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Competition Gap in Automotive Industry Shrinking

A recent IHS Automotive analysis of U.S. new vehicle market share among vehicle manufacturers indicates the competition at the top has never been greater.

In the past 14 years, market share range among the eight largest OEMs in the United States has quietly declined from nearly 26 percentage points in 2000 to just 14 percentage points through October of this year, reflecting how intense the competition truly is in this market. The volume dynamic has also changed, with nearly 17.5 million vehicles registered in 2000. Based on the IHS Automotive projection for U.S. sales in 2015 to reach 16.7 million units, to gain 1% share, an automaker needs to sell an additional 167,000 vehicles. In 2009, during the trough of the recession, 1% could be gained by selling 104,000 vehicles.

General Motors and Ford Motor Company continue to lead the U.S. market, though their shares have shifted dramatically over time. Chrysler (now FCA) and Toyota have exchanged ranks in third place since 2000, with Toyota’s share increasing. Honda has remained as the fifth largest OEM based on market share, and its share has improved over time. Hyundai has improved nearly 6 percentage points in the timeframe, the largest increase among the top manufacturers.

“Since no OEM wants to slip in the rankings, each is doing everything possible to retain each tenth of a point share; including speeding up product redesign or launch programs, while opting to avoid risky product programs that could cause disruption in their product portfolio,” said Tom Libby, solutions consultant at IHS Automotive, who worked on the research.

With no manufacturer accounting for more than 18% of the U.S. market, the battle for consumer share will be fought on the marketing front more than ever before. This parity among the leading OEMs is moving them to identify and utilize the most efficient marketing tools across a wide array of potential marketing channels, including traditional national TV and print advertising and a nearly overwhelming variety of digital advertising tools and platforms.

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Increasing volatility will define the global auto industry in 2015

In the run-up to the end of the year, Automotive World publishes selected extracts from its ‘Guide to the automotive world in 2015’. The full report – to be published in January 2015 – will be available exclusively to Automotive World subscribers.

In this article, Randy Miller, EY Global Automotive Transportation Leader, discusses the likely scenarios for the global light vehicle landscape in 2015

The global automotive industry is expected to continue to grow at a moderate pace in 2015, with the US and China being the growth engines, and a slow growth in most other markets. In addition, some external factors, including geo-political issues and flight of capital from emerging markets, are inhibiting a high growth in sales. However, the long-term prospects of the industry remain positive….

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Shattering the glass ceiling in the Canadian automotive industry

Susan Gubasta has deep roots in the car business. Her dad owned several dealerships in Canada and he passed his passion down to her.

Today, Gubasta is president and CEO of Mississauga Toyota Scion – one of just a handful of women who hold that sort of automotive job in Canada.

Gubasta worked her way up the corporate ladder more than 20 years ago, learning the ropes. It wasn’t always smooth sailing.

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“When I was learning, specifically in service and parts, people wouldn’t take me seriously because I was a female and I’m not technical,” says Gubasta. “I don’t need to be technical. I have technical people I work with that can answer those questions. I’m there to help run the business and steer things in the right direction. But people didn’t take me seriously because, ‘Well, you’re just a girl and what do you know?’”

But she persevered. “There’s going to be naysayers no matter where you are and what you do,” Gubasta says. “You rise above it and keep driving forward.”

Perceptions started to shift when she became general manager. “The last 10 years have been amazing because I was embraced right from the get-go working with other dealers from the Toyota brand,” she says. “I felt so intimidated walking into meetings, but they embraced me and it was a whole different world. When you get to that level, they think, ‘She is here for a reason – she has proved herself.’”

Out of 82 Toyota dealerships in Ontario, Gubasta is one of only four females at the helm.

“The auto industry is male-dominated. The difficulty is the hours. We are a store. We are a retail environment. We’re open until nine o’clock Monday to Thursday and Saturday, so women that have families find it more difficult to manage and have the proper balance in their lives,” says Gubasta, who is a mother of a seven-year-old son.

Gubasta strives to mentor young women, especially employees such as Sarah White, 25. White is the only female service adviser on staff. She knows cars. Her dad is a mechanic, her family drag races for fun, and she worked at Chrysler’s National Parts Distribution Centre to pay for university. Despite her background, she faces stereotypes often.

“The hardest part was my first day walking in as a service adviser and being introduced to all the men, especially because I was replacing another male,” says White. “These men had a look on their face – being young and female – this girl doesn’t know what’s going on with cars. I had that predisposition to overcome. Once you’re able to show your numbers those looks change.”

It wasn’t just male co-workers who had preconceived notions. “I had a woman who was a bit chauvinistic. She wanted to hear specifically from a man,” says White. “So it’s not necessarily men that perceive it that way.”

She’s even stereotyped when answering the phone. “They think I’m the receptionist. They’ll say, ‘I just asked to be transferred to an adviser.’ I’ll say I’m the service adviser. I had one man actually say, ‘Oh sorry. I didn’t mean to be a sexist prick.’”

White says the key to overcoming stereotypes is to work hard and show customers you care. “You keep professional,” she says. “You keep calm. Then they realize I do have extensive knowledge and I do care about their vehicle. Once that is established, then they break down that barrier.”

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COMMENT: Rouble trouble for the auto industry in 2015

2014 has been a rollercoaster year for Russia, a year that is set to end more differently than anyone might have expected 12 months ago.

The feeling of goodwill in the days that followed the Sochi Winter Olympic Games is but a distant memory, overshadowed by Russia’s defiant stance on the Ukraine crisis, the country’s resultant international isolation and its recent admission that it faces recession in 2015.

As we write, the rouble’s freefall (down 50% in 2014) has been temporarily slowed following the government’s decision to start selling foreign exchange. Too little, too late, is the general consensus. This action may help to halt the rouble plunging against the dollar, but it will do little to halt plunging oil prices – the country depends on US$100 a barrel for oil which is currently trading at around US$60 – rising interest rates and the effects of sanctions.

One OEM senior vice president told Automotive World that the volatility in the Russian market is such that a swing (read: decline) of 500,000 units in a year is of much less concern than it would be in an established market like Germany

However, Russia’s highly volatile and rapidly worsening situation has given an interesting short-term boost to certain industries, including automotive and consumer electronics. Aware that their roubles may rapidly lose value, people are spending their cash and boosting retail sales ahead of anticipated major price increases.

There are some planned automotive investments going ahead – Toyota recently invested in its Russian factory, and Ford has begun production of the EcoSport at its JV with Sollers. These investments may surprise, but one school of thought suggests playing the long game. One OEM senior vice president told Automotive World that the volatility in the Russian market is such that a swing (read: decline) of 500,000 units in a year is of much less concern than it would be in an established market like Germany; the OEM SVP was confident that Russia would bounce back, and continue on its path to Europe’s number one car market.

There’s another school of thought, however, that says that months before the Olympic flame even reached Sochi, it was already clear that Russia was showing much less growth potential than it had over the rest of the last decade. In the years after 2008, the pace of market growth and development, and the fact that the country appeared to have ridden the financial crisis that damaged so many other economies, made Russia a must-have on many OEMs’ target market lists. Now, with slow and patchy recovery in mainstream Europe, Russia’s current crisis looks set to have a significant negative impact on the automotive industry in 2015.

Months before the Olympic flame even reached Sochi, it was already clear that Russia was showing much less growth potential than it had over the rest of the last decade

The experience of 2014 has shown how quickly strong consumer confidence can be shattered. Asian OEMs which had bet on Russian growth are suffering; major global OEMs announced several production cuts in recent months, and that was ahead of the latest, most difficult of market conditions.

Across the 12 months of 2015, it’s hard to see anything other than a major economic decline that will make a major dent in the Russian car market’s long-anticipated rise to the top – a dent that could take years to repair.

Martin Kahl is Editor, Automotive World.

The Comment column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute a Comment article, please contact

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10 Awesome New Features in the Auto Industry


Source: Honda

The 2015 model year is officially upon us, and with it a smorgasbord of new and redesigned cars, trucks, and SUVs. While that’s reason enough for auto buffs, or anyone looking to buy a new vehicle, to get excited, it’s what comes inside and outside of the new slate of models that is another reason to pay attention.

We’re talking, of course, about the slew of new features that slowly but surely become standard over time. This year, we have all kinds of new things to look forward to, from new construction techniques and materials to futuristic technology that allows drivers to see in all directions, and even in the dark. There are things that many people could only have dreamed of five years ago, and it really makes you wonder where we’ll be in terms of automotive technology a decade from now.


But in the short-term, there are several new engineering and design improvements to be excited about. These new features serve a variety of purposes — from assisting drivers during their every-day activities, to improving on fuel economy and efficiency. With so many new features out there, what should you be the most excited about? What vehicles have that new quirk you simply can’t wait to try out or experience for yourself? We’ve put together a list of 10 new auto technologies, and where you can find them, for your reading pleasure.

Read on to see 10 of the coolest new auto technologies on the market.

Source: Glenn Chapman/Getty Images

Source: Glenn Chapman/Getty Images

1. Self-driving features

A long-gestating technology has been self-driving or autonomous vehicles. It’s been a long wait, but it’s finally starting to trickle into the mainstream. Pioneered by companies like Google, many automakers are now starting to adopt and implement autopilot features into their engineering, all in an attempt to make the driving process safer and more enjoyable. Volvo is one company that is spearheading the advance and should have vehicles on the market within a couple years. Tesla is also starting to implement autopilot features, and it’s likely not too far down the road before we’re all relaxing during the commute, rather than worrying about merging and speed limits.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Parking assist

Similar to self-driving technology, parking assistance is a feature that many new models are starting to adopt as standard. Companies like Ford, Chevrolet, BMW, and others are bringing the feature into the fold, and before long it will probably be standard across all segments. The technology itself basically works as you might expect — you find a parking spot, hit a button, and the vehicle will carefully maneuver itself into position. This is a godsend for many drivers who are stressed-out by the idea of parallel parking, or have a hard time in tight parking garages.


Source: Ford

3. Aluminum construction

One of the more widely-reported new developments in the auto industry is the adoption of new construction materials. The most obvious is aluminum, which has been adopted by a number of manufacturers. Most consumers are looking forward to the new aluminum-based Ford F-150, which is being seen as a big gamble in the eyes of many. The F-150 is America’s perennial best-selling vehicle, and by switching things up, Ford’s running the risk of alienating its customers. Of course, fuel economy and efficiency will be improved as a result, and other automakers will be watching closely to see what happens, as this will be the largest mass-market test of aluminum alloys to date.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

4. On-board Wi-Fi

This is what so many people have been waiting for: the opportunity to connect to your own, private, on-board Wi-Fi network while on the road. No more burning through all of the data allotted to you by your data plan, the world’s automakers are turning vehicles into wifi hotspots, allowing for streaming and continuous connection no matter where you go. Chevrolet and Ford are two of the leaders in this category, but, again, it is something that will likely sweep over the entire industry before long.

Source: Hyundai

Source: Hyundai

5. Interactive computer systems

While “interactive computer systems” may be kind of a broad description, that’s because it’s a broad subject area. Computer systems in today’s vehicles are becoming much more intuitive and interactive than in previous generations, but what is truly making them special is the ability to connect with other devices. Some cars are able to sync with wearable technology, like Google Glass, to make the driving experience pretty incredible. Of course, there are some legal hurdles to overcome.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

6. Fuel-saving tech

Again, this is a rather broad description, but that’s because there are simply so many small engineering quirks and features being added to the fold that it’s hard to pick just one. As we saw before, aluminum construction could be added to the pile, but other features, like plug-in technology, direct-injection engines, and more. In fact, the average fuel economy for vehicles across the board is on the up and up, all the way to more than 24 miles per gallon. Expect that number to keep increasing.

Source: Audi

Source: Audi

7. Night-vision assist

For those looking at purchasing a new luxury car, be on the lookout for one of the most exciting new features out there: night-vision. That’s right, night vision has finally made its way to the streets, and is being used in cars produced by companies like Audi and Mercedes. There are plenty of videos that show how the new technology actually works, but the image above gives the basic idea. Will night vision become standard? Will regulators allow it to fly? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s still pretty damn cool.

Source: Infiniti

Source: Infiniti

8. 360-degree cameras

The ability to see every single angle around your vehicle is pretty extraordinary, and thanks to 360-degree cameras, it’s an advantage that many drivers can now use. Some vehicles have had this feature for a while, like certain Infiniti models, but it’s now trickling down into more consumer-class vehicles. There are also third-party cameras that you can buy and install yourself. For anyone who has had trouble navigating tight parking garages or congested, narrow streets, these cameras are invaluable.

9. Collision-avoidance technology

Though some reviewers and critics have found collision-avoidance technology to be troublesome, it’s still a fairly cool invention that will likely be perfected with time. BMW and Cadillac are two manufacturers that have been lauded for their systems, which work by using camera and radar to predict when a crash is imminent, and take control of the vehicle to try and avoid it. Again, many people are uncomfortable with having control taken from them when behind the wheel, but with more time to gestate, this technology — when paired with self-driving features as well — could become incredibly popular.

10. Attention assist

Finally, our list is completed by something that is so simple, we’ll wonder why we haven’t had it as a standard feature for years: attention assist. For drivers who are feeling drowsy or having trouble keeping focused behind the wheel, attention assist technology can prompt you to pull over or take a short break. Some people will undoubtedly find this annoying, but we’ve all had moments where our attention span has waned when behind the wheel. Again, this is likely something that will improve with time, but for now, Chrysler and Mercedes are both starting to implement it.

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Auto industry calls for mandatory inspections

If you drive a car that’s over 10 years old, the auto industry is urging you to get it inspected as soon as possible.

They’re following a recommendation made in late November by the Quebec coroner’s office, which says faulty mechanics are responsible for 31 road deaths between 2006 and 2012.

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s executive director of its Quebec division Michel Tremblay admits the automotive industry – from parts suppliers to garage mechanics – would benefit from mandatory inspections, but he adds consumers would benefit too, especially when it comes to safety.

Quebec, he says, needs to join other provinces that require some sort of mandatory inspection. He says it currently has none.

“It’s beyond understanding why, in a context where there’s a lot of disruptive driving in the province of Quebec, the government has never implemented such a measure,” he says.

The Quebec auto insurance board, however, disputes the industry’s numbers.

It says faulty mechanics is responsible for only two per cent of road deaths.

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Auto industry urges London rethink on Ultra Low Emission Zone

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called for a rethink on the current proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London.

In an open letter to the Mayor of London, the SMMT welcomes plans from Transport for London (TfL), but says the scheme, due to be implemented in 2020, should enforce the latest emission standards for both petrol and diesel vehicles.

This, it claims, would reflect the step change in clean diesel technology and help ensure similar schemes across the UK and Europe are harmonised.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The implementation of the ULEZ will accelerate the take-up of ultra low and low emission vehicles, but a harmonisation of standards – a technology neutral approach – for petrol and diesel vehicles would strengthen the initiative.

“Currently, the proposed requirements differ for cars and vans. SMMT is urging London to be more ambitious with a universal Euro-6 standard for both petrol and diesel vans and cars which would remove any confusion, strengthen the uptake of cleaner technology and bring air quality benefits sooner.”

He continued: “The automotive industry is investing billions of pounds in the UK and abroad to develop technologies to lower vehicle emissions.

“The ULEZ can accelerate the take up of these cleaner technologies and bring air quality and carbon reduction benefits to London sooner.

“Today’s diesel vehicles are light-years away from those built just a decade ago.

“Intelligent engine design and highly efficient exhaust aftertreatments, including particulate filters, capture over 99% of particulates and around two-thirds of NOx emissions.

“ULEZ proposals should support the introduction of these technologies now, technologies which are being introduced ahead of the ever-tougher legislative requirements which will be implemented over the next few years.”

The current proposals for an ULEZ for London dictate the 2006-standard Euro-4 for petrol vehicles and the latest Euro-6 for diesel vehicles.

Given the introduction date of 2020, it would therefore allow petrol vehicles of up to 14 years of age to enter without penalty.

By this date the European fleet average will be approaching 95g/km of CO2, whereas a typical petrol car of Euro-4 vintage would have CO2 emissions some 72% higher.

Euro-6 petrol and diesel vehicles are on sale now and mandatory from next year meaning that under SMMT’s proposals, by 2020, qualifying vehicles would be up to six years old and would be reasonably affordable, potentially on their third owner.

Crucially, regulators can be assured that they will be delivering the air quality benefits as Euro-6 vehicles have engine management systems which constantly monitor and manage emission performance – a major advance on earlier models’ technology. 

Underlining the progress made by car makers, SMMT also said that it is vital that the ULEZ actually delivers on congestion reduction to allow the automotive industry’s new technologies to work effectively. There must be no side effects to the ULEZ which actually increase congestion or else any air quality benefits will be negated.

The success of the automotive industry’s commitment to improved emissions is indisputable, says the SMMT.

Average CO2 emissions for new cars in the UK in 2013 were 128.3g/km, down 29.1% since 2000. The 2013 figure marks a milestone as it exceeds the pan-European 2012-2015 target (sub 130g/km).

Work on CO2 reduction has been matched by technology to cut other pollutants, resulting in filters which capture over 99% of particulate (PM10) emissions.

Nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels from diesel cars have also been cut by 64% since 2000.

Criticisms that vehicles fail to deliver real world improvements compared to ‘controlled test cycle conditions’ are also being addressed, with the Euro-6 standards to include ‘real world’ driving emission testing for the first time, it says. This will give confidence to regulators and consumers alike that these new vehicles are delivering real benefits.

Those benefits include carbon reduction as diesel engines are key to reducing road transport CO2 emissions. Diesel cars emit up to 20% less carbon than their petrol equivalents – essential if the UK and Europe are to meet their climate change ambitions, says the SMMT.

Looking to the future, Hawes added: “We need an integrated approach on air quality at local, regional, national and European level.

“Fleet renewal, or the uptake of new vehicles on the road, is critical in reducing emissions. Proposals such as London’s ULEZ can help deliver this goal.

“Air quality is often a local issue so we need a flexibility that allows for focused initiatives like the ULEZ but which sit within an overall framework of harmonised standards across Europe.

“The automotive sector must have certainty in policy direction so technology investments can be targeted on addressing key issues such as air quality and climate change.”

Engine manufacturing is a crucially important part of the UK automotive industry with more than 2.5 million engines built in the UK in 2013, says the SMMT.

Engine manufacturers include Ford in Dagenham and Bridgend, Bentley in Crewe, BMW at Hams Hall, Honda in Swindon, Jaguar Land Rover in Wolverhampton, Nissan in Sunderland, Toyota in Deeside and Cummins in Darlington.

Significant new investment into the manufacture of engines in the UK has been announced over the last few years.

Ford announced in the last month that it will invest £190m in diesel engines at its Dagenham plant, creating 318 jobs. Jaguar Land Rover’s new engine manufacturing centre in Wolverhampton marks an investment of more than £500m, creating 1,400 jobs.

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Global Polyisobutylene Market Led by Booming Automotive Industry …

ALBANY, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Transparency Market Research has released a research document titled
“Polyisobutylene (Butyl Rubber) Market for Automotives, Additives and
Other Applications – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth,
Trends and Forecast 2013-2019”. The report details the various
innovations and changes in trends that are set to drive the
polyisobutylene market, especially in the automotive industry. The huge
growth experienced by the automotive industry is set to directly impact
the polyisobutylene market as well, creating a large scope of growth.
The report comprises a series of tables and graphics to provide a
granular view of the overall Polyisobutylene (Butyl Rubber) Market for
Automotives, Additives and Other Applications.

Browse Report:

The report further notes that the demand for sealants and adhesives that
use polyisobutylene is also on the rise. They are preferred due to their
superior elastic properties. This consequently has created an even
higher growth of the polyisobutylene market in the pharmaceutical
packaging industry. The report explains that the automotive segment,
which held 75.3% of the market share in the polyisobutylene market in
2012, continues to dominate it. The demand for polyisobutylene in
additives is also set to create growth opportunities.

Request Sample Report:

The major high-growth-potential regions for the polyisobutylene market
today, lie in the BRICS region. They represent the fastest growing
markets for automotives as well as the manufacture of polyisobutylene.
These emerging economies are expected to create avenues of growth in the
global polyisobutylene market. 485.7 kilo tons of polyisobutylene was
the demand in Asia Pacific in 2012. This region is expected to witness
the highest growth rate over the report’s forecast period of 2013 to
2019. Other driving factors for the polyisobutylene market include the
rising demand for additives in lubricants, alternative fuels and other

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Carbon Fiber Market:

Chitosan Market:

High-performance Ceramic Coatings Market:

About Us

Transparency Market Research (TMR) is a U.S. based market intelligence
company driven by high-pedigree consultants and researchers. TMR
leverages its Syndicated Research, Custom Research, and Market
Consulting expertise to help businesses make accurate decisions. TMR’s
exclusive blend of quantitative forecasting and trends analysis draws on
proprietary data sources and techniques, while their data repository is
continuously updated to reflect the latest trends.

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Why Campaign Measurement Falls Short — And Why Automotive Industry Is Best …

Ever since the first display ad was shown back in 1995, marketers have been promised that digital advertising would make their jobs easier because everything would have more measurable ROI. Here we
are almost 20 years later, and marketers are asking why we’re not there yet.

True, we’ve made great strides, but on the whole, the solutions are still lacking. Typically, ad tech
vendors offer reporting as part of a measurement product, but mostly what makes its way back to the advertiser is simple post-campaign analysis, often cobbled together by an agency with data from a
multitude of vendors, presented in a nice-looking PDF or PowerPoint deck. These point-in-time reports are short on pragmatic insights that allow the advertiser to significantly improve a campaign
while it is running by acting on results. It’s nearly impossible to assess the true ROI of the individual campaign, as well as the lift on the overall brand.

In many ways, the current
state of measurement is particularly hard on the automotive industry, due to its complex purchasing decisions and varying buying cycles. At the same time, auto manufacturers and related dealership
groups are some of the world’s biggest advertising spenders, investing heavily in both branding and direct-response initiatives that span television, digital and more.

What we really
need is an approach that both speeds up the delivery of digital marketing data, and makes it more useful for active campaigns. To do this, marketers need access to nuanced data, in real time, that
sheds insight into their sales funnel.

How will that look in action? Currently, auto brands can attempt to assess campaign performance by purchasing offline sales data from third-party
companies. Unfortunately, it can take four to six months to compile that data, with varying levels of granular purchase information. It’s also delivered separately from media performance data,
leaving little that can be done to adjust marketing strategy and tactics.

Is the consumer casually browsing for auto information, or is this a deep, in-market customer doing research for a
planned purchase? Imagine if advertisers had the ability to sync real-time campaign performance data about interested car shoppers, and link that faster and more accurately to dealer-level offline
sales data. Suddenly, marketers can assess the consumer’s stage in the buying process and optimize their campaign based on that information, regardless of which area of the sales funnel
they’re targeting. This is especially significant now that we’re seeing a greater portion of the auto advertiser’s branding budgets shifting away from traditional television and into
digital advertising.

Certainly, the industry has more work to do in order to provide marketers with the type of measurement needed. Auto advertisers focused on branding need a better way of
understanding the impact of their reach. Those with response-driven goals need better ways to assess how their campaigns are influencing consumer action in terms of conversion criteria. And both need
the kind of closed-loop analysis that allows them to optimize their respective campaigns and truly prove ROI.

Given that brands use multiple media partners, and the related difficulties of
cross-vendor integrations, many advertisers and media agencies don’t have access to the kind of data that indicates active, in-market consumer behavior in a way that’s pragmatic and
addressable. But we can – and should – work to get there. By better connecting information about product consideration, purchase intent and offline sales data, marketers can finally make
good on the promise of modern advertising and all its accompanying data.

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Auto industry drives US factory output

Nissan’s Smyrna manufacturing facility is producing vehicles at an accelerated rate thanks to increases in market share.

“The Smyrna plant is the largest producing automotive assembly plant in North America through November,” said Justin Saia, Nissan North America spokesman.

Nissan’s success is reflected in the nation’s factories with U.S. manufacturing output in November surpassing its pre-recession peak, as auto production kicked into a higher gear.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that factory production rose 1.1 percent last month, up from a 0.4 percent improvement in October. Manufacturing output has risen 4.8 percent over the past 12 months. It’s now above the previous high set just before the downturn began in December 2007.

Total industrial production grew 1.1 percent in November, rising in part as utilities faced additional demand because of colder-than-usual weather. Mining production slid 0.1 percent last month.

The growth points to a U.S. manufacturing base that has been insulated from a turbulent global economy. Japan has slipped into recession. Tepid growth has trapped much of Europe. China, the world’s industrial behemoth, is trying to tighten credit and reform its opaque financial sector. The rising value of the dollar against other currencies makes U.S. products more expensive abroad, meaning that U.S. manufacturers will likely need to rely on domestic demand for growth.

The U.S. economy has thrived despite the global slowdown, buoyed by domestic demand.

Strong sales helped boost auto production 5.1 percent last month. Motor vehicles sold in November at an annualized clip of 17.2 million, a 4.6 percent increase from the prior year, according to Autodata Corp. The surge in production snapped three previous months of declining auto output.

Saia said Nissan North America focused on making gains in domestic sales in 2014.

“Nissan has made strategic investments in its U.S. manufacturing operations that have positioned the company to take a larger share of the market in the U.S. and globally in the future,” he said. “Production at Nissan’s Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant has increased by nearly 35 percent year-over-year, as Nissan continues to localize core-model production.”

That increase translated into more than 4,000 jobs added since mid-2011, he added.

“To support increased production, Nissan now employs more than 8,000 people in Smyrna for the first time in the plant’s 31-year history … Additionally, Nissan’s powertrain plant in Decherd, Tenn. has become the second largest producing powertrain plant in North America,” Saia said, adding Nissan results in the direct employment of more than 12,000 Tennesseans.

Manufacturers have added 165,000 jobs so far this year, as the auto industry has helped to both drive and reflect an improving U.S. economy. Greater demand for autos and other products have helped to insulate the U.S. economy from the global slowdown.

Even with additional gains coming from food and wood, plastics and rubber-based products, manufacturing growth has recently begun to exhibit some signs of strain.

U.S. factory orders declined for a third consecutive month in October, the Commerce Department reported recently. Orders dropped 0.7 percent in October, indicating that factory activity may slow in the coming months. That decrease would have been even more severe, if not for a 21.2 percent jump in military-based orders

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said that its manufacturing index fell to 58.7 in November, down from 59 in October, which had matched a three-year high reached in August. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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