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SONY TOPS LIST OF WORLD-CLASS INNOVATORS IN GRANT THORNTON SURVEY OF U.S. MANUFACTURERS

              SONY TOPS LIST OF WORLD-CLASS INNOVATORS
           IN GRANT THORNTON SURVEY OF U.S. MANUFACTURERS
    CHICAGO, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Many U.S. manufacturers believe they have lost their worldwide lead in product innovation to companies like Sony, according to a study released today by Grant Thornton.
    In telephone interviews with a random sample of 250 top executives representing American manufacturing companies with annual sales from $10 million to $500 million, the Chicago-based accounting and management consulting firm found the following:
    -- Fifty percent of all midsized manufacturers believe that the United States is no longer the worldwide leader in product innovation. Another 38 percent agree with the statement, "We are number one |in product innovation~, but others are catching up."  Only 8 percent believe that the United States is number one in product innovation and will remain so.
    -- Among those who say the U.S. has lost its top position as a world-class innovator, 75 percent regard Japan as number one.  Another 13 percent perceive Germany as the global leader.
    -- When asked to name one company with the best reputation for product innovation, 14 percent of the executives interviewed mentioned Sony.  Another 9 percent cited Toyota, while 8 percent named IBM. Rounding out this "top 10" list were 3M, Mitsubishi, General Electric, Merck, Hewlett-Packard, Honda, and Nissan.
    IBM, 3M, General Electric, Merck, and Hewlett-Packard are American- based; the rest are Japanese.
    Manufacturing innovation is important, says Michael N. Cantwell, Grant Thornton's national director for manufacturing and partner in charge of the study, because it ultimately impacts the U.S. economy.
    "Innovation creates demand, and that's what creates jobs," he says. "If we relinquish any of our advantage in manufacturing innovation, our entire economy suffers."
    Interviews were conducted for Grant Thornton by The Wirthlin Group, an independent research organization, from Nov. 4 to Nov. 22, 1991. Because this survey employs a national probability sample, its results are representative of the more than 20,000 U.S. manufacturers within the stated sales range.  The sampling margin of error is plus or minus 6 percent.
    -0-                      3/5/92
    /CONTACT:  Liz DeIuliis or John Koegel of Grant Thornton Public Relations, 212-599-0100/ CO:  Grant Thornton ST:  New York IN: SU: SM -- NY002 -- 5344 03/05/92 10:00 EST
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Date:Mar 5, 1992
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