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THE AUTOMOTIVE MARKETPLACE

      The automotive industry, with its accompanying products and services; motor sports activities; and enthusiast organizations; occupies a singular position in the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of people the world over. This status is unparalleled in economic and social importance, as the consequences of the industry affect the day-to-day lives of every man, woman and child in every industrialized nation.

      For example, each year Americans spend more on automobiles and automotive related products and services than almost any other consumer item, including food. In 1995, annual auto related expenditures reached 600 billion dollars, as the average family spent nearly $6,000 on automotive purchases; while spending only $4,505 on food; $1,732 on health care; $1,704 on apparel and related services; and $1,612 on entertainment. Preliminary U.S. Department of Commerce statistics for 1997 and 1998 project similar annual expenditures.

      From a recreational and entertainment perspective, motor vehicles are involved in 83% of all leisure time activities in America. Throughout the world there are thousands of automobile related fraternal clubs and organizations, whose membership rolls number in the tens of millions. These are enthusiastic supporters, collectors, and hobbyists; many of who devote all their available time to their favorite avocation. In addition, on a global basis, motor sports as a group is ranked the number one spectator sport.

      With an industry this influential it's quite obvious then, that for many, decisions regarding some aspect of the motoring world are made on a daily basis: What tire to buy? Which oil to use? Where to go on vacation? Who has the best insurance? How do I tune-up my car? What were the results of yesterday's race? Is this the year I buy a new convertible?

      Whether the decisions are simple or complex, the outcome of the choices often affect all other decisions concerning their respective lifestyles. Making correct choices, or at least knowledgeable ones, requires information. In the matter of automotive decisions, knowledgeable selections demand a tremendous amount of information. And, as evidenced by the copious quantity of automotive books, magazines, car shows, and motor sports events, the public is constantly seeking better ways to get this information and proclaim their love affair with the automobile.

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