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A BELOVED AMERICAN PONY GETS A LITTLE GREENER

Ford Motor Company and Lear Corporation will mark an automotive milestone in August when production of soy-based foam for seats begins in the 2008 model year Ford Mustang.

America’s beloved pony car will use the industry’s first soy-based flexible foam in the seat backs and seat cushions beginning in August at the Auto Alliance International factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, home of the Ford Mustang.

HYBRID SUPRA WINS ENDURANCE RACE CONVINCINGLY

Team Toyota’s Denso-backed SARD Supra HV-R scored an impressive victory at the Tokachi 24-hour endurance race in Japan on July 15 and 16. News has already started circulating about the achievement as this feat marks the first time a hybrid car has won such a contest. Even more notable was the convincing fashion in which it dominated: 19 laps ahead of its nearest competitor. Starting from the pole position the car accumulated 1,960 miles and 616 laps without yielding its front-running slot.

DEMAND WATCH: LATEST STUDY SHOWS GROWTH IN SPECIALTY-EQUIPMENT PURCHASE PLANS

Forecasting the demand of specialty-equipment parts and accessories provides an invaluable tool for strategic market planners and helps answer one ongoing question: How will industry sales do in the coming months? To help answer this question, SEMA commissioned the market-research firm TechnoMetrica to survey consumers every month in order to gauge their specialty-equipment purchase intentions over the next three following months. In June, their nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers—which represents approximately 114 million U.S.

HOW TO GET YOUR PROMOTIONAL MESSAGES TO YOUR AUDIENCE

Whether you contact your prospects via direct mail, print advertising, e-mail, sales calls, podcasts...no matter how you contact them, it’s important that you contact them frequently, according to a recent article by Larry Merserearu—small business consultant, speaker and author in the field of marketing and promotion.

THE FUTURE OF AUTOMOTIVE FEATURES, SAYS ICONOCULTURE

Mobile consumers are quickly moving beyond traditional surprise-and-delight automotive features and asking themselves, “Why aren’t cars better equipped to accommodate today’s mobile technology?” A recent article by Rob Tregenza, vice president of consumer strategist, transportation/travel/leisure and sports/fitness for Iconoculture, discusses why consumer demands for access to personal media are set to reshape the future of automotive features.

GOOD NEWS FOR CADDY SHOPS: NEW CTS DUE NEXT MONTH

The 2008 Cadillac CTS will launch in late-August with a higher level of technology, luxury and performance, says Cadillac. With many new standard features and a long list of new options, the automaker notes that the all-new 2008 CTS, Cadillac’s most affordable product, also delivers compelling value.

AUTOMOTIVE ELECTRONICS TO REACH $52 BILLION, SAYS LATEST REPORT

The world automotive electrical products market is projected to grow at a compounded annual rate (CAR) of 3.9% during the analysis period 2001–2010 and reach about $52 billion by 2010, according to Global Industry Analysts. According to the company’s latest report on the automotive market, Europe, accounting for an estimated share of 27.83% in 2006, constitutes the largest market, while, in terms of growth rate, Asia-Pacific and Latin America are forecast to surpass all other regions.

VM MOTORI TO PRODUCE NEW V6 TURBO DIESEL

General Motors recently announced that it has reached a joint venture agreement with Penske Corporation to purchase 50% equity of VM Motori S.p.A, a designer and manufacturer of diesel engines based in Cento, Italy.

This investment builds on GM’s existing relationship with VM Motori, GM’s diesel expertise worldwide, and its strong relationship with Isuzu. 

SCION XD OFFERS ACCESSORY OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEALERS AND TUNERS

Scion recently announced manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) for its all-new 2008 xD. xD models with a manual transmission will have an MSRP of $14,550, while models with an automatic transmission will be $15,350. The xD will reach Scion dealers in early August.

STUDY SHOWS MORE CONSUMERS CONSIDER CLEAN DIESEL

As consumers become more realistic about the fuel-efficiency capabilities of hybrid vehicles, the percentage of new-vehicle shoppers who are considering a hybrid has declined, according to recently released J.D. Power and Associates' 2007 Alternative Powertrain Study. Their study examines the percentage of consumers that are considering purchasing either hybrid or clean-diesel powertrains.

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