from Shop Talk:

Auto show-Click and buy? Not yet…

honda1(Written by correspondent James Kelleher)

The U.S. auto retail market -- long controlled by franchised dealers and state laws that critics call anti-competitive and inefficient -- will open up in the coming years and Honda will not be left in the dust, a top U.S. executive for the Japanese automaker said. 

Honda has already been confronted by the new paradigm in the retail motorcycle market, where upstart rivals from rapidly emerging nations have begun selling bikes directly to consumers -- or very nearly so -- using sporting goods stores and other unconventional channels, John Mendel, executive vice president of auto sales at American Honda Motor Co, said at a conference held in conjunction with the Detroit auto show.

"What we're trying to prevent is someone doing to retail automotive what Blockbuster did to the video store and what Netflix has done to Blockbuster," Mendel said at the Automotive News World Congress.

He emphasized that dealers, protected by state franchise laws that in some cases make it a criminal offense for a manufacturer to sell a vehicle directly to a consumer, would remain an important part of Honda's distribution strategy.

But in a world where consumers are now able to order whatever they want on the Internet and have it delivered the next day, Mendel said the prognosis for the traditional sales process, which can include hours of paperwork at the dealership after the customer makes a purchase decision and can tack on thousands of dollar in extra costs, was not good.

from Shop Talk:

Auto show-Super Bowl TV ads don’t score for Mazda

nfl1Advertising during the Super Bowl doesn't score for Mazda.

While the Japanese automaker plans to boost its marketing budget this year as it launches the Mazda 2 small car, running TV ads during the National Football League's championship game in February won't happen.

"You're never going to see us on Super Bowl," Mazda North American chief Jim O'Sullivan said at the Detroit auto show. "We're not going to spend that kind of money on that kind of property because, yeah, you get a lot of impressions and stuff out there, but the fact of the matter is, do you really get to the target you really wanted? That's more of a feel-good ad for a lot of people."

O'Sullivan said it was a "given" that Mazda's media budget will be up in the first quarter, as well as for the year, although he didn't say by how much. He said Mazda, which expects its U.S. sales to possibly rise faster than the overall market this year, will spend more on social media and digital advertising this year as it tries to reach younger buyers for its late summer launch of the new 2 model.