Here's what we have our eye on today:
- Nissan will use Intel chips in select models beginning next year, Bloomberg News reports. The Infiniti LE concept, which Nissan's luxury division introduced at last week's New York International Auto Show, uses Intel's Atom chip for its dashboard displays. The move helps Intel diversify beyond computers, which Bloomberg says accounts for 90% of the company's revenue. Intel has other deals with BMW and Mercedes.
- The Detroit News reports Toyota will hire another 150 engineers, scientists and researchers at its technical center this year, plus another 100 over the next five years. Headquartered in Michigan but overseeing facilities in two other states, the technical center is responsible for U.S.-designed models like the Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks, as well as the Avalon sedan.
- Ford marketing manager Kate Pearce told The Detroit Free Press that the MKZ from Ford's Lincoln luxury division has gained name recognition. It's the third best-known Lincoln nameplate behind the Navigator and now-defunct Town Car, Pearce said, and it shows "more recognition of the nomenclature." We still doubt the strategy, however.
- The U.S. Treasury froze pay for CEOs at GM and automotive lender Ally Financial, The Detroit News reports. Following an $85 billion auto bailout in 2009, the Treasury still owns large portions of both companies — hence the oversight. This year, GM CEO Dan Akerson will receive $9 million in total compensation, while Ally's Michael Carpenter will get $9.5 million. The executives' pay falls in line with their 2011 salaries.
- Audi denied reports from a German magazine that it will build its next Q5 at a new Mexican factory, according to Automotive News. Audi parent Volkswagen has three North American plants: two in Mexico and one in Tennessee. The automaker says it's still determining where it will build the plant, with more discussion to come at its supervisory board meeting on April 18.
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