January 30, 2009
Global Leaders Pledge Collaboration for Global Solutions to Global Crisis
Photo: A sign with the logo of the World Economic Forum stands in the snow during preparations for the upcomming Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 26, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Christof Sonderegger)
Photo: Impression of Davos: The biggest tourism resorts of the Swiss alps, captured before the opening of the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Christof Sonderegger)
Government, business and civil society leaders are at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009 at Davos, Switzerland, in record numbers to discuss ways out of the worst financial crisis in eight decades. "Davos fills the vital need for a global and dialogue-based platform where knowledgeable and empowered stakeholders can collaborate to address issues of common criticality. I can't think of a better time and a better reason to be at Davos," said Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009.
"It is important that leaders who come here go back and work on ways of finding far-reaching policies that will allow us to create sustainable economic growth, create jobs and coordinate macroeconomic policies," insisted Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations (1997-2006), Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and Co-Chair, Annual Meeting 2009, on the opening day of the five-day Annual Meeting.
"I believe we are also facing a crisis of governance at a national and international level. The current architecture of managing global affairs is broken and needs to be fixed. We have new players that have to be integrated and the poor have to be given a voice," he said. "The world has changed; are we capable of changing fast enough to save the planet?"
Photo: Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation talks to the participants of the 'Private Meeting of the Members of the International Business Council with Vladimir Putin' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Sebastian Derungs)
Photo: Gary D. Cohn, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, Goldman Sachs, USA, captured during the session 'Managing Global Risks' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Sebastian Derungs)
Photo: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, New York adjusts his headphones during the session 'Gaza: The Case for Middle East Peace' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Monika Flueckiger)
Photo: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook, USA, captured during the session 'The Next Digital Experience' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger)
Photo: Muhtar A. Kent, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, USA; Co-Chair of the Governors Meeting for Consumer Industries 2009, speaks during the session 'The Global Compact: Creating Sustainable Markets' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Christof Sonderegger)
Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings, United Kingdom, and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009, agreed that the Annual Meeting gives leaders the space to share ideas needed to address current challenges. "Talking through what we need to do is important and that is why Davos is more than ordinarily important," he said.
The world is still in crisis, yet we should treat it "as an opportunity to set goals for how we want to come out of it, such as energy sufficiency, world pollution...and shape policies which will help to solve some of those problems," said Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation, USA, and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009. "Don't let's lose sight of what creates wealth; it's open markets, capitalism and we've proved this again and again in last century," he cautioned.
Photo: Shimon Peres, President of Israel, speaks during the session 'The Values behind Market Capitalism' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger)
Photo: Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People's Republic of China is captured during a session at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Christof Sonderegger)
Photo: Melinda French Gates speaks during the 'Gates Foundation' press conference at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger)
"I do not expect we will find from Davos solutions, but expect that we are able to get a joint understanding of the reasons for the crisis, and that we get a good understanding of how we are really able to overcome such a severe crisis in a globalized world," said Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management, Bayer, Germany, and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009. "We're talking about growing populations; we have to address issues of how to secure energy supply and of climate change; we're also talking a lot about sustainability and returning to the basics of sustainable behavior."
Photo: Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, speaks during the session 'A Conversation with' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger)
Photo: Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan, captured during the session 'Special Address by' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Sebastian Derungs)
Photo: Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Renault, France; President and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan, Japan; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; Co-Chair of the Governors Meeting for the Automotive Industry 2009, captured during the session 'Special Address by Taro Aso' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Sebastian Derungs)
Photo: Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University, USA, gestures during the session 'Rebooting the Global Economy' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Christof Sonderegger)
Photo: Robert Z. Lawrence, Albert L. Williams Professor of Trade and Investment, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA; Chair, Global Agenda Council on Trade Facilitation, talks to the participants during the session 'The Fight against Protectionism' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (© World Economic Forum/Monika Flueckiger)
More than 2,500 participants from 96 countries are participating in the Annual Meeting held under the theme "Shaping the Post-Crisis World", including a record 40 heads of state or government. Key finance, foreign affairs, trade and energy ministers will join heads of non-governmental organizations, social entrepreneurs and religious leaders at the Meeting. Around 60% of the participants are business leaders drawn principally from the Forum's members - 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across all economic sectors.
"Excessive accumulation of corrupt transactions (disguised as smart business) such as predatory, forcible or irrational lending via the agents whose sole objective is to pocket their commissions has landed us here.
It is NOT RECESSION, Gentlemen!
CORRECTION is taking place.
Analyze it technically and take authoritative actions to make it smooth and short."
"It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country."
-- Adam Smith
January 23, 2009
Honda Ranks Highest among Manufacturer Web Sites in Satisfying New-Vehicle Shoppers -- J.D. Power
Honda ranks highest among automotive manufacturer Web sites for usefulness in new-vehicle shopping, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study(SM) (MWES)--Wave 1 released today.
The semi-annual study measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer Web sites during the new-vehicle shopping process. New-vehicle shoppers evaluate Web sites in four key areas: appearance, speed, navigation and information/content.
Honda ranks highest with an index score of 882 on a 1,000-point scale--marking a 14-point increase from the last wave of the study, which was released in June 2008. Following Honda in the rankings and rounding out the top five automotive Web sites are Porsche (867), Mitsubishi (866), Kia (865) and Acura (862).
"Honda resolved some minor navigation issues on their Web site, which helped them improve upon their fourth-place ranking in the previous wave," said Scott Kane, senior manager of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Currently, the Honda Web site performs well in all measures and demonstrates particular strength in speed, navigation and demonstrating options, features and specifications."
The study finds that overall site usefulness for the industry as a whole has declined by nine points since June 2008, with 16 manufacturer Web sites demonstrating double-digit decreases. This marks the largest wave-over-wave decrease since the study's inception ten years ago. Overall, the largest declines occur within the "determine monthly payment" and "compare vehicles" attributes of the information/content measure.
"Because of changes in the economic environment, many of today's new-vehicle shoppers are in a much different --and more challenging--financial position than were shoppers in years past, and many auto manufacturers have not prepared their Web sites accordingly," said Kane. "For new-vehicle shoppers, having the ability to go online to easily compare vehicles from various manufacturers, figure out monthly payments and find the best deal possible has always been important. However, in these tough financial times, these kinds of considerations have an even greater impact on the shopping process."
In addition, as marketing budgets for automakers tighten, manufacturer Web sites are becoming less capable of meeting the increasing expectations of shoppers. For example, as some manufacturers have refreshed or redesigned their models, they have limited the variety of vehicle images on their Web sites, or have simplified their photo and video offerings.
Photo: 2010 Honda Insight EX
"Likely due to budget cuts, some sites that once had beautiful images in city and off-road settings from multiple angles showing off their vehicles' capabilities--things that resonated with consumers--have scaled back on the images offered," said Kane. "A hurdle that manufacturers are facing involves obtaining the high-quality content they need for their Web sites--such as images, video and animations--in a cost-effective way. Finding synergies within their organizations as they create content for various marketing needs--both online and offline--will be critical in continuing to meet new-vehicle shoppers' needs."
The study also finds that the more useful a manufacturer Web site is, the more traffic it is likely to drive to dealerships.
"While it may be tempting for manufacturers to scale back development and maintenance of their Web sites, improved Web site design can translate into a higher volume of sales and a positive return on investment," said Kane. "Now, more than ever, it is essential for manufacturers to be strategic about their marketing efforts to capture their share of the diminishing number of new-vehicle shoppers."
The 2009 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study--Wave 1 is based on evaluations gathered in November 2008 from more than 11,400 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.
Manufacturer Web Site Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
• Honda ---------- 882
• Porsche ---------- 867
• Mitsubishi ---------- 866
• Kia ---------- 865
• Acura ---------- 862
• Lincoln ---------- 861
• BMW ---------- 859
• Lexus ---------- 859
• MINI ---------- 859
• Mazda ---------- 856
• Infiniti ---------- 853
• Mercury ---------- 852
• Jeep ---------- 851
• Ford ---------- 850
• Suzuki ---------- 848
• Cadillac ---------- 846
• Saturn ---------- 845
• Subaru ---------- 845
• Toyota ---------- 845
• Chrysler ---------- 841
• Dodge ---------- 840
• Industry Average ---------- 840
• HUMMER ---------- 837
• Mercedes-Benz ---------- 837
• Nissan ---------- 836
• Land Rover ---------- 835
• Saab ---------- 834
• Hyundai ---------- 833
• Volvo ---------- 833
• Volkswagen ---------- 829
• Buick ---------- 827
• Chevrolet ---------- 827
• GMC ---------- 821
• Jaguar ---------- 813
• Pontiac ---------- 801
• Audi ---------- 793
• smart ---------- 789
• Scion ---------- 773
Source: J.D. Power and Associates
"Do not frustrate the earnest visitors to the localized Web site of your car brand by not noticeably providing there the addresses of your relevant dealers."
January 14, 2009
Detroit Auto Show 2009
Photo: Detroit - American Honda Motor Co., Inc., introduces the production version of the all-new 2010 Honda Insight, a dedicated gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, during its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (American Honda Motor Co., Joe Wilssens)
Photo: Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show is the Jeep(R) Patriot EV.
Photo: Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show is the Chrysler 200C EV concept.
Photo: A caravan of 2009 Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrids departs from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Monday, January 12, 2009 - bound for the upcoming presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The caravan will make stops at Ohio State University, Penn State University and Howard University encouraging people to make positive changes to reduce the nation's energy consumption. Once in Washington, the hybrid vehicles will be used to provide courtesy transportation for inaugural events. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)
Photo: General Motors North America President Troy Clarke introduces the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox - making its world debut - at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. The Equinox compact crossover will deliver an estimated highway fuel economy of 30 mpg with its new 2.4L direct injection engine. It will go on sale in mid-2009. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)
Photo: The 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan makes its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. The Buick LaCrosse will feature all wheel drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features, and a choice of two fuel-saving V-6 engines. LaCrosse production will begin this summer at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)
Photo: The next generation 2010 Cadillac SRX makes its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. The SRX mid-size luxury crossover is expected to deliver a 25-percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions while providing fuel economy in the mid-20's. Production begins in the second quarter of 2009, with dealer availability shortly thereafter. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
Photo: General Motors employees, retirees, dealers and suppliers cheer the Chevrolet Beat concept during a media event at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. Chevrolet announced production plans for a new vehicle - the Chevrolet Spark - a fuel-efficient mini-car based on the Beat concept that will arrive in dealer showrooms in 2011. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)
Photo: As part of the Mercedes-Benz New Year's Reception in Detroit, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche presented the latest version of the successful E-Class in front of over 650 trade journalists from around the world.
Photo: The Ford Fiesta at the North American International Auto Show. Before the Ford Fiesta's U.S. launch in 2010, consumers across the country will have an opportunity to drive, experience and learn all about Ford's newest global vehicle. Under a program coined 'Fiesta Movement', Ford will select up to 100 tech-savvy vehicle enthusiasts to drive a Fiesta and then relate their experiences through social media sites such as Facebook, FlickR and YouTube.
Photo: The Lincoln C Concept was introduced at the North American International Auto Show 2009. It is powered by a sophisticated human machine interface (HMI) and forward-thinking in-car connectivity technologies.
Photo: Ford's Battery Electric Vehicle hits the streets of Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, giving media from around the world a chance to put it to the test.
"The financial woes of G.M. and Chrysler have made the Detroit show far more downbeat than in years past. Persistent questions about their financial situations have tested the patience of executives at both companies."
-- From the article "Wagoner Says G.M. Is Working on an Overhaul Tied to the Bailout" in The New York Times, January 12, 2009 (NYTimes.com)
"As to buying from Detroit, that is another question.
While I have occasionally looked at Detroit product when buying a new car, I have always found that they were not the equal of foreign products in many areas, from design to ergonomics to comfort to dependability to value. Which is why I have only owned Japanese cars since I purchased my 1st new car in 1979.
With the current financial circumstances that the Detroit carmakers are in, there is NO WAY that I would risk buying a Detroit product. Who knows if they will be in business next year?"
-- A Reader's Comment in response to the article "How to Get Detroit Selling Again" in The New York Times, January 12, 2009 (NYTimes.com)
"A new automobile MUST BE sold with the Essential Guarantee of Continuing Service Facility and Continuing Spare Parts Availability.
Can a Detroit Auto Company provide that Essential Guarantee today?
NO, IT CANNOT."
January 13, 2009
The Longines Master Collection Moon Phases Ladies' Model
An exquisite marriage of watchmaking craftsmanship and feminine elegance.
Since its early days, the traditional Swiss watch manufacturer Longines has accustomed the world to horological products. The Longines Master Collection is yet another example of this craftsmanship. The success of this collection since its launch in 2005 has encouraged Longines to add new models: rose gold, yellow gold, black dials, new sizes, retrograde functions, and now an entrancing Moon Phases Ladies' Model. This model in The Longines Master Collection is a harmony between feminine beauty and watchmaking expertise.
The Moon phases ladies' model in The Longines Master Collection boasts a selection of tantalizing colors: a rich dark brown, a shimmering white and a feminine rose. This model will decorate the wrists of women who admire watchmaking craftsmanship on an alligator strap that subtly matches the color of the dial or a steel bracelet. The dial, made out of shimmering mother of pearl, enhances the luminous intensity of the piece. The heart of the watch, an L600 caliber, is a self-winding mechanical movement that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a power reserve of 42 hours. It assures the Moon phases function and the date at 6 o'clock as well as a double display for the day of the week and the month at 12 o'clock.
The various models in The Longines Master Collection offer a choice of a stainless steel or an 18-carat yellow or rose gold case with a transparent back. They are fitted on a bracelet to match the case, be it in stainless steel or 18-carat yellow or rose gold. Alternatively, there is a genuine leather brown strap with a folding safety clasp for the comfort of the wearer.
January 9, 2009
Daimler AG to introduce "smart fortwo BRABUS" in the USA in January 2009
Photos: smart fortwo BRABUS
Mercedes-Benz USA (Daimler AG) has reported that its sales for the smart USA recorded 2,341 sales in December 2008.
According to Daimler AG, "Year-to-date sales for 2008 are an incredible 24,622 units. smart USA achieved this impressive sales volume in its first year of business in the U.S. market. American response indicates the micro-car segment is a viable transportation option and the smart fortwo is the right car at the right time in the U.S."
The smart fortwo offers a powerful combination of outstanding fuel efficiency, innovative safety features, environmental friendliness and excellent value.
The smart fortwo BRABUS will go on sale in the United States this January. There are currently 74 smart centers open in 35 states.
The smart brand is entering another automotive market following its successful launch in the USA. Starting in April 2009, the smart fortwo will be available in Brazil. This was announced by the company at the SÃ£o Paulo Auto Show, where the two-seater celebrated its public debut.
Photo: smart fortwo in China
According to Daimler, because of its outstanding features and its fresh design that combines functionality with joie de vivre, the smart fortwo has become a sought-after cult car in many countries. The sales figures also demonstrate this. Since the start of 2008 the number of smart fortwos delivered to customers worldwide rose by 53 percent to 101,900 cars.
Source: Daimler AG