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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).

B-CLASS BENZ COULD HIT U.S. MARKET

A new Mercedes-Benz B-class small car could enter the U.S. market as early as 2011, according to a recent AutoWeek article. The automaker said that if they were to bring the B-class here, it would be the next generation model due in 2011. The article also noted that Mercedes may bring an SUV smaller that the M-class to the United States as well.

SUBCOMPACT SALES SOAR

It has been a year since the Japanese Big Three reintroduced B-cars in the United States, and the segment has been growing ever since. According to a recent WardsAuto.com article, year-to-date sales suggest that subcompact sales will reach levels not seen in more than 11 years.

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.

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.

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?

HOW YOUR COMPETITION DEALS WITH RISING ENERGY COSTS

SEMA members cited rising operating costs as the number-one obstacle facing their businesses, according to a SEMA research. Part of these operating costs include money spent on energy, and a recent study showed that businesses in general are faced with similar challenges imposed by rising energy costs. Results from a survey of North American business leaders indicate they expect energy prices to continue to rise, and plan to invest in energy efficiency measures to help fight rising costs, according to a recent Johnson Controls press release.

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.

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