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Volkswagen of America had a strong presence at the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit seminar March 4, with at least eight staffers attending.

What did they learn, and how does it apply to the auto industry?

Jim Taubitz, team leader of owner communications at VW, said he was surprised to hear marketing guru James Rosenfield caution automakers about the use of databases - the gathering of personal information on consumers.

"There's a devil in the databases," Rosenfield told attendees. "A private apocalypse is coming in this country," he warned, adding, "the problem today is there's too much personal information under too little supervision."

Taubitz says that's something to think about.

"With the way the auto industry is set up - with people coming and going every few years - it's difficult to maintain consistency" with databases, Taubitz

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