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July 17, 2019

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On The Surface


On The Surface #437

March 19, 2008

arrowdown.gif GM. The company is going to share research on consumer behavior and media effectiveness with the largest U.S. marketer, Procter & Gamble, according to Automotive News. What part of this seemed like a good idea, exactly? Wasn't one P&G-orchestrated "Reign of Terror" enough at GM? What's next? Are John Smale and Ronnie Z. coming back to add their cumulative knowledge (cough, hack) of the auto industry to the GM marketing mix too? Sounds like a heaping bowl of Not Good to us. Memo to Betsy Lazar, GM's executive director of advertising and media operations: PULL UP!

arrowdown.gif GM, Ford. On top of everything else going on in the financial sector, GM and Ford stocks dropped to their 52-week lows on Monday. It's getting u-g-l-y, folks.

arrowdown.gif Hyundai. The Korean automaker plans on unveiling the production version of its up-market Genesis Coupe concept in New York, which is all well and good, except for the fact that the factory continues to bring in boatload after boatload of Hyundais and Kias that their dealers can't sell as it is. As if that weren't enough, Kia is even contemplating building a pickup in Georgia. Well, why not? They can always replace their executive roster again when this doesn't work. Besides, their new internal themeline is "We'll Make More!"

arrowdown.gif The UAW. The labor union is seeking job guarantees from American Axle & Manufacturing in order to settle the three-week-old strike. Repeat that statement to yourself and shake your head.

arrowup.gif Dave Weber. Following Acura's creation of a separate design center in L.A. and a brand specific R&D center in Japan, Rubin Postaer and Associates, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based ad agency for the Honda and Acura brands, is creating a separate division to handle the Acura business. Dave Weber, 53, has been hired to be the general manager of the new division of RPA. He was vice president of marketing at Hyundai Motor America from 1998 to 2002, and also did stints with ad agencies servicing the Nissan, Mazda and Suzuki brands along the way. Dave is one of the brightest guys in the business, and this is an excellent move for RPA and Acura.

arrowup.gif arrowdown.gif Ford. The good news? Ford will show a Ford Taurus in their display at the New York International Auto Show that was crashed into a barrier at 35 mph to demonstrate the safety built into its cars. Nice thought, but the bad news? People don't go to auto shows to see crashed cars - especially in New York - the land of more dinged, smashed and beat to shit cars than any other city in America.

arrowup.gif Digital Media. GM is going to switch half of its $3 billion advertising-marketing budget to all forms of digital media and experiential, one-to-one marketing over the next three years. Our check, as they say, is in the mail. Right.


(Photo courtesy of Ford)
A glimpse of our future urban landscape? Ford unveiled the Ford Transit Connect Taxi concept at the New York International Auto Show. According to Ford, the Transit Connect Taxi concept "offers a new perspective on how to move people and their gear through congested city streets - more cleanly, efficiently and with new technology that could revolutionize the taxi industry." Rumors that several on-board fragrance option packages will be available could not be confirmed.

(GM Photo)
GM teased yet another design exploration for Buick in New York. The Invicta concept is an exploration for a luxurious show car that GM plans to reveal in China at the Beijing Motor Show on April 19. The Invicta, which is Latin for invincible, evolves Buick’s global design direction from the Riviera concept introduced last year in Shanghai. The Invicta show car was co-developed by GM design centers in North America and China "to meet customers’ expectations equally in the world’s two largest automotive markets," according to GM.

(GM Photo)
Pontiac introduced a Solstice Coupe with a removable hardtop in New York, a developmental offshoot of Pontiac's grassroots racing program for the car.

(Photo by Emile Wamsteker for General Motors)
Saab USA General Manager Steve Shannon
presents flowers to Swedish fashion designer Josefin Lassbo after the introduction of Saab's new Pure BioPower Eco Clothing Collection on the eve of the New York Auto Show last night in New York. The fashions were revealed at an exclusive party where the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept made its North American debut.