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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.

NEW TECHNOLOGY COULD SUSTAIN PLUG-IN HYBRID INFRASTRUCTURE

Automakers aren’t the only companies taking a keen interest in plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs). Electric utilities are realizing development of such technology could bolster their bottom line, as well, according to a recent WardsAuto.com article.

Although PHEVs offer promising fuel efficiency, they face a number of hurdles before being introduced to the marketplace. Arguably, the most significant challenge is the way the nation’s energy grids will handle the additional power needed to recharge large numbers of plug-in vehicles.

GAS PRICES CAUSING SHIFTS IN VEHICLE PURCHASES, SAYS J.D. POWER

Rising gasoline prices have some owners of large and midsize trucks trading to smaller vehicles, according to J.D. Power and Associates, which uses real-time retail transaction data from its Power Information Network (PIN) to gather figures. In a recent press release, it said gasoline prices have surged more than $.20 in recent weeks to a record nationwide average of $3.10 per gallon, surpassing the previous record of $3.07 per gallon set in September 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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.

NO BATTERIES NEEDED FOR NEW TPMS SENSOR

As automotive tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) mandates come into effect, Texas Instruments Incorporated and Transense Technologies PLC have developed what they say is the automotive industry’s first targeted piezo-electric surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor based system for TPMS applications. According to a recent Texas Instruments press release, the sensor units operate wirelessly, require no power source and are typically 11 millimeters x 3 millimeters in size and less than 2 grams in weight.
 

UPCOMING VEHICLE PRODUCTION PLANS FORECASTED

Despite pumped-up production schedules in recent weeks, North American June output will trail last year’s pace by 8.3%, according to a recent WardsAuto.com article. Ward’s Auto forecasts manufacturers will assemble 1,394,600 vehicles next month based on 21 production days, somewhat under the industry’s planned 1,403,000 units. Output in like-2006 totaled 1,521,101 units, with one additional production day.

HONDA PRODUCTION FUEL-CELL SEDAN

Honda says it will put a sleek hydrogen fuel-cell sedan into limited production next year and will sell a unique mass-market hybrid in the United States within two years. It will be priced less than the $25,000 Civic hybrid.

8-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION MAKES ITS DEBUT

According to a recent Ward’s Auto article, German manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen AG introduced a rear-wheel drive eight-speed automatic transmission at the International Vienna Motor Symposium.

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