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Automotive Companies Need to Invest in Social Media Now

The automotive industry is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to almost everything. From tech innovation to advancements in design, car companies lead the pack. Why then have industry leaders in the auto space lagged behind so miserably when it comes to social marketing? A report released by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council found that while 38 percent of people say they plan to consult social media when they buy their next car, most automotive companies are not leveraging the full power of social media in their marketing strategies.

That 38 percent may not sound like a lot when taken on its own, but it’s pretty impressive considering that 23 percent of buyers said they talked about their purchasing experience on social media and another 24 percent said they used Facebook as a resource before buying. An astounding 94 percent of millennial buyers (who are shopping for cars en masse nowadays) will consult online sources before making buying decisions. It’s why most big brands have embraced social media in a big way. Money can’t buy the kind of brand loyalty that is a result of a quality social experience. It also can’t buy the kind of customer-driven advertising social media is famous for.

Who in the auto industry is killing it on social? Not only does the official BMW Facebook page have more than 18 million fans, the page also boasts a ton of engagement. Nissan has fewer fans but the company is more active. And Audi is hot on their tailpipes. The only problem? There’s no positive correlation between Facebook likes and sales of cars. In order to really leverage the power of social, a brand has to go deeper – which is exactly what Ford and Kelley Blue Book have done.

What do you get when you cross 100 free loaner Fiestas and 100 carefully chosen online influencers? Major buzz. The monumentally successful Fiesta Movement Social Remix campaign attracted the attention of millions even before it launched and once it went live it generated 6.5 million views on YouTube, 3 million Twitter impressions and 540,000 views on Flickr. Fiesta “agents” brought the brand to American Idol, the Summer X Games and the Bonnaroo Music Festival, resulting in 50,000 sales leads – mainly from people who’d never owned a Ford – and thousands of order reservations. Not only that, suddenly Ford was on the receiving end of some seriously valuable social cred and in front of a younger generation of consumers.

Although Kelley Blue Book might be a surprising choice when talking about social media innovation in the auto sphere, the brand has knocked one out of the park with its owner-empowering Seller’s Toolkit. The three-step interactive (and intuitive) toolkit has taken the For Sale sign into the social sphere, where sellers create what is essentially a real-time flyer that can be embedded in blog posts or sites like Craigslist, or shared via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or email – there’s even an automatically generated QR code. Naturally the ad created by the Seller’s Toolkit leads buyers and sellers back to the car’s listing on KBB.com where both groups can browse everything else the brand has to offer.

Related Resources from B2C
» Free Webcast: How to Craft the Ideal Content Strategy for Your Facebook Page

Why are wins like these so important? They sever as evidence that social media can help automotive companies ID, segment and engage with consumers based on where they are in the purchase cycle. But identifying and engaging with potential buyers won’t always translate into sales because a consistent social presence is not the magic potion it once was. Brands in other spheres – Red Bull and Starbucks come to mind – have shown that you need to come up with a solid hook, but once you have it you’re going to see results.

When the auto industry finally understands that, brands are going to start doing some amazing things.

This article is an original contribution by Tim Alan.

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Article source: http://www.business2community.com/automotive/automotive-companies-need-invest-social-media-now-0952710

Search for more accurate system reliability and failure prediction in auto …

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Contact: Julie O’Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University – Office of the Vice President for Research

New research at Wayne State University to lead the effort

DETROIT A team of researchers from Wayne State University recently received a $350,000 award from the National Science Foundation for the project, “Failure Prediction and Reliability Analysis of Ultra-High Strength Steel Autobody Manufacturing Systems by Utilizing Material Microstructure Properties.”

The research is the first attempt to incorporate material microstructure and micro-damage information into a reliability study that fundamentally improves the accuracy of failure and reliability prediction. The automotive industry has been facing challenges in failure prediction and reliability analysis of manufacturing tool systems, so this methodology is a potential answer as it can be applied to the auto body manufacturing system of ultra-high strength steels.

“Our research team will develop statistical methods to analyze and extract the microstructure statistical characteristics and features of workpiece a piece of metal or other material that is in the process of being worked on or has actually been cut or shaped by a tool or machine and tool materials that determine the strength of different kinds of micro particles and tool damage process,” said Qingyu Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering in Wayne State’s College of Engineering. “In addition, we will develop a physical-statistical model with the incorporation of the extracted microstructural features to describe the tool degradation process. Based on the developed degradation process of each component, a reliability model of the repairable multi-component manufacturing tool system will be further developed.”

Yang’s research may lead to solutions for the auto industry in manufacturing energy saving auto structures. With improved reliability and failure prediction of the manufacturing tooling systems, manufacturers will be able to perform optimal maintenance planning and reduce tool failures, resulting in improved product quality in products and reduced manufacturing costs. The methodology is applicable for a wide range of industries such as aerospace/aircraft, machinery/machine tools, electronics and bio-devices.

The award number for this National Science Foundation award is NSF CMMI-1404276.

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.


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Article source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-07/wsu--sfm072214.php

No Dollars, no cars . Venezuela’s auto industry in a free fall

Production at Ford has dropped to a trickle of cars a day, leaving its about 2,500 assembly workers in Venezuela with little to do. Ezequiel Minaya for The Wall Street Journal

Production at Ford has dropped to a trickle of cars a day, leaving its about 2,500 assembly workers in Venezuela with little to do. Ezequiel Minaya for The Wall Street Journal

VALENCIA, Venezuela—This car-crazed country’s auto industry, once the third largest in South America, is in free fall with assembly plants like Ford’s 20-acre complex here in Venezuela’s auto-making heartland producing only a trickle of new vehicles.

The nation’s car makers, including global giants like Ford Motor Co. , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. , have cut output by more than 80% in the first six months of the year compared with a year earlier because of a lack of dollars to pay parts suppliers, according to data compiled by the Automotive Chamber of Venezuela, which represents car makers.

“This is the first time I have ever seen things this bad,” said 61-year-old Antonio Lopez, a Ford worker who recently was preparing a sedan for painting on the factory floor. The cavernous plant here in Valencia, about 110 miles west of Caracas, was quiet by midafternoon one day last month, with a handful of workers sweeping up and maintaining equipment on assembly stations.

Ford’s 2,500 workers still arrive each workday, their jobs protected by stringent labor laws, said the secretary-general of the union that represents Ford workers, Gilberto Troya, who led a Wall Street Journal reporter on a tour. But the factory churns out just a few Fiesta compacts and Explorer sport-utility vehicles a day.

“I worry about the plant leaving,” Mr. Lopez said. “This is how my family eats. This is what I’ve done all my life.”

Ford spokesman Chris Preuss said the company has been in talks with Venezuela to obtain more dollars to import parts. He declined to elaborate on the discussions or provide details about the state of Ford’s operations except to say that the Dearborn, Mich., auto maker is focused “on getting all operations in Latin America back to profitability.”

Across Venezuela, car production and sales has been sliding fast. Balance sheets have been battered, with revenue vulnerable to devaluation and trapped in Venezuela because of currency controls. Auto makers built 36,919 vehicles through June of last year. But car plants here have made just 6,161 during the same period this year, about what Argentina produces in three days.

“[Sales] volumes are down 75% below 2013, and last year was the lowest level in a decade,” said Carlos Gomes, an economist who follows the global auto industry for Scotiabank, a unit of Bank of Nova Scotia. “I think it is fair to say that the situation is alarming.”

Economists say that the car industry, like newspapers, bottlers and food processors, has been hard hit by a shortage of dollars that has left many companies scrambling to pay for much-needed imports in a country that produces little more than oil. The reverberations in the economy include companies going out of business, a shortage of basic products and one of the world’s highest rates of inflation.

The car industry this year began on a particularly dire note, with only Toyota andVolvo AB’s Mack de Venezuela powering up their assembly lines. By March, Toyota halted production for three months, followed by Italian truck maker Iveco SpA in April. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler rolled back production amid big losses due to currency devaluations as President Nicolás Maduro’s government tried to address a shortage of dollars by weakening the value of the bolívar.

Mr. Maduro, though, blames the car companies, not the country’s economic policies for hobbling the auto sector. The government fined General Motors last year after accusing the company of selling overpriced car parts. In February, the president publicly criticized Toyota for its plans to cease production, suggesting the Japanese car maker was colluding with his political foes to destabilize his government. GM declined to respond, and Toyota didn’t return calls seeking comment.

“The only thing these little managers want is dollars, dollars and more dollars,” Mr. Maduro then said on state television. “You don’t have to be very intelligent to find that behind these things there are always political interests.”

Venezuela’s Communications Ministry declined to comment. The ministries of finance and industry didn’t return phone calls. A spokeswoman for the Automotive Chamber of Venezuela, which represents foreign auto makers, said the group was in talks with the government and declined further comment.

Since the first car reached Venezuela in 1904, a Cadillac delivered to a Caracas doctor, the automobile has become part of the national identity in a country with close cultural ties to the U.S. Venezuela built highways that were the envy of Latin America. And fuel remains nearly free, giving long life to Detroit’s classic gas-guzzlers, which are common nationwide.

“We love whiskey, beauty queens, fine cars and baseball here,” said Leonardo Casadiego, president of the Venezuelan Association of Antique and Classic Cars. “The money brought in by the oil industry allowed the cars to come flowing in.”

But no longer. Mr. Maduro’s predecessor,Hugo Chávez, made the government the sole source for greenbacks, tightly controlling their disbursement through a stringent currency exchange regime. Billions of dollars were lost as corrupt businessmen billed the government for imports that never took place, government officials have publicly acknowledged. At the same time, billions more over some 15 years went toward election-year spending, critics say.

Economists say the currency regime coupled with excessive spending have planted the seeds for a deepening economic crisis that has rapidly deteriorated since Mr. Chavez’s death last year, leaving Mr. Maduro struggling to contain shortages of everything from cooking oil and sugar to toilet paper and, recently, coffins.

One auto executive, who works for a non-American company and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Maduro administration had failed to deliver dollars promised last year through the central bank’s SICAD system, which sells a limited amount of greenbacks at a weakened exchange rate. Auto executives estimate the government has delayed up to $4 billion in payments the car companies need to convert local currency into dollars to pay international suppliers for parts.

“Some companies have shut down their lines because of the lack of materials, others are working at a reduced rate,” said the auto executive. “Eventually, raw materials will finish for us all and there will be zero new cars.”

Buyers seeking new cars can spend years on waiting lists. New car sales totaled 98,878 in 2013, a fall of 80 % since 2007, when car sales peaked at 491,899. Restrictions on car imports, coupled with the fall in car production, have made Venezuela the rare country where used vehicles climb in value.

“I can’t find anything. Prices are climbing daily,” said Jesus Ramirez, a taxi driver who has spent a year trying to replace the 2008 Renault he purchased new for $7,441. He sold the car for over $30,000 five years later.

With inflation at 60% a year, among the highest in the world, Venezuelans protect their earnings by buying cars, among other big-ticket items.

Car parts needed to keep vehicles on the road have also become difficult to find. That has led thieves to steal parts such as batteries from parked cars.

The owner of a car dealership in Caracas, who said he last sold a vehicle in 2009, said he now stays in business by servicing cars. But with spare part shipments tumbling 75%, he said, he fears his business may soon close.

“I spend all day on the phone looking for parts,” the owner said, asking to remain nameless. “We are in survival mode.”

In 2012, Venezuela’s car makers’ output ranked behind only Brazil and Argentina in South America, according to the Paris-based International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. This year, Venezuela is now fifth, trailing neighboring Colombia and much smaller Ecuador.

Hector Lucena, an auto industry expert at the University of Carabobo in Valencia, said that while roughly 15,000 assembly plant workers remain on payrolls, both Chrysler and General Motors have petitioned the government for permission to shed several hundred jobs. Unprotected positions in related businesses—from car dealerships to repair shops to parts manufacturers and others, employing more than 75,000 people—already have suffered losses, he added.

“There has never been a year uglier than this,” said Mr. Lucena.

Still, he said the companies are unlikely to leave Venezuela because of the high cost of rebuilding operations if they decided to return. “They seem to be positioning themselves to be much smaller,” Mr. Lucena said. “This could be the norm now.”

WSJ

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Article source: http://yalibnan.com/2014/07/22/dollars-cars-venezuelas-auto-industry-free-fall/

Vietnam approves new automotive industry development strategy – focus on …

Automotive manufacturing output in Vietnam is expected to rise to meet domestic as well as export demand through a new development strategy for the country’s automotive industry.

According to Vietnam News Agency, the 10-year plan, which has been approved by prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung, is focused on building trucks, specialised vans and nine- and 10-seater vans. The strategy will also encourage the production of small and multi-purpose vans for agricultural and rural use. In addition, exports of Vietnamese-made cars is targeted to reach 900,000 units by 2035.

The auto parts industry has not been left out, either, with the introduction of advanced technologies and partnerships with major global brands expected to produce world-class parts. The industry is projected to meet 35% of domestic spare parts and accessories demand by 2020 and 65% in 2035.

The plan places emphasis on the need for collaboration among carmakers and assemblers, parts makers and research and training centres in all economic sectors.

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Article source: http://paultan.org/2014/07/22/vietnam-approves-new-auto-development-strategy/

Telematics redefining automotive industry

India has a huge growth potential in the auto industry considering the rising sale of vehicles. Transportation is the backbone for fast moving lifestyle of the present generation; people are heavily dependent on better transit facilities and always strive for new

innovations in the auto sector. The industry has undergone a paradigm shift especially when we see the rising number of accidents and thefts in the automobile segment. Deployment of

machine-to-machine (M2M) telematics applications in the

automotive industry can help

decrease the number of road accidents and damages. Telematics is improving the quality of lifestyle by adding functionality and value to automotive, tracking and transport solutions.

Telematics diligence is one of the highest emerging sectors in the world and progresses in mobile communication industry have made it possible to detect and determine any variable in real-time. Indian telematics market is gaining momentum and proposes elevated expansion opportunities for all the sectors and vendors.

Automobile industry is implanting more and more telematics technology in the vehicles to monitor the performance and to detect any flaws in the vehicles, simultaneously meeting the demands of users for wireless connectivity. According to iSuppli, BRIC region has the fastest growing auto industry when compared to the western countries and the percentages of vehicles embedded with telematics technology are expected to reach 46% globally by the end of 2018, yet the telematics development is still at a nascent stage in the BRIC economies.

India being a vast nation, the adoption of M2M technology in the telematics segment has a massive potential and machine-to-machine (M2M) resolution is the elucidation to make these things possible and affordable. M2M devices are designed in such a way that they can be incorporated into all transportation segments like cars, trucks, aircraft, trains, trailers, ships and containers. GNSS, Short Range, 2G, 3G and even 4G communication modules etc are the technologies that facilitate M2M communication; this would lead to enhanced quality of life in the developing world. There are several telematics devices that are the part of the transportation segment like navigation, stolen vehicle recovery, infotainment systems, electronic toll systems and vehicle diagnostics. M2M technologies can help in getting real time update, vehicle information, toll, parking and other relevant information.

M2M is also gaining impetus in various subsidiary industries like automobile leasing business, fleet management and related sectors. The rising demand of telematics embedded vehicles is expected to drive down the prices of these devices

Article source: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/telematics-redefining-automotive-industry/1271912

GT Motive Estimate Embraces Innovation in the Automotive Industry by Including …

MADRID, SPAIN–(Marketwired – July 21, 2014) -

Editors’ Note: There are two photos associated with this press release.

GT Motive has included the i3, BMW’s first electric vehicle, in the July issue of GT Motive Estimate, its estimating solution. GT Motive Estimate contains technical information for estimating breakdowns, claims and maintenance, with references, labour times and prices for over 36 makes and 928 models -95% of passenger cars in Europe.

The company is currently involved in an ambitious international expansion in Europe, adding these developments in its advanced technical information database to a new generation of business platforms for the insurance industry and for vehicle fleet management.

In addition to this news item of interest to the repair industry in Europe, GT Motive Estimate makes it possible to exactly identify OEM spare parts to ensure greater speed and efficiency in the repair process through its VIN Query application. The unique listing of spare parts of GT Motive Estimate helps to identify new materials, such as aluminium and high-strength steel, through a colour palette.

Aluminium is a material that requires different repair techniques from those required by steel, but this material has been used, to a greater or lesser extent, for a long time in the manufacture of automobiles, so repair shops are more familiar with the required repair techniques. This time, the composition of safety cells, which are made of reinforced plastic with carbon fibre, is new.

This is a challenge for workshops, as they will have to invest resources in training and equipment.

GT Motive Estimate adapts its board navigation, especially in the engine area. This has been a challenge for GT Motive, since the existing specific information is not very extensive. A major effort has been made to make documentation comprehensive prior to its development.

According to Damien Dolan, Senior Director Business Information and Technology, “GT Motive is an European company dedicated to the development of management solutions of car crashes, maintenances and breakdowns to the automotive industry. Our solutions provide the technology which allows to obtain the best results and to restore the normal in day to day after a crash car or after a breakdown of the vehicle. This is part of our committed with our customers in Europe and with Investment in RDI. Of the 28 million planned investments for 5 years, about 5 million euros has been committed since 2012.”

About Motive GT, a Mitchell Partner Company

Motive GT, a Mitchell Partner Company, is a European company devoted to the development of claims management solutions, maintenance and troubleshooting for the automotive industry. Its solutions provide the technology to achieve the best results and restore normalcy in everyday life after an accident or damage to the vehicle.

GT Motive solutions are simple and innovative and enable to shape and set up adapted management processes to the specific needs of each customer.

GT Motive, is able to simplify and improve the exchange of information through collaborative cloud platforms that connect all stakeholders in the process, generating efficiency, quality and savings.

The company was born from the strategic partnership between the European and U.S. GT Motive Mitchell International, leader in the North American market. The new entity resulting from this alliance aims to revolutionize the European market, as will communication platforms and tested systems claims management leaders in the US but absolutely innovative in Europe.

The solutions and services Motive GT are present in more than 12,500 stores and 76 insurance companies, leasing and automotive customer services and are used by 26,000 professionals. The company also has a staff of 220 employees and, today, is present in Spain, Portugal and France, with operations in Germany, Italy and Ireland; with an experience of over 42 years.

To view the photos associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

http://www.marketwire.com/library/20140718-BMW_i3_800.jpg

http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/gtestimate13-materiales-diferentes.jpg

Article source: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/gt-motive-estimate-embraces-innovation-automotive-industry-including-information-on-1931219.htm

Electric cars: Why Tesla is important for both the auto industry and Silicon …

The Tesla Model S is undoubtedly an excellent car.

It’s quick, efficient, looks good to most eyes and can compete with most fossil-fueled equivalents on even footing.

But it’s arguably not Tesla’s, nor Silicon Valley’s most important product, according to Edward Niedermeyer writing in Bloomberg.

It’s a strange concept, given just how important the electric sedan is to Tesla. It’s the first true volume electric vehicle from the company, and one tasked with turning Tesla into a worldwide force. Along with the Model X crossover, it’s the one that needs to make money for Tesla.

But Niedermeyer argues that Tesla’s unique attributes, and the occasionally outlandish claims made by its founder and CEO Elon Musk, are even more important.

There’s method behind these thoughts.

Cars are expensive and difficult to make. It’s why we don’t all own car companies, and it’s why most startups tend to be flashes in the pan. Even huge automakers struggle at times–GM’s current recall furore is one such example.

But “brash re-imaginations of the car industry”, as Niedermeyer puts it, cost little–yet create the same sort of buzz as any physical product. Thoughts and ideas are a currency too, and Tesla–and Silicon Valley–are profiting from them.

The article notes that Musk is already America’s best-known car executive, even though Tesla itself is a tiny brand next to the Big Three or companies hailing from Europe and Japan. His name, and his product, is widely known outside those with a traditional interest in cars or the automotive industry. Love or hate Tesla, you’ve probably heard of it.

Tesla’s presence comes at an appropriate time too. While auto sales are typically rising worldwide, many automakers are struggling to attract the next generation of drivers.

Many reasons are given for this–not all of them accurate–but the increasing cost of driving plays a major part and Musk’s promise of reinvention of the automobile is a hopeful view that could reignite passion for vehicles.

They may be expensive for the time being, but they’re also an indication of change–perhaps change away from a status quo where younger people are less able to travel independently. Google, another disruptive industry force based in Silicon Valley, is tackling this from a different perspective, with its autonomous vehicles.

Tesla still sells vehicles in small numbers and Google not at all, but support for each company is indicative that at least some of the population are keen to witness change.

It’s exciting and it’s hopeful–qualities that the traditional automotive industry is struggling with right now, and ones they’d be advised to pay heed to.

Article source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2014/0721/Electric-cars-Why-Tesla-is-important-for-both-the-auto-industry-and-Silicon-Valley

Tech jobs drive Oakland County auto industry comeback



Rick Hass, COO of the Mahindra North American Technical Center, in their Troy offices. Tim Thompson-The Oakland Press












When Justin Marlette was growing up in the Flint area, he saw one General Motors plant after another close. Now he’s working in the auto industry — but not on the assembly line.

Marlette, 25, works in research and development at Faurecia, a French auto supplier that recently celebrated the opening of its new $30 million North American headquarters in Auburn Hills where 700 people are employed.

“It’s given me the best opportunity I’ve ever had,” Marlette said.

Faurecia is one of about 200 research-and-development facilities in Oakland County and roughly 375 in the state that represent a resurgence in the automotive sector that looks much different from the factory-based economy of the last century.

Auto jobs: From the line to the lab

Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors initiative was started a decade ago by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson a decade ago in an attempt to diversify the county’s manufacturing-dependent economy and add high-end, knowledge-based employment.

Deputy Oakland County Executive Matt Gibb said the effort has been a home run.

“It used to be where the automobile was built,” Gibb said of metro Detroit. “Now it’s where it’s invented.”

Gibb said the top three drivers of auto industry employment locally are digital and information technology for automobiles, development of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and the concentration of employees in the area that hold engineering degrees.

The IT jobs are a reflection of the level of computerization in cars today: “There are more lines of code in a Chevy Volt than the Apollo (space shuttle),” Gibb said.

Of the top 50 Tier 1 auto suppliers in the world, 40 are located in Oakland County, Gibb said. Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration has touted the net addition of 275,000 jobs in Michigan since 2009, and Gibb estimates 90,000 of those are in Oakland County.

Auto industry investment also means that cities like Pontiac, which had 27 General Motors manufacturing plants at its peak and now has one, could see renewed economic opportunity.

Challenge Mfg. Company, based near Grand Rapids, recently announced plans to build a 400,000-square-foot auto supply plant at the site of the former General Motors Pontiac Assembly plant on Opdyke Road, once known as Truck Bus. The project could potentially create 450 jobs.

Gibb also pointed out that General Motors is making significant research-and-development investments in Pontiac. The automaker announced a $200 million expansion of the Powertrain facility on Joslyn Avenue last year that shifts 400 jobs to Pontiac.

State focused on auto industry employment

Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Michael Finney said the state is now viewed as having a positive business climate, a 180 degree turn from past perceptions.

Finney, 57, grew up in Flint, where his father worked for Buick.

“It’s a very different industry (today) with so many more opportunities for young people. It’s amazing.”

The state has moved away from offering tax incentives to businesses considering a move to Michigan, and now instead offers cash incentives when necessary if the state is not competitive with another offer, Finney said.

With the infrastructure that’s already in place, Finney said that Michigan is the most cost-effective place for a company in the automotive sector to open an engineering facility.

Michigan’s effort to recruit automotive business and related employment from overseas includes part-time offices in Canada, China and Mexico through the Council of Great Lakes Governors. Germany and the United Kingdom are among other countries the state targets for foreign investment.

“It’s more than just going after the companies that assemble cars. It’s the entire supply base and many nuanced pieces of the supply base,” Finney said.

“We’re really trying to think differently about the auto industry than we historically did. It’s not just about assembling cars, it’s about all the cool technology that goes into building cars.”

Finney said the MEDC is working to bring job opportunities and business development to cities hit particularly hard by unemployment, such as Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac and Detroit.

An employment program, Community Ventures, has assisted 2,400 people in the last year-and-a-half in finding work at a living wage in the state’s cities.

When recruiting businesses, the state identifies tracts of land that are shovel-ready, and they include former manufacturing plants and brownfield sites in cities such as Pontiac that are ready for redevelopment, Finney said.

“We are now out actively pitching to companies all over the U.S. and our targeted international locations.”

Foreign companies, Michigan addresses

Oakland County’s Gibb said the county leads the United States with its concentration of 982 foreign-based companies.

One of those is India-based Mahindra Group, which opened its North American Technical Center in Troy this spring after a $1 million renovation of a building at Crooks Road and Square Lake Road. About 100 employees are expected to be working in the office by the end of the year.

Mahindra is a $16.5 billion multinational company with more than 100,000 employees globally.

Early morning video conferences are held in the office to account for the time difference with India.

Rick Haas, the technical center’s chief operating officer, said vehicle prototypes will be developed at the Troy office before being shipped to India for manufacturing.

“We found after an extensive search globally that Detroit happens to very cost-effective, as well as having a high level of available talent and infrastructure,” Haas said.

Services needed for building prototypes, such as wind tunnels and test tracks, are available nearby.

Mahindra is also developing an Ann Arbor plant to manufacture its battery-powered GenZe two-wheeled vehicle.

“We have had, frankly, unwavering and outstanding support from all the Michigan government agencies.”

Haas’ resume includes 28 years at Ford, two years at Tesla and three years at Mahindra. He’s worked in Brazil, India, Japan, California and Michigan.

“Detroit’s the Motor City,” he said. “It’s highly appealing to people trying to do business in the United States.”

Article source: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20140719/tech-jobs-drive-oakland-county-auto-industry-comeback

Auto industry alive and well

In year 2014, the automotive industry is alive and well. From the bankruptcy days of yesteryear, automotive sales are approaching 16 million units, a level not reached since the halcyon years before the automotive meltdown.

While reaching sales levels of mid-year 2000, the automotive industry has vastly changed, and changed for the better, with one exception. The 16 million cars and trucks produced have a very foreign flavor.

Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, and Nissan, have all increased manufacturing capacity in the United States. The increase in production numbers is good news for the American workforce, but bad news for the American automotive industry as a whole. Profits for the foreign manufacturers will be domiciled in South Korea, Germany, and Japan. But overall, the jobs provided by foreign manufacturers have good wages and benefits.

In a Halftime Report by Automotive News several changes to the sales patterns were highlighted. Under “Winners and Losers” the big winners were the new for 2014 Jeep with a 45 percent increase over 2013, Mitsubishi at 30 percent, the Ram truck with a 22 percent increase, and the Toyota-manufactured Lexus a 17 percent increase.

The losers were the Mini at 25 percent, the Chrysler brand at 14 percent, Volkswagen and Scion at 13 percent each. Market share losers for the first half of 2014 were Ford at 1.1 percent, Chevrolet, Honda, VW and the Chrysler division all at 0.4 percent.

The number of total sales was led by Ford at 1,220,835; Chevrolet second at 1,027,908; and Toyota third place at 996,282. Audi outsold Cadillac in the large luxury class. The Toyota Camry was the leader in mid-sized sedans, and the Ford F series was the top seller in full-sized pickups. The fact that General Motors has recalled millions of vehicles has not hurt 2014 sales figures, yet.

One of the surprising developments in sales was the fact that trucks represented 50.8 percent of the first-half market, while cars were 49.2 percent. The effort by manufacturers to make trucks as luxurious as cars has paid off big-time. Many trucks remain work trucks, but trucks of a luxurious nature have become the primary vehicle of many families.

Chrysler seems to be, from the numbers, the domestic car company that has survived bankruptcy quite well. The company just posted its best June sales since 2007. Chrysler June sales were 171,000 vehicles, with Jeep and the Ram truck leading the way. Jeep and Ram are the most profitable lines of Chrysler cars and trucks.

June was the 51st consecutive month that Chrysler has exhibited year-over-year monthly sales gains in the United States. In spite of robust sales, Chrysler lost $690 million in the first quarter after paying $504 million to acquire Chrysler shares by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. In addition, Chrysler recorded a $672 million charge in relation to Fiat’s acquisition of Chrysler. Without those one-time expenses, Chrysler would have earned $486 million, triple the $166 million profit for the same period in 2013.

Chief Executive Officer for Chrysler Sergio Marchionne said the new headquarters for Fiat Chrysler will be in London, England. This makes sense from a business standpoint, because the two companies are international. The two organizations will operate as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and its stock will begin trading on the New York Exchange under the symbol FCA.

Meanwhile, General Motors is chasing recalls, and CEO Barra is desperately trying to get past sins of omission behind her era of responsibility. GM could have limited the compensation to victims of the recall to events that happened after GM’s emergence from bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law protects the company from any responsibility for injuries prior to bankruptcy reorganization.

GM has created standards for compensation of victims whose airbags failed to deploy based on a faulty ignition switch. If the airbag did deploy, compensation should not be considered in those cases. Attorneys will try to negate this part of GMs compensation program, but the resolution and offering is fair.

Ford is by far, the strongest company of the Big Three. The “Big Three” is a name given to the three domestic vehicle manufacturing companies. That is no longer the case with the acquisition of Chrysler by Fiat. It is now the “Big Two.” By most measures, Ford is leading in sales, profitability, and quality.

Ford has negotiated hard to remain competitive in manufacturing cost. When General Motors and Chrysler declared bankruptcy, certain levels of pay and benefits for United Auto Workers were reduced. The same pay and benefits were required for Ford to remain in a competitive position with all vehicle manufacturers, foreign and domestic. Ford achieved their goal of competitive equivalency.

All foreign automotive companies are operating manufacturing at full capacity, which results in low product cost. Low manufacturing cost results in increased profitability. Therefore, domestic, as well as foreign, vehicle companies are enjoying appropriate success in 2014.

At this writing, the domestic automotive industry is healthy. Whether the industry can continue to enjoy success is questionable. Old habits die hard.

Article source: http://kokomoperspective.com/kp/auto-industry-alive-and-well/article_9ed7029e-0d14-11e4-9237-0019bb2963f4.html

Dealer Engage Launches Dealer Engage 360, Automated Marketing Solution for …

Orange County, CA, July 18, 2014 –(PR.com)– Dealer Engage 360 is an automated solution which allows dealers to reach their clients on different modes of communication with highly personalized services campaigns and targeted promotional messages.

Dealers can sign up for a managed service, which allows them to save time and reach customers more effectively without hiring extra staff. Dealer Engage 360 makes it possible for dealers to nurture new leads and online leads into loyal customers while also helping to attract return business and build current customer engagement.

Dealer Engage (http://www.dealerengage.com) is proud to announce the launch of Dealer Engage 360, an automated marketing solution for the automotive industry. The solution allows dealers to reach each of their customers and nurture leads with targeted messages and personalized service campaigns. The comprehensive solution includes multiple channels of communication, including email marketing, text message marketing, social media management and many more.

Dealer Engage 360 enables dealers to connect with each of their unique customers based on stored data, vehicle type and history, previous service appointments, location, preferences and more. The solution automates many communication and marketing processes that would normally be done manually, saving time and staff effort. Dealer Engage 360 can be easily integrated with a Dealer Management System to allow for even greater personalization potential.

Shawn Ryder, President and CEO of Dealer Engage, offers an affordably priced managed service which allows dealers to do effective customer communication through Dealer Engage 360 without having to personally create communication flows. The managed service is ideal for dealers looking to save time and connect more effectively with their customers.

“The potential for connecting with customers to help attract new business and drive repeat business through Dealer Engage 360 is huge,” said Shawn Ryder.

“The managed service enables dealers to take advantage of personalized customer communication and targeted marketing without having to take the time and effort to set up campaigns themselves.”

Managed services include the development of inbound and outbound marketing campaigns, building centralized targeted decisions logic, driving vehicle customer insight, business intelligence, customer database management and analytics. Shawn Ryder works with dealers to implement targeted communication solutions, with a focus on targeted email marketing, lead nurturing, a sales and marketing database, social media engagement, analytics, reporting, and more.

About Dealer Engage

Dealer Engage (http://www.dealerengage.com) is the dealership engine for easy and efficient automotive communication. The platform responds to the constantly growing need for integration among the many different communication methods of today’s online environment. Actions performed by customers trigger relevant and timely reactions from the marketing automation manager through the entire life cycle of a client.

For More Information Contact

Shawn Ryder
shawn@shawnryder.com
902-488-4107
www.dealerengage.com

Article source: http://www.pr.com/press-release/570717