Daily News Briefs: Aug. 2, 2012

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The debate over driver distraction from in-car multimedia systems is far from over, but a new study suggests drivers think automakers have crossed the line. Market researcher Harris Interactive released a poll that shows 76% of car owners think in-car connectivity is distracting and potentially dangerous, and 61% of respondents don't want constant connectivity to online, navigation and multimedia systems in their cars. Just over half think in-car technologies "have gone too far," but the crux might be what constitutes "constant" connectivity. Harris found that 58% of drivers like at least some connectivity. Shoppers younger than 35 are more open to it, as are men, and 58% said such in-vehicle technology would somewhat influence their next vehicle purchase. Another major worry is privacy. Nearly two-thirds of drivers think in-car technology would provide too much personal information like driving habits and location to third-party companies, Harris said.

In other news:

  • As was expected last week, the Volkswagen Group completed its acquisition of Porsche Wednesday. The group  — composed of Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and others — acquired a controlling stake in the German sports-car maker.
  • Toyota/Scion manager Bill Fay told WardsAuto.com that some Toyota insiders say the next Toyota Corolla will see vast changes from the current model and likely go beyond the scale of the Avalon's sweeping redesign.
  • Losses in troubled Europe brought GM's quarterly profit down 41% versus a year ago, Automotive News reports. The automaker, whose European chief stepped down last month, reported a quarterly net income of $1.49 billion. Still, that represents the automaker's 10th consecutive quarterly profit.
  • Thanks to stronger sales, Toyota raised global production by some 300,000 cars in 2012, or a 3.5% increase for the year, Japan's Nikkei News reports via Reuters.

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