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Link Love From The Car Connection: Automakers Help Australia, Videogames Boost Brands, And Danica Patrick Sports A Bikini

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Koala rescued in Victoria, Australia -- via AP

Koala rescued in Victoria, Australia -- via AP

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Congrats: you made it to Wednesday. Only two more days of trying to look busy. Here's some reading that'll make the boss think you're in full-on research mode:

  • Brand loyalty, one pixel at a time -- All those bucks that automakers pay for product placement in videogames seems to be paying off. A new study by the Financial Post says that driving a particular car in, say, Grand Theft Auto makes a player more likely to buy that car in real life. See, dad: videogames have a role to play in the economic recovery, too. [KickingTires]
  • Automakers to the rescue. Again -- As most of you know, the state of Victoria, Australia is experiencing some devastating wildfires. We're happy to report that Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, and Nissan have all stepped up to help in the recovery efforts, and surely others will follow. We wish our friends Down Under the best--including those gosh-darned adorable koalas.
  • No cash, please, I'm on camera -- Bob Lutz's replacement hasn't even unpacked his fake ficus yet, and he's already making news. GM's new VP Tom Stephens has announced that he's forgoing the pay raise that comes with his new gig. Nice, but it's likely a publicity stunt, since the increase probably would've been cut anyway. [Freep]
  • Trucker troubles -- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been running tests on pickups, and it looks like the 2009 Dodge Ram, 2009 Nissan Titan, and 2009 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra did pretty poorly in the side-impact department. How poorly? The IIHS says they fared "worse than many cars we have evaluated". Ouch, indeed. [PickupTrucks]
  • Danica tapped -- Congratulations to 26-year-old Danica Patrick, who has been invited once again to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated's venerable and esteemed swimsuit issue. Speaking of "steamed", here's a video clip of the photo shoot, which may brighten your hump day considerably.

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