July 31, 2008
List of Top 10 Green Cars from Kelley Blue Book Website
Kelley Blue Book's Web site Kbb.com, which provides new and used vehicle information, today announced the launch of KBB Green, a new section designed to guide new-vehicle shoppers on environmental and fuel economy issues.
Kelley Blue Book's new Green section allows new-car shoppers to obtain information about alternative-fuel technologies, such as hydrogen cars, diesel cars, hybrid cars, natural gas cars, electric cars and flex fuel/ethanol vehicles, as well as fuel-sipping gasoline cars.
The editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com have named their inaugural picks for the Top 10 Green Cars. With skyrocketing gas prices and growing environmental consciousness, Americans are seeking more fuel-efficient vehicles. While automakers are working to increase fuel efficiency, many economical standouts are already available in many categories to meet the needs of almost any new-car shopper.
In compiling the 2008 list of the Top 10 Green Cars, the kbb.com editors looked at more than just fuel economy and price. As would any new-car buyer, they also considered factors like comfort, performance, utility and technology. In addition to the three most fuel-friendly cars available today -- Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and smart fortwo -- the list includes exceptionally efficient vehicles from a variety of categories, all the way up to a full-size SUV, like the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. The Top 10 Green Cars list also includes a sampling of the variety of drivetrains and Green technologies currently available to American consumers.
"In today's rapidly changing economy and environment, KBB Green is a one-of-a-kind resource for anyone interested in learning more about hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Our list of the Top 10 Green Cars shows consumers that there are fuel-friendly vehicles available in almost every segment to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, so you don't have to sacrifice much, if anything, to go Green."
Listed below, in order of combined EPA-estimated fuel economy, are the kbb.com editors' choices for the 2008 Top 10 Green Cars:
TOP 10 GREEN CARS:
Vehicle --------- City MPG --- Highway MPG --- Combined MPG
2008 Toyota Prius -------------------- 48 --------- 45 --------- 46
2008 Honda Civic Hybrid ------------ 40 --------- 45 --------- 42
2008 smart fortwo ------------------- 33 --------- 41 --------- 36
2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid ---------- 35 --------- 33 --------- 34
2008 MINI Cooper -------------------- 28 --------- 37 --------- 32
2008 Ford Escape Hybrid ------------ 34 --------- 30 --------- 32
2008 Honda Fit ----------------------- 28 --------- 34 --------- 31
2008 Mercedes E320 BLUETEC ---- 23 --------- 32 --------- 26
2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid ---- 27 --------- 25 --------- 26
2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid ------ 21 --------- 22 --------- 21
Following are the Kbb.com Editorial Comments on the Top 10 Green Cars:
Of all the vehicles sold in the United States by all the major manufacturers, none is more fuel-efficient than the Toyota Prius. Not surprisingly, the green-car poster child also is the best-selling hybrid on the market. With exceptional average fuel economy of 46 mpg, seating for five and optional goodies like a rearview camera and navigation, the Prius remains the "it" car for everyone from green-leaning celebrities to commuters just looking to save some green at the pump.
Honda Civic Hybrid:
Although the Civic Hybrid plays second fiddle to the Toyota Prius -- and only the Toyota Prius -- in terms of fuel economy, many buyers prefer the Civic's more traditional sedan shape to the Prius' "flashier" ovoid styling. Whether it pencils out financially compared with a gas-only Civic depends on a number of factors, but a Civic Hybrid owner will buy and burn around 30 percent less gasoline than his or her voltage-deficient counterpart.
Instead of horsepower and handling, it might be more useful these days to measure a vehicle's "bang for the buck" in terms of its fuel economy. On that scale, the smart fortwo is without equal. The tiny two-seater delivers 41 highway miles per gallon for the low, low starting price of just above $12,000 (add about $2,000 for conveniences like a stereo, air conditioning and power windows). Starting around $17,000, the convertible version easily qualifies as the most fuel-efficient, lowest-priced drop top on the road today.
Nissan Altima Hybrid:
Using hybrid technology licensed from Toyota, the Nissan Altima Hybrid combines impressive fuel-economy with much of the same sporty character that has helped establish the Altima's reputation as one of the most fun-to-drive mid-size sedans. The advanced technology isn't confined to the engine bay, either, as the Altima Hybrid offers a slew of electronic comforts and digital conveniences like push-button start, navigation with traffic info and a rearview camera.
Cars that consume less fuel don't necessarily have to sacrifice style or driving excitement. Need proof? You won't find a more convincing argument than the lovable MINI Cooper. On the highway it can travel up to 37 miles on a single gallon. In the mountains, it demonstrates road-holding acumen on par with some much thirstier and more expensive performance cars. Offering one of the most distinctive designs on the road to boot, the MINI Cooper is a smart choice for cost-cutting, fun-seeking and fashion-conscious buyers alike.
Ford Escape Hybrid:
Rising gas prices have been particularly troublesome for drivers who've grown accustomed to the raised seating position and added interior flexibility of SUVs. With the Ford Escape Hybrid, those so inclined can have their cake and haul it, too. The Escape Hybrid sweetens the sensible balance of a compact crossover SUV with lower fuel costs and the amusement of quiet, all-electric operation in parking lots.
The littlest Honda isn't the most fuel-efficient car in its class - a distinction that belongs to the Toyota Yaris -- but it is the most versatile and most fun. An exceptionally flexible rear seat maximizes cargo- and people-hauling abilities, while an available Sport model offers a performance-tuned suspension and paddle shifters. Combined with a starting price of less than $15,000, the five-door Fit is a well-rounded economy car that's good at everything from long commutes to long weekends.
Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC:
"Mercedes diesel." Can't you just see, hear and smell it idling so obtrusively before you at the stoplight? Now, forget that ever happened and picture a smooth, quiet and clean E-Class diesel that returns 36-percent better combined fuel economy than its gasoline-swilling counterpart. Like many new diesels on the way, the E320 BLUETEC combines cleaner diesel fuel with new engine and emissions technologies to deliver all the punch and efficiency of a diesel powerplant, but without all the shake and soot.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid:
For families that demand the added capacity of three rows, the Highlander Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient option available. The gas-electric version of Toyota's mid-size crossover SUV combines available seating for seven, impressive average fuel economy of 26 mpg and proven reliability. The standard equipment list even includes four-wheel drive, so you can commune with nature with the added peace of mind that you're spewing less into the air.
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid:
Owners of full-size SUVs are suffering more than most at the pump, and many are trading the excess capacity for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. But what of the large, active families that really do need all the size and towing ability of a large SUV? Now there's a hybrid for them, too. The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid can be equipped with seating for eight, four-wheel drive and can tow more than 8,000 pounds - all while seamlessly transitioning between gasoline and electric power and delivering 50-percent better city mileage than its gasoline-only counterpart.
• Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book has been providing vehicle buyers and sellers in America with the new and used vehicle information. The company's Web site KBB.Com displays new-car prices, car reviews and news, used-car blue book values, auto classifieds and car dealer locations.
Source: Kelley Blue Book
July 30, 2008
Siemens Velaro High-Speed Trains in Beijing
Five Siemens Velaro trains are to start running between the two Olympic sports venues from August 1 onwards. China Rail ordered a total of 60 Velaro trains. Three of them have been built in Krefeld in Germany, while the other 57 units are being built at Tangshan Locomotive & Rolling Stock Works in Tangshan. The above two pictures show the Velaro CN on the high-speed route near Beijing.
The Velaro high-speed train is fast, economical and safe for the environment. The Velaro is considered the most successful high-speed train in the world. By 2008, over 160 trains based on this platform will be operating all over the world, including the ICE 3 in Germany, the Velaro E in Spain, the Velaro CN in China and the Velaro RUS in Russia. According to Siemens, not only does the Velaro minimize operating and maintenance costs, but emissions are also extremely low in relation to the high transport capacity. In addition, low energy consumption and the use of environmentally friendly materials help save valuable natural resources. The Velaro is also the fastest series-produced train in the world. In September 2006, the Velaro reached the world record speed of 404 km/h.
Source: Siemens AG
July 28, 2008
The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition 2009 Announced
Career in the Fashion Industry.
The Art Institutes has announced its 2009 Passion for Fashion Competition. It gives North American high school students interested in the highly competitive fashion industry an opportunity to earn a full tuition scholarship to study in a fashion program at one of The Art Institutes schools.
Open to high school seniors throughout the U.S. and Canada, The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition was created to encourage and reward young fashion talent at the high school level.
Bruce E. Dempsey, Vice President, Academic Affairs Specialist for The Art Institutes, said, "We have seen the caliber and maturity of the entries into the Competition increase every year. There are so many wonderful fashion courses in high school today, and many students see a career in this industry within their reach."
The competition consists of two categories, Fashion Design, and Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management. The grand prize in each category includes a full tuition scholarship to The Art Institutes school with a Fashion program at which the student entered the Competition.
In addition to a full tuition scholarship, the grand prize winning student in each category will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City for Fashion Week in February 2009, a "meet and greet" at Seventeen Magazine's offices and lunch with a Seventeen Magazine Style Pro.
Deadline for entries into the competition is November 21, 2008. Passion for Fashion Competition Brochure 2009 can be dowloaded by clicking here.
The Art Institutes (artinstitutes.edu) is a system of over 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Art Institutes schools offer a broad range of programs including: Audio Production, Computer Animation, Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, Graphic Design, Industrial Design Technology, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Media Arts & Animation, Photography, Restaurant Management and Video Production.
The parent company of The Art Institutes, Education Management LLC (edmc.com), with 96,000 students as of fall 2007, is among the largest providers of post-secondary education in North America, based on student enrollment and revenue. Education Management has 83 locations in 26 U.S. states and in Canada. Education Management's educational institutions offer a broad range of academic programs concentrated in the media arts, design, fashion, culinary arts, behavioral sciences, health sciences, education, information technology, legal studies and business fields, culminating in the award of associate's through doctoral degrees.
July 26, 2008
French Airline L'Avion Purchased by British Airways
To Be Integrated With New Transatlantic Subsidiary OpenSkies.
British Airways announced yesterday (July 25, 2008) that it has completed the purchase of French airline L'Avion, which will be integrated with British Airways' new subsidiary OpenSkies. This agreement was initially announced on July 2, 2008. Full integration of L'Avion with OpenSkies is slated for early 2009.
OpenSkies recently launched daily flights between Paris Orly Airport and New York John F. Kennedy Airport. L'Avion operates two Boeing 757 aircraft between Paris Orly and Newark Airport. The combined airline will operate up to three daily flights between Paris Orly and the New York area using Boeing 757 aircraft.
"We are very pleased about the completion of this deal and excited to begin the integration process," said Dale Moss, Managing Director of OpenSkies. "This is an ideal combination of two companies that share a focus on delivering an unparalleled experience on the transatlantic journey. With L'Avion providing increased access to Paris-Orly, greater scale and a deep and talented employee base -- coupled with the backing of British Airways -- we will present an even stronger and more vibrant competitive choice across the Atlantic."
"Together, our combined companies will offer a compelling premium value proposition for travelers on the New York - Paris route," said Marc Rochet, Chief Executive Officer of L'Avion. "Our two airlines are a natural fit, with a collective commitment to providing memorable customer service on each and every flight. We look forward to working closely with our OpenSkies colleagues as we continue to build a premier transatlantic airline."
Upon integration of the two airlines, customers can expect to experience benefits that will further improve the Paris - New York offering, including an increased schedule and BA Executive Club privileges. OpenSkies and L'Avion currently operate a codeshare with L'Avion selling seats on OpenSkies flights.
L'Avion has accommodated more than 65,000 customers since its start on January 3rd, 2007. L'Avion is the first French airline that offers all business class service at affordable prices to travelers. L'Avion operates two Boeing 757-200 with 90 Business Class seats only. L'Avion flies between Paris-Orly and New York- Newark twice daily, 5 times a week.
With no more than 82 passengers on each flight, OpenSkies features three cabins: BIZ, a business class service featuring the only fully lie-flat beds on the Paris - New York route; PREM+, a completely new service category featuring reclining seats with a 52" pitch; and ECONOMY, featuring a cabin containing only thirty seats.
OpenSkies will initially fly between Paris - Orly Airport and New York - JFK Airport. Other European destinations being considered for the airline include Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan. The airline will offer guests innovative features onboard, including lie-flat beds in business class, personal entertainment units with 50+ hours of programming, and fresh and healthy meal service. Backed by British Airways, OpenSkies is the first airline created as a result of the Open Skies agreement, which allows airlines to fly between any U.S. and E.U. destination.
July 25, 2008
Mobile map usage growing much faster than online map usage: comScore
comScore M:Metrics Reports Mobile Map Use Grows 82 Percent in United States, 49 Percent in Europe.
As families hit the road this summer, more will be turning to the mobile device for turn-by-turn directions.
Photo: Nokia 6110 Navigator
The use of mobile maps is increasingly popular in the United States and Europe, with 8 percent of American mobile subscribers and 3 percent of European subscribers accessing maps from the mobile phone in the three-month period ending May 2008, this was reported today by comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCOR) , a leader in measuring the digital world. This represents a growth rate of 82 percent and 49 percent in the number of users, respectively. According to the comScore M:Metrics Benchmark Study, the iPhone is the leading device used to access maps in the United States, and in Europe, the device trails the Nokia N95 and N70.
"The mobile phone as a personal navigation device makes tremendous sense," observed Mark Donovan, senior analyst, comScore. "With the influx of devices, such as the iPhone with GPS, entering the market, Nokia's purchase of NAVTEQ and the growing popularity of downloadable navigation applications, you don't need a map to see where this sector is going."
According to comScore, 73 percent of mobile subscribers accessing maps are doing so via the browser in the U.S., and in Europe, 57 percent. Less than a third of Americans and Europeans are using a downloaded application, which allows even feature phones, with less computing power and often smaller screens, to better render graphic-rich maps and directions. Despite the ubiquity of SMS usage in Europe, the penetration of consumers accessing maps and directions via SMS is 24 percent; only one percentage point higher than it is in the United States.
Photo: Nokia N95 with GPS
The vast majority of mobile map users are seeking driving directions, even in Europe, where public transportation and non-vehicular options are more popular.
While mobile access to maps has surged, online access to maps using the PC shows more modest gains in the United States and Western Europe. In the United Kingdom, which posted the highest growth in mobile access to maps at 72 percent, online access via the PC dipped from 45 percent penetration in May 2007 to 41 percent in May 2008. In the U.S., the increase in the number of users accessing maps from a mobile device far outpaced the increase in the number of people who accessed maps via the PC.
Acquired by comScore, Inc. in May 2008, M:Metrics is an authoritative source of data on mobile usage. Using its proprietary on-device metering technology and one of the world's largest monthly surveys of mobile users, M:Metrics provides data on actual mobile content consumption by applying trusted media measurement methodologies to the mobile market. According to comScore, M:Metrics services are used by more than 180 clients, including global leaders in the mobile, advertising, technology and consumer goods industries such as Verizon, Vodafone, Microsoft, RIM, FOX, CBS, BBC, BMW, Samsung, Palm, Qualcomm, Ericsson, O&M, and JWT.
Source: comScore, Inc.
July 23, 2008
2008 New York International Latino Film Festival: Suzuki Auto Hits Red Carpet With Actors Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz and Jay Hernandez
Rising Latina star Melonie Diaz receives Suzuki 'Way of Life!' Award.
Automaker presents NYILFF opening night film 'American Son,' starring Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz and Jay Hernandez.
Photo: Melonie Diaz arrives at a screening of her new film "American Son" at the New York International Latino Film Festival's opening night, presented by Suzuki Auto, Monday July 22, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Suzuki Auto, Jason DeCrow)
Suzuki Auto made a star appearance as the presenting sponsor of the New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) opening night film "American Son," featuring rising stars Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz and Jay Hernandez. Suzuki's sponsorship of the NYILFF, which runs from July 22 through 27, 2008 in New York City, is part of the carmaker's ongoing effort to connect its brand and products with a wide range of Latinos -- a segment that represents nearly 10 percent of Suzuki new vehicle sales.
As part of the festival's opening night activities, Suzuki presented its first ever "Way of Life!" Award to Latina star on the rise Melonie Diaz. The award recognizes Diaz as a flourishing young Latina actress that embodies the authentic, bold and dynamic qualities of Suzuki's "Way of Life!" brand philosophy. Included with the award, the automaker presented a $2,500 cash donation on Diaz's behalf to the Manhattan-based Latin American Theatre Ensemble/El Porton del Barrio (LATE), a not-for-profit theater group responsible for the development of dramatic and literary talent from within the Hispanic-American community of New York City.
Photo: Suzuki Equator
Photo: Suzuki Forenza
"The Suzuki brand is about confidently exploring the world and discovering one's ability to live life to the fullest, and we're glad we've found a like-minded partner in the New York International Latino Film Festival," said Gene Brown, vice president of marketing for American Suzuki Automotive Operations. "Just as Suzuki is dedicated to providing fun and exciting products that reflect our customers' 'Way of Life' attitude, the festival shares a similar commitment to providing exhilarating and culturally relevant entertainment for film fans."
The 2008 NYILFF is presented by HBO (Home Box Office, Inc.), and made possible with the additional support of Official Sponsors HBO Latino, Heineken, Suzuki Auto, TBS & TNT, American Airlines, The Hollywood Reporter, Daily News/VNY, Telemundo, Time Warner Cable's New York City Region, 103.5 WKTU, WNBC and Impre.com.
The NYILFF is one of the leading film festivals that focuses on the urban Latino experience and presents the work of the hottest emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and Latin America. This year's festival includes screenings throughout the day and evening, industry panel discussions, music showcases and an exclusive partnership with Australia's Hola Mexico Film Festival, all tailored to reach the diverse and generational Latino audience.
Source: Suzuki Auto
Music: Sony Ericsson launches three new Walkman™ phones and the next generation music accessories
To coincide with the Walkman™ phone's third birthday, Sony Ericsson has unveiled three brand new mobile phones giving music on the go to more users.
Photo: Listening to Song with Sony Ericsson W595 Walkman™
Today, Sony Ericsson unveiled its latest innovative additions to the Walkman™ phone family: the W902, W595 and W302, and seven new music accessories. Sony Ericsson is unveiling phones and accessories with superior sound quality and pioneering features, which, according to the company, "Take Walkman™ phones beyond music and expectations with fantastic extras such as great imaging and video capabilities."
Photo: Sony Ericsson W595 -- Listening to Music
"Since the launch of our first Walkman™ phone in 2005, Sony Ericsson has continued to pioneer a superior mobile music experience - and the 77 million Walkman™ phones sold to date are testament to this commitment," says Ben Padley, Head of the Music Category at Sony Ericsson. "With this latest range of phones and accessories, we are offering high quality sound and a rich feature set that cements our position as a leader in the music phone category. We are pushing the boundaries of what people think is possible and are offering best-in-class sound quality and our most exciting Walkman™ phones to date. The list of pioneering and innovative features found on Walkman™ phones continues to be unmatched in the industry. Features like the music recognition application TrackID™, SensMe™, for matching your mood to the music and Shake control to change tracks with the flick of your hand make Walkman™ phones stand out from the rest."
Photo: Sony Ericsson W902 Walkman™
Photo: Sony Ericsson W595 Walkman™
Photo: Sony Ericsson W302 Walkman™
According to Sony Ericsson:
• The W902 makes the users listen to music the way it should be heard: true to original. It's also a mobile phone for those that want it all, with a five megapixel camera and great video capturing and sharing capabilities.
• The W595 Walkman™ is for those who want to share sounds with their friends. Store and play more than 1,900 songs through the built in stereo speakers. Plug in the in-box sharing jack to listen silently to your tunes with a friend or Bluetooth™ your sounds to Sony Ericsson's range of wireless speakers.
• The new W302 Walkman™ is packed with impressive features in an affordable no-compromise slim handset. Targeting all audiences, the phone comes complete with a two megapixel camera, FM radio, TrackID™ and 512MB Memory Stick Micro™ (M2).
• The next generation of accessories includes three new sets of speakers, the MBS-200, MBS-400 and MPS-100, to help music lovers go beyond the individual and play music directly from their mobile phone. Enhancing its music accessories collection Sony Ericsson has also introduced three new stereo headphones, HBH-IS800, HPM-88 and HPM-66 for the optimal listening experience.
Sony Ericsson is a top global industry player with sales of over 100 million phones in 2007. With operations in over 80 countries including manufacturing in China and R&D sites in China, Europe, India, Japan and North America. Sony Ericsson was established as a 50:50 joint venture by Sony and Ericsson in October 2001, with global corporate functions located in London.
Source: Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB
July 18, 2008
Blog Influence in Print Media is Growing Rapidly: Cision
Print Media Needs to Develop Strong Blogger Relationships.
Photo: A Professional Blogger
Rapid acceleration of blog and blogger mentions in top mainstream print publications emphasizes the importance of proper blogger relations.
Cision, the leading provider of media research, distribution, monitoring and analysis services, today released figures that clearly demonstrate the growing influence of blogs in the mainstream print media. A study of the top 20 national magazines and newspapers shows that over the last 5 years, the number of times blogs and bloggers are mentioned in articles has increased more than 16-fold.
Photo: A College Blogger
Cision discovered that the top 20 national magazines and newspapers mentioned blogs and bloggers 13,066 times in the one-year period ending June 30, 2008. That compares to only 795 times in 2004 and 2,179 times in 2005.
"This stunning growth in blogger influence magnifies the importance of employing common sense when contacting bloggers," said Peter Granat, Cision Executive Vice President. "Knowing the blogger and his/her focus is the critical element in a successful blog relations campaign. While many blogs are highly visible in their own right, the growing influence with the mainstream media elevates their importance."
Photo: Newspaper Readers
Photo: A Magazine Reader
"As stories with origins in the blogosphere begin to spill into magazines and newspapers, the benefits of developing relationships with bloggers continue to grow," Granat said.
Photo: A Journalist using Blogs for information
Other recent research confirms the growing reach of the blog. Brodeur Partners, a leading public relations and communications firm, noted in a January survey that 57 percent of 178 journalists contacted said they read blogs at least two to three times per week, while 18 percent said they spend at least one hour per day reading them. The PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey revealed that nearly 40 percent of the participating journalists employ blogs to find topics for stories, 30 percent use them to find experts, and nearly 58 percent use them to measure sentiment.
Photo: Man at Newspaper Stand
Publications included in the Cision research are:
• Arizona Republic
• Chicago Tribune
• Dallas Morning News
• Entertainment Weekly
• Financial Times
• Houston Chronicle
• Los Angeles Times
• New York Times
• USA Today
• Vanity Fair
• Wall Street Journal
• Washington Post
Cision provides integrated services and software solutions for reputation and campaign management, media monitoring and research of media contacts. Cision operates in the US, UK, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and China, and has partners in another 125 countries.
Sneak Peek from Beijing
Photos: Sneak Peek from Beijing: New Satellite Images of National Stadium and Aquatics Center captured by DigitalGlobe. (Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe Inc.)
July 16, 2008
US Automobile Buyers Want Advancements in Alternative Powertrain Technology: J.D. Power and Associates
Small Cars and Hybrids Lead the Automotive Environmental Index Top 30.
Photo: Smart Fortwo
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Alternative Powertrain Study released today, while most automotive manufacturers have shifted production to focus on smaller vehicles, nearly 70 percent of consumers say they want manufacturers to invest more in existing and emerging powertrain technologies.
Photo: Lexus RX Hybrid
Now in its third year, the Alternative Powertrain Study examines the reasons why consumers consider or avoid alternative powertrain vehicles, such as hybrid, flex fuel and clean diesel fuel models. The study includes the Automotive Environmental Index, which combines U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publicly available information related to fuel economy, air pollution and greenhouse gases for 2008 model-year vehicles and J.D. Power and Associates' voice of the customer data related to stated fuel economy. Feedback from verified vehicle owners is also used to help determine the relative importance of these environmental factors.
Photo: 2008 Nissan Sentra
The study finds that more than 80 percent of consumers believe that the United States is currently faced with an energy crisis. Only 18 percent of these consumers believe this issue can be addressed by focusing on small vehicle production with better fuel economy. Approximately 30 percent of consumers believe that auto manufacturers should continue to produce a comparable vehicle lineup with a focus on hybrid-electric, clean diesel and flexible fuel vehicles, while an additional 39 percent believe manufacturers should focus on developing emerging technologies not currently available in the market, such as fuel cell and electric vehicles.
Photo: 2009 Honda Fit Sport
Photo: 2009 Ford Focus RS
"Nearly 80 percent of consumers believe that gas prices will continue to rise, which will have a significant effect on the vehicles they will consider," said Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, some consumers still want more than small cars to choose from in the auto market. They still want their SUVs and pickup trucks, except with better fuel economy and more environmentally friendly."
The study also finds that the percentage of consumers who are considering a hybrid-electric vehicle is up from 50 percent in 2007 to 62 percent in 2008. Consideration for flexible fuel (E85) capable vehicles -- which are designed to run on gasoline or a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol -- has decreased slightly from 2007 (47% vs. 43% in 2008), while consideration for clean diesel demonstrated the most notable decline from 23 percent in 2007 to only 16 percent in 2008. The drop in consideration for diesel technology may be attributed to the substantial increase in the relative price of diesel since 2007.
Photo: 2009 Saturn Astra XR 3-door
Photo: 2009 Pontiac G5 GT
Among the top 30 models in the Automotive Environmental Index, Toyota has the highest number of vehicles (6), followed by Chevrolet, Honda and Nissan with three models each. Additionally, eight models in the Automotive Environmental Index top 30 are hybrid-electric vehicles. They are:
Ford Escape Hybrid
Nissan Altima Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Lexus RX 400h
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Photo: 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe
Photo: 2008 Chevrolet Aveo LT
The remaining models in the Top 30 Automotive Environmental Index are:
Smart Fortwo Coupe
MINI Cooper S
Smart Fortwo Convertible
The 2008 Alternative Powertrain Study includes responses from more than 4,000 consumers who plan to purchase a new vehicle within the next two years. The web-based study was fielded in May and June 2008. The voice of the customer components of the Automotive Environmental Index are derived from the 2008 Alternative Powertrain Study and the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Initial Quality Study.
Source: J.D. Power and Associates
July 15, 2008
Americans Viewed 12 Billion Videos Online in May 2008
U.S. Internet users viewed more than 12 billion online videos during the month of May 2008, representing an increase of 45 percent versus year ago. This was disclosed today by comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) through its Video Metrix service.
In May, Google Sites once again ranked as the top U.S. video property with 4.2 billion videos viewed (representing a 35 percent share of all videos viewed), with YouTube.com accounting for more than 98 percent of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 778 million videos (6.4 percent), gaining 1.3 share points versus April. Yahoo! Sites ranked third with 347 million (2.9 percent), followed by Microsoft Sites with 246 million (2.0 percent). Hulu.com, a joint venture of NBC and Fox featuring full-length broadcast TV programs, debuted in the tenth position with 88 million videos being viewed (0.7 percent).
Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Videos Viewed
Total U.S. -- Home/Work/University Locations
(Source: comScore Video Metrix)
Property ------------------ Videos (000) ----- Share (%) of Videos
Total Internet ----------------- 12,086,273 ---------- 100.0
Google Sites -------------------- 4,205,700 ------------ 34.8
Fox Interactive ------------------- 778,168 -------------- 6.4
Yahoo! Sites ---------------------- 346,825 -------------- 2.9
Microsoft Sites -------------------- 245,899 -------------- 2.0
Viacom Digital -------------------- 206,047 -------------- 1.7
Time Warner [Excl. AOL] -------- 145,113 -------------- 1.2
ABC.COM -------------------------- 126,589 -------------- 1.0
Disney Online ----------------------107,876 -------------- 0.9
AOL LLC -----------------------------104,681 ------------- 0.9
HULU.COM --------------------------- 88,284 ------------- 0.7
[Rankings based on video content sites; excludes video server networks. Online video includes both streaming and progressive download video.]
Nearly 142 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 85 videos per viewer in May 2008. Google Sites also attracted the most viewers (83.8 million), who watched an average of 50 videos per person. Fox Interactive attracted the second most viewers (60.8 million), followed by Yahoo! Sites (40.2 million) and Microsoft Sites (29.5 million).
Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Unique Viewers
Total U.S. -- Home/Work/University Locations
(Source: comScore Video Metrix)
Property --------- Unique Viewers (000) -- Average Videos per Viewer
Total Internet ----------------------141,657 --------- 85.3
Google Sites ------------------------- 83,828 --------- 50.2
Fox Interactive ---------------------- 60,760 --------- 12.8
Yahoo! Sites ------------------------- 40,197 ----------- 8.6
Microsoft Sites ----------------------- 29,471 ----------- 8.3
Time Warner [Excl. AOL] ----------- 24,612 ----------- 5.9
AOL LLC ------------------------------ 21,670 ----------- 4.8
Viacom Digital ----------------------- 21,260 ----------- 9.7
Disney Online ------------------------12,385 ----------- 8.7
ESPN ----------------------------------- 8,425 ----------- 8.9
ABC.COM ------------------------------ 7,747 ---------- 16.3
[Rankings based on video content sites; excludes video server networks. Online video includes both streaming and progressive download video.]
Other notable findings from May 2008 include:
• 74 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
• The average online video viewer watched 228 minutes of video.
• 82.2 million viewers watched 4.1 billion videos on YouTube.com
(50.4 videos per viewer).
• 54.8 million viewers watched 703 million videos on MySpace.com
(12.8 videos per viewer).
• 6.8 million viewers watched 88 million videos on Hulu.com
(13.0 videos per viewer).
• The duration of the average online video was 2.7 minutes.
Source: comScore, Inc.
July 10, 2008
Apple iPhone 3G on Sale Friday, July 11
Over 500 Native Applications for iPhone & iPod touch Available at Launch.
Apple today announced that more than 500 native applications will be available on the iPhone's App Store when Apple's iPhone™ 3G goes on sale tomorrow. These applications will be available on Apple's new App Store, enabling customers to wirelessly download them directly onto their iPhones and start using them immediately. More than 125 applications are being offered to iPhone customers for free.
The new iPhone 3G combines all the features of iPhone with 3G networking that is twice as fast*, built-in GPS for expanded location-based mobile services, and iPhone 2.0 software which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and runs hundreds of third party applications available through the new App Store which is a built-in application on every iPhone running iPhone 2.0 software.
The App Store on iPhone works over cellular networks and Wi-Fi, which means it is accessible from just about anywhere, so users can purchase and download applications wirelessly and start using them instantly. Applications are free or charged to the user's iTunes account and the App Store notifies the user when updates are available for their apps. The App Store is also available in iTunes (www.itunes.com) running on a Mac or PC, which syncs applications to the iPhone or iPod touch using a USB cable.
The App Store will offer over 500 native applications from hundreds of companies around the world in a variety of categories including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.
In addition to the App Store, the iPhone 2.0 software update includes enterprise support, contact search, complete iWork and MS Office document viewing support, the ability to delete or move emails in bulk, saving images from emails, a scientific calculator, parental controls and support for 16 additional languages.
iPhone 3G will be available in more than 70 countries later this year, beginning with customer availability in 22 countries--Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US--on July 11.
"Just one year after launching the iPhone, we're launching the new iPhone 3G that is twice as fast at half the price," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.
According to Apple, iPhone 3G gives users ever faster access to the Internet and email over their cellular network with quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA for voice and data connectivity around the world. iPhone 3G supports Wi-Fi, 3G and EDGE networks and automatically switches between them to ensure the fastest possible download speeds. The new iPhone 3G also makes it easier to multi-task with simultaneous voice and data communications, so with iPhone 3G you can browse the web, get map directions, or check your email while you are on a call.
Additional features available with the iPhone 2.0 software include the ability to do real-time mapping and track your progress with GPS technology, mass move and delete multiple email messages, search for contacts, access a new scientific calculator, turn on parental control restrictions for specified content, save images directly from a web page or email them to your iPhone and easily transfer them back to your photo library on your Mac or PC. According to Apple, iPhone 3G delivers a 10 hours of talk time on 2G networks and 5 hours using 3G, with up to 5 to 6 hours of web browsing, up to 7 hours for video playback and up to 24 hours for audio playback.
iPhone 3G takes advantage of MobileMe™, a new Internet service that pushes email, contacts, and calendars from an online "cloud" to native applications on iPhone, iPod touch, Macs and PCs. With MobileMe email, messages are pushed instantly to iPhone, removing the need to manually check email and wait for downloads, and push keeps contacts and calendars continuously up-to-date so changes made on one device are automatically updated on other devices.
July 6, 2008
THE 2008 BEIJING OLYMPIC GAMES AND 'THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR' TO BE PRESENTED IN MULTI-NETWORK 'TAKEOVER' BY NBC UNIVERSAL
Beijing Olympics and Upcoming Epic Adventure Starring Brendan Fraser and Jet Li Receive Joint Promotion with Innovative Co-Branded Feature.
NBC Universal announced that it has assembled all of its family units to promote two enormous August events in China -- the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the next chapter in the blockbuster Mummy adventure series. According to NBC, this is to be done through a co-branded spot that represents "the most comprehensive synergistic effort ever mounted by NBC Universal". The piece features settings and characters from "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" and athletes seamlessly blended in sequences in which the action from the film transforms into Olympic events. It premiered on July 1 on all NBC networks and will run throughout August.
The NBC announcement says that "THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR" hits theaters worldwide on August 1, and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games coverage begins on NBC on August 8. The blockbuster global Mummy franchise takes a turn as the action shifts to Asia for the next chapter in the adventure series, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor". Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O'Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China to the neon-lit streets of post-war Shanghai and high into the spectacular Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son Alex (newcomer Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah). And this time, the O'Connells must stop a mummy awoken from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service.
Doomed by a double-crossing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation, China's ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000 warriors have laid forgotten for eons, entombed in clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army. But when dashing adventurer Alex O'Connell is tricked into awakening the ruler from eternal slumber, the reckless young archaeologist must seek the help of the only people who know more than he does about taking down the undead: his parents.
As the monarch roars back to life, our heroes find his quest for world domination has only intensified over the millennia. Striding the Far East with unimaginable supernatural powers, the Emperor Mummy will rouse his legion as an unstoppable, otherworldly force...unless the O'Connells can stop him first. Now, in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor", the trademark thrills and visually spectacular action of the Mummy series will be redefined for a new generation.
"The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" is helmed by director Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx) and written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (Spider-Man 2, television's Smallville). Reprising their roles as producers in the series are Bob Ducsay, Sean Daniel, Stephen Sommers and James Jacks.
Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios. Universal Studios is part of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBC, "America's Olympic Network," owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games, television's most powerful property, through 2012, which includes Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012. The 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, China, will represent the 11th Olympics broadcast by NBC, a record for the most Olympic broadcasts by any network. From August 8-24, 2008, NBC Universal will present an unprecedented 3,600 hours of coverage, highlighted by NBC in primetime with live swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball and more than 2,200 hours of live streaming video for the first time on NBCOlympics.com. In August 2004, 203 million viewers watched as the networks of NBC Universal -- NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Telemundo, and NBC's HD affiliates -- offered a then record 1,210 hours of Olympic coverage from Athens.
Source: Universal Pictures