, 24/7 Wall St. ha vuelto a lanzar una lista de marcas que podrían desaparecer antes del próximo año y entre las que se incluyen Reader’s Digest, Zale, Kia Motors o Blockbuster entre otras. Habitualmente se necesita de un periodo de un año para actualizar estas listas, pero la situación económica actual ha provocado una aceleración del proceso y la mayoría de las marcas que aparecieron en la versión de diciembre han desaparecido, han sido adquiridas por otras o se han declarado en bancarrota.

Reader’s Digest estaba considerada la revista más leída del mundo y, según la compañía, lo seguirá siendo cuando las ediciones americanas se tengan en cuenta. En el pasado mes de agosto, la compañía llevó a la bancarrota sus operaciones en los Estados Unidos para reducir la deuda, aunque logró salir de ella con una financiación de 525 millones de dólares que recibió en febrero. El número de ediciones publicadas se ha reducido de 12 a 10 y la garantía de circulación para los anunciantes ha pasado de 8 a 5,5 millones de copias. Aunque hace unos años la idea del cierre de Reader’s Digest era impensable, al menos tal y como se conoce en Estados Unidos desaparecerá… Leer más “10 marcas que podrían desaparecer en 2011”

Employee Benefits


Domino's Pizza UK & IRL plc
Image via Wikipedia

– Noreen O’Leary
In the battle to win over consumers during difficult economic times, marketers are sending their employees to the front lines. The trend seems to be accelerating. Last week, Zappos introduced a new pitch with puppets fronting actual recordings of employee customer service calls. Last month, Lowe’s launched a campaign with store associates advising cash-strapped DIY consumers.

Those campaigns come after several others celebrating the rank and file. Over the past year or so, Southwest Airlines, Ford, Domino’s, Bank of America, General Electric, Exxon Mobile and Verizon have featured staffers or actors playing them.

The use of workers to humanize corporate entities has been a time-honored marketing tradition, of course. But in an era of Web 2.0 transparency, their visibility takes on greater meaning, signaling the higher importance of customer service in the marketing mix. More subliminally, as America’s battered consumers have lost faith in the institutions they hold responsible for the current economic mess—and anger toward corporations behind massive layoffs—staffers offer a kind of peer credibility as corporate advocates.

Companies whose images had taken a public flogging often made use of the tactic.  Bank of America used associates in blunt, no-frills ads with the unscripted spots addressing “stressed” consumers, those who had lost their jobs and others just trying to survive. “We weren’t there to sell to them, but just to let them know we were trying to work with them,” explained Meredith Verdone, BofA brand and advertising executive. “The reaction we got was how it humanized the bank, which was important to rebuilding trust.”

Last summer, General Electric employees personified CEO Jeff Immelt’s public remarks about the imperative for American manufacturing renewal. In commercials like “Wrench,” GE staffers from its aircraft, engine, healthcare and energy businesses participated in a relay toss of a wrench around their respective units, with a voiceover describing GE as a company creating “innovation today for America’s tomorrow.” Said Judy Hu, GE global executive director, advertising and branding: “We focused on the idea that we innovate with technological solutions to solve the world’s toughest challenges, but what we do everyday is just as important.” Leer más “Employee Benefits”