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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.

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.

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).

NEW PROCESS TO PRODUCE "SUPER ALLOYS"

Rapid solidification rate (RSR) technology enables production of fine-grained (nanometer-scale) and amorphous metals with uniform chemistry. These unique microstructures result from very high cooling rates that are unattainable through gas atomization or other methods. Ervin Industries has developed a rapid-solidification powder technology that is capable of producing high-purity, fine-grained or amorphous particles in the size range from 10 to 1200 micrometers with highly spherical morphology.

"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.

REPORT INDICATES GROWTH IN VEHICLE-APPEARANCE PRODUCT SALES

According to information from The NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company, marketers of vehicle appearance products (i.e. car care) could see a boost in business this spring. The firm reports 12% of consumers surveyed last fall indicated they would spend more money on vehicle appearance this year; only 4% said they would spend less.

DO CONSUMERS REALLY WANT IN-CAR DVD AND NAV SYSTEMS?

Without a doubt, safety and security features and services are becoming an increasingly important part of automakers' arsenal as they try to differentiate themselves from the competition and woo more customers into their fold, according to a recent TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence article. In a recent newsletter, TechnoMetrica states that the trend of adding more features and services to today’s vehicles is not confined to safety and security.

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.

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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