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BELT-DRIVE STEERING COMING TO LIGHT TRUCKS

TRW Automotive recently unveiled its Electrically Powered Steering (EPS) Belt Drive system that will launch on North American models in 2008, according to a TRW Automotive press release.

FOUR REASONS FOR INCREASED AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET CONSOLIDATION

Record capital inflows and low interest rates have lead to a blistering merger and acquisition (M&A) market for financial and strategic buyers-the former looking for acquisitions which will yield synergistic benefits while the latter add value to the organization with the stated goal of reselling the business at some point in the future for a profit.

"BEST BANG FOR CONSUMERS' BUCKS," SAYS CARS.COM

Consumers turn to the Internet to research the cars and trucks they plan to buy. Roughly one in five (21%) new-car buyers say that the Internet influences their vehicle-buying decision, according to SEMA data. Cars.com, an automotive research website for new vehicle buyers, recently advised consumers of its top vehicle picks based on overall cost of the vehicle: fuel economy combined with sticker price.

TWELVE CUSTOMER PROFILES—HOW KNOWING THESE COULD HELP IMPROVE YOUR SALES

You probably have a good idea of who your existing customers are, their similarities, needs, etc. Future customers, on the other hand, may have unique needs that require a new approach in order to get them to buy your products. In a recent article by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the author maps out 12 different customer profiles. In each of the 12 descriptions below, the author indicates a "customer tip-off"-what a customer might say to you—and a "conversation starter"—the appropriate response recommended by the author.

SALES OF PORTABLE NAV DEVICES EXPECTED TO GROW


The market for in-vehicle global positioning systems (GPS) is growing, with sales forecasted to exceed 3.3 million units this year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), meanwhile, says that sales of aftermarket personal navigation devices experienced triple-digit growth in 2006, with over 2.2 million new units sold.

UPDATE: GLAZED WINDSHIELD KEEPS DRIVERS COOL AND IMPROVES FUEL ECONOMY

Earlier this month it was reported in eNews that PPG had just released its Sungate EP automotive glass windshield, which they said significantly reduces the transmission of solar energy into a vehicle, keeping the interior cooler and improving fuel economy. The new technology employs a glazing process built into Sungate windshields, which reduces front seat temperatures 27 degrees F (15 degrees C) and air-breath temperatures 16 degrees F (9 degrees C).

FILTER SALES EXPECTED TO GROW 3.2%—CLICK HERE TO SEE WHY

The future of filters appears to be heading in a good direction, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. A recent Aftermarket Business article states that filter shipments are projected to advance 3.2% annually through 2011 to $10.9 billion. Gains will be driven by ongoing sales in the aftermarket, which accounts for the vast majority of demand. Advances will also be spurred by pending changes in environmental regulations, particularly those involving cleaner air and a reduction in diesel engine emissions.

CHRYSLER SOLD, WHAT'S NEXT

Despite the sale of Chrysler group by DaimlerChrysler, powertrain analysts at CSM Worldwide expect the restructured Chrysler to remain highly competitive in the powertrain arena well into the next decade. According to a recent CSM Worldwide press release, Chrysler has been aggressively procuring designs and outsourcing powertrain production from its global partners. The link that will be maintained with Daimler AG will be a key element of this strategy.

COULD YOU BENEFIT FROM A SALES AND MARKETING PLAN?

The benefits of strategic planning are many, but the planning process itself has its own rewards, according to a recent article by Dan Beaulieu, president of D.B. Management Group LLC. The excerpt of his article below describes how companies can benefit by taking the time to develop a strategic marketing plan:

Does your company have a strategic business plan? How about a formal marketing plan? Does your team sit down together at least once a year and hack out how you did this year and what you plan to do next year?

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