At Thursday's Automotive News Retail Forum in San Francisco, panelists envisioned the future of the auto dealer. Rita Case, vice chairman of Rick Case Automotive Group, says her Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based dealership group is adding larger waiting areas, even restaurants. "When people come, they really want to buy today," Case said. "So we're building our dealerships to have the inventory on site, and we're building them in stories so all our inventory is inside."
A top automotive communications executive has passed away unexpectedly. Tom Kowaleski, who had been a key PR and comms guy for Chrysler, General Motors, BMW and Lincoln, died Tuesday at the age of 63. He was one of the brains behind some famous auto show press conferences, and had a flair for the theatrical at big events, perhaps the most famous being at a '90s Detroit Auto Show at which he staged a stunt involving a Jeep careening through one of Cobo Hall's plate glass windows.
L'Oral Paris has launched The Brush Contest, an international makeup designer contest happening exclusively on YouTube. The contest will gather people from 13 countries, including Canada, the United States, France, U.K., Australia, Germany, Thailand, Italy and Turkey. The winner becomes L'Oral Paris' makeup designer and gets a one-year makeup contract with the brand.
The Super Bowl spots are rolling out. Over the past week, a handful of advertisers showed their ads for the game, teased the details or at least announced that they were in the game. But, unlike years past, a lot of advertisers have stayed silent. This year at least a half-dozen new advertisers have yet to even publicly announce they're in the game.
A survey by CreditCards.com shows that about 7 million Americans have kept a bank or credit card account secret from their spouse or partner. About 1 in 5 Americans has spent $500 or more on a purchase without their partner's knowledge. Nearly one-third of men are fine with it. Only 18% of women are. The biggest secret spenders are ages 18 to 29.
The Motion Picture Association of America found the number of people aged 18 to 39 who go to the movies at least once a month dropped 17% from last year. AMC is testing a trial subscription service in Boston and Denver, via MoviePass, an industry first. A monthly fee of $45 (or $35 excluding 3D films), lets subscribers see a movie a day.
After having amazed pundits with its growth in the U.S., Jeep is ready to take on the world, starting with the new Jeep Renegade. Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, said that sales have tripled during the past five years, thanks to a revitalizing and renewing of the existing product portfolio. Jeep will lay the foundation for its global expansion in the future with the new vehicle.
Orbitz, one of the smaller players in the online travel business, and operator of Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com, is reportedly exploring a sale. Sources close to the company say it is working with a financial adviser, and looking for buyers. Chicago-based Orbitz has drawn interest from private equity funds and other Internet companies, the people said, without identifying potential buyers.
RadioShack is reportedly negotiating with Sprint to sell some of its store leases to the wireless carrier. Sprint executives said at an investor conference last week that the company is planning to expand its store count through acquisitions. RadioShack is reportedly in talks with several private equity firms about buying its assets out of bankruptcy. The retailer may also seek reduction and restructuring of its debt in bankruptcy court.
Younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to pay premium prices for food products they perceive as far healthier, according to a global consumer survey. The Nielsen's Global Health and Wellness Survey finds that younger consumers worldwide are far more concerned about everything from food ingredients to genetically modified food to organic foods than are their parents and grandparents. The poll is of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries.