August 28, 2009
On Eve of The US Open, Tennis Icon Maria Sharapova Debuts Signature Fashion Collection by Cole Haan in New York City
Photo: Maria Sharapova unveils her new advertising campaign for Cole Haan.
Just days before taking the court for the US Open Championships, tennis star Maria Sharapova unveiled her Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan collection of handbags and footwear - at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Fans, tourists, and onlookers burst into cheers as Sharapova was introduced by celebrity MC Quddus on a specially constructed stage where Maria unveiled her new advertising campaign for Cole Haan.
"Everyone loves Maria. It's great to be working with her and adding a new dimension to Cole Haan's history," states Jim Seuss, Chief Executive Officer.
"It's my hope that other young women will embrace the spirit of the collection; it's fun, chic, fashionable and most importantly, able to take you from day to night," says Sharapova.
The Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan footwear collection, featuring Nike Air technology, includes a ballet flat, an ankle-wrapped stiletto, a flat over-the-knee boot, an ankle bootie and a strappy platform sandal.
Cole Haan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc., is a style and luxury brand offering handcrafted men's and women's footwear, accessories and outerwear.
Source: Cole Haan
Posted by Editors at 6:53 AM
July 23, 2009
APPEAL OF NEWLY LAUNCHED CAR MODELS HAS IMPROVED: J.D. POWER
Industry's top study measuring customer satisfaction in design, content, and vehicle performance.
Photo: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3.
The automotive industry achieves a three-year high in appeal for new and redesigned models, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
In 2009, the APEAL score for all-new and redesigned models averages 790 on a 1,000-point scale--11 points higher than in 2008 and 15 points higher than the 2009 score for carryover models. In addition, seven all-new and redesigned models rank highest in their respective segments, including the Dodge Challenger, Ford F-150 (in a tie), Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen CC and Volkswagen Tiguan.
"Most automakers are on track in terms of designing new models that are highly appealing," said David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "The greater challenge for manufacturers lies in creating models that launch with both strong appeal and high quality, which ultimately lead to improved sales through greater customer loyalty and advocacy."
"Throughout the years, vehicle models achieving high APEAL scores have been shown to benefit from faster sales, less need for cash incentives and higher profit margins on each vehicle sold."
The average APEAL score for all models in 2009 has improved considerably to 779 from 770 in 2008, driven primarily by increased owner satisfaction with fuel economy. This higher satisfaction comes from three main sources. First, fuel prices have decreased significantly during the past year, which has reduced owner concerns about gas mileage. Second, owners are switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles--in 2009, more than one-half of all vehicles included in the study are powered by four-cylinder engines, compared with just 39 percent in 2008. Third, automakers are designing models to be more fuel efficient than their predecessors.
Photo: BMW X6M at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
"Although lower fuel prices and the switch to smaller vehicles have undoubtedly helped, there are also many individual vehicles that have made strong improvements in fuel economy ratings," said Sargent. "For example, the Ford F-150, Cadillac Escalade, Volkswagen Jetta and redesigned Dodge Ram have all made major strides in owner satisfaction with fuel economy through the introduction of more efficient powertrains."
In 2009, domestic brands comprise the four most-improved nameplates. Dodge posts the largest improvement, followed by Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac, respectively. In addition, the three most-improved models are from domestic manufacturers, including the Dodge Ram, Buick Lucerne and Ford F-150.
"Consumers have a great array of appealing vehicles to choose from by both domestic and import brands," said Sargent.
The overall gap in APEAL scores between domestic and import models has narrowed considerably during the past several years and is just five index points in 2009, compared with 15 points in 2008 and 27 points in 2007. Among premium models, import nameplates retain a slight edge, while among non-premium models, domestic brands have a similar edge.
Photo: All-New 2009 Audi Q5 Crossover Vehicle.
Photo: Hyundai all-new 2010 Genesis Coupe.
Volkswagen captures four segment-level awards--more than any other vehicle nameplate in 2009--for the CC, GTI, Passat and Tiguan. Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan each garner two awards. Ford receives model-level awards for the F-150 (in a tie) and Flex. Honda models receiving awards are the Odyssey (for a fifth consecutive year) and Ridgeline (for a fifth consecutive year). Mercedes-Benz earns awards for the S-Class (for a third consecutive year) and SLK-Class. The S-Class achieves the highest APEAL score of any model in the industry. Nissan receives awards for the Armada and Maxima.
Also receiving awards are the Chevrolet Avalanche (for a second consecutive year), in a tie; Dodge Challenger, Hyundai Genesis, MINI Cooper (for a second consecutive year); Porsche Cayenne (for a second consecutive year); and smart fortwo.
Porsche is the highest-ranking nameplate in APEAL for a fifth consecutive year.
The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 90 vehicle attributes. The 2009 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2009 from more than 80,900 purchasers and lessees of new 2009 model-year cars and trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership. The APEAL Study complements the recently released J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study(SM) (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership.
Photo: Members of the Maxima launch team hold the banner as the first all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima rolls off the line at the Nissan Vehicle Assembly Plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
2009 APEAL Nameplate Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Porsche ------ 869
Jaguar ------ 859
Cadillac ------ 852
Audi ------ 846
BMW ------ 844
Mercedes-Benz ------ 841
Lexus ------ 837
Infiniti ------ 828
Land Rover ------ 822
Lincoln ------ 820
Acura ------ 818
MINI ------ 817
Volkswagen ------ 807
Buick ------ 801
Volvo ------ 793
Ford ------ 785
Dodge ------ 784
GMC ------ 784
Saturn ------ 779
Industry Average ------ 779
Honda ------ 778
Mazda ------ 778
HUMMER ------ 773
Scion ------ 772
Pontiac ------ 769
Nissan ------ 768
Mitsubishi ------ 767
Smart ------ 767
Chevrolet ------ 764
Hyundai ------ 763
Mercury ------ 763
Chrysler ------ 757
Toyota ------ 756
SAAB ------ 754
Kia ------ 748
Subaru ------ 738
Jeep ------ 727
Suzuki ------ 715
• Top Models per Segment
Highest Ranked: smart fortwo
Highest Ranked: MINI Cooper
Compact Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen GTI
Compact Premium Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Entry Premium Vehicle
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen CC
Midsize Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Dodge Challenger
Midsize Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Hyundai Genesis
BMW 5 Series
Large Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen Passat
Highest Ranked: Nissan Maxima
Photo: Y'Anna Crowley, winner of BET's 'Sunday Best' Competition in front of the 2009 Lincoln MKS, Lincoln's Flagship Luxury Sedan.
Results from the study show the Ford brand improving by 17 points and moving up six rank positions among nameplates from last year. The Lincoln brand improved by 18 points and climbed two spots in the survey from a year ago. Mercury improved by eight points and Volvo's score increased by two points.
The Ford Flex and F-150, both segment leaders, scored better than the segment average in every category, performing especially well in fuel efficiency and exterior styling. Ford's new F-150 improved 52 points from last year and scored 16 points better than all redesigned trucks in this survey.
"Ford's quality rankings continue to climb consistently year after year and we intend to keep the momentum going to become the best in the industry," said Bennie Fowler, group vice president, Global Quality. "To do so, we're raising the stakes and redefining what it means to deliver a quality product by giving consumers more than just defect-free cars and trucks; we're exceeding their expectations with features they would expect to find only in high-priced luxury lines."
APEAL asks customers what they like about the performance, execution and layout of their new vehicle after the first three months it is in service. Customer's rate their level of "gratification" on a variety of vehicle attributes, including safety, fuel economy, cargo space and roominess, exterior styling and price.
Photo: 2010 Ford Fusion.
"At Ford, we are accelerating the development of vehicles customers will fall in love with at first sight and grow even fonder of over time," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "To deliver on that promise, our goal is nothing less than product excellence in design, feature content, safety and quality--all at an exceptional value."
Ford explains that since "gratification" is difficult to define and even harder to measure, Ford looked for new ways to understand how customers define it. Researchers combed through surveys, looked at historical trends and studied customer satisfaction rates. They spoke with people who recommended Ford to their friends, and to those who dismissed the brand out of hand. By discovering what makes customers feel good about their cars, Ford was able to develop a unique set of criteria that came to be known as product DNA.
"This strict set of guidelines is designed and built into every vehicle for a consistent feel and sound that is unmistakably Ford. Every Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicle, from sub compact cars to full size crossovers, is designed to evoke a positive emotional response from its owner."
This "emotional engineering", which focuses on the senses of sight, sound and touch, is helping Ford deliver vehicles that are satisfying to own and drive.
To ensure the company's quality criteria are met, Ford says it formed a Global Craftsmanship team of engineers who examine how harmoniously the vehicle is put together. "Like assembling a puzzle, the team analyzes every inch of the vehicle to check for gaps, mismatches or inconsistencies of all of the parts individually and as a whole. Their work is divided into four interior and exterior vehicle review categories: visual quality; touch and feel quality; sound quality, and illumination harmony."
Photo: 2010 Volvo XC60.
To add structure to its DNA strategy and increase customer satisfaction, Ford put its quality criteria into three categories:
• Basic quality - the fundamental reliability of a vehicle.
• Performance quality - includes attributes such as fuel economy and quietness.
• Excitement quality - those unexpected convenience features that surprise and delight the customers.
While continuing to improve on basic quality and performance quality, Ford has increased its focus on excitement quality - the parts of the vehicle that surprise and delight. According to Ford, "Excitement quality includes features ranging from seats specially designed for comfort, materials and surfaces that look good and feel right, interiors with ambiance and paint that flows like liquid across the vehicle's surface."
"When applying the three categories, it's never about either/or; it's all three," said Kuzak. "We're still consumed with basic quality, but we're now also very focused on providing appeal and excitement."
"Creature comforts, good fuel economy, elegance, style, durability and quality craftsmanship, all come together to complete the ownership experience." says Ford.
Sources: J.D. Power and Associates and Ford Motor Company.
"FORD ADVERTISING: Now, when the advertising of its domestic competitors is low-key (they have just emerged from bankruptcy), Ford Motor Company is in an advantageous position to strike in North America and consolidate its nameplates and brands."
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Posted by Editors at 4:06 AM
July 19, 2009
Steinway White House Grand Pianos of 1903 and 1938
Steinway & Sons are promoting the Steinway piano as a cornerstone of American music and culture.
According to them, since 1853, Steinway pianos have set an uncompromising standard for sound, touch, beauty and investment value and Steinway remains the choice of 9 out of 10 concert artists, and it is the preferred piano of countless musicians, professional and amateur, throughout the world.
"We've always known that Steinway & Sons is a great American original," says Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway & Sons. "By producing the finest handcrafted instruments available, our factory in Queens has contributed to a significant part of American culture for more than 156 years. Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Billy Joel, among many other legendary composers and performers, have all drawn their inspiration from the Steinway piano. We're proud to take a moment to consider how important our company has been in our nation's history. The White House pianos are also a great reminder of this."
Photo: White House Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand Piano, designed by Architect Eric Gugler. The piano was presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, commemorating the production of Steinway's 300,000th piano. The case is made of Honduran Mahogany, with gold leaf accents by artist Dunbar Beck. This magnificent instrument currently resides in the East Room of the White House. Photo courtesy of the White House Historical Association.
• In 1903, to celebrate the creation of the company's 100,000th piano - and the 50th anniversary of the firm's founding - Steinway & Sons offered to transform its standard concert grand piano into an artwork suitable for use in the East Room of the White House. The "Gold Grand" was presented to the White House, and President Theodore Roosevelt accepted the $18,000 Steinway "on behalf of the nation." The piano served through the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt; it was then donated to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
• The second White House piano was built and presented to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938 to commemorate the production of Steinway's 300,000th piano. The new piano, designed by New York architect Eric Gugler, was more than nine feet long, with a case of Honduran mahogany and gold leaf by artist Dunbar Beck. Last renovated in 1992 during the administration of George H. W. Bush, the piano remains today in the East Room of the White House.
Source: Steinway & Sons
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."
-- Ludwig van Beethoven
Posted by Editors at 10:55 AM
June 29, 2009
U.S. News Media Group Launches Online University Directory
• Portal Links Students with Degree Providers
U.S. News Media Group has launched Online University Directory, an online portal focused entirely on higher education and professional and continuing education opportunities.
The U.S. News Media Group is a multi-platform digital publisher of news and analysis, which includes the monthly U.S. News & World Report magazine, the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, USNews.com, and RankingsandReviews.com. Focusing on Health, Money & Business, Education, and Public Service/Opinion, the U.S. News Media Group is a leading provider of service news and information. The U.S. News Media Group's signature franchises include its "News You Can Use(R)" brand of journalism and its "America's Best" series of consumer guides that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, and health plans.
Complementing the U.S. News rankings, the long-preferred tool for the assessment of excellence in higher education, the University Directory helps potential college-bound students and working adults further invest in their future by serving as an online marketplace where they can directly interact with colleges and universities.
The new portal (distinct from USNews.com) will provide consumers with a full range of education options, including information about both online and offline educational institutions, and will provide educational institutions with an opportunity to showcase their degree and certificate programs in a co-branded forum jointly created by U.S. News Media Group, "America's Authority on Education(R)", and Bisk Education, a facilitator of online degree and certificate programs from some of America's leading universities.
The University Directory organizes schools in multiple ways including an alphabetical directory of ranked and unranked schools in various categories.
"Not everyone is looking for a ranked school," said Brian Kelly, Editor of U.S. News. "While the University Directory has ranking information, it also provides a resource for many different kinds of students."
The site also includes interactive features and expanded sorting abilities, and will present content about degree and certificate programs from U.S. News & World Report's vast collection of the 'News You Can Use(R)' service journalism that has justifiably made it the leading source of news and information about educational opportunities in the United States. It will also feature informative content focused on providing information to consumers who are actively looking for educational opportunities.
"U.S. News & World Report is the leading resource - both in print and online - for students looking at college as well as adults searching for continuing education opportunities, and we wanted to create a website focused on these consumers and institutions," said Bill Holiber, president of U.S. News Media Group. "With Bisk Education, we found a company focused on online education with state-of-the-art technology and capabilities to create a dynamic education-focused portal. Their proven success in working with colleges and universities to bring their schools' online degree and certificate programs to students made for a natural collaboration."
Holiber explained that USNews.com - the U.S. News Media Group's flagship website - will continue to feature rankings and other college and graduate school information, along with the public policy analysis, money, and health content that has distinguished it as a leading provider of information for consumers. "However, we realized that we needed to create a site with navigation and design that was focused specifically on consumers who were in the market for higher education opportunities," Holiber said.
As part of the partnership, all advertising from colleges and universities at USNews.com and the University Directory will be sold by Bisk under the U.S. News brand. Bisk Education is the world's largest exclusive provider of professional education online. Bisk's University Alliance division facilitates the promotion and online delivery of associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as professional certificate programs from the leading traditional universities and institutions in the USA.
"Higher education institutions need a credible and trustworthy marketplace in which they can showcase educational opportunities and connect with potential students that are suited to their programs," said Nathan Bisk, Founder and Chairman of Bisk Education. "For the past 15 years, we have been at the forefront of creating and executing online and distance-learning marketing and recruitment campaigns for some of the nation's leading universities. We know how to market in the digital age and we understand the need to protect the integrity of each institution's brand while helping them connect with qualified students. The new U.S. News Directory will allow educational institutions the opportunity to meet the ever increasing demand for university based education and workforce retraining that is in such demand in today's economy."
Source: U.S. News Media Group
"Rankings attempt to quantify the value of an education. Although the collection and publication of information about such things as location, class size and programs offered is useful to students and their parents, the statistics used in the rankings do not offer that kind of information. How can the interaction between faculty and students be quantified? What kind of numbers tell you about the interests students discover as they explore new ideas and participate in scholastic and extracurricular programs? Do statistics reflect the skills in thinking, writing and analysis that students develop during the course of a well-designed and cohesive program of study?
The kinds of data used to rank schools in the U.S. News and World Report survey are not indications of educational excellence."
-- Presidents of St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland and St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
"Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them."
"The first duty of government is to see that people have food, fuel, and clothes. The second, that they have means of moral and intellectual education."
-- JOHN RUSKIN
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Posted by Editors at 3:12 AM
June 27, 2009
BENETTON PLAYLIFE COLLECTION SUMMER/FALL 2009
Benetton Playlife's summer/fall collection gets its inspiration from the simplicity of the past as well as the creativity of today, and yet it is loyal to the brand's mood and character. It is a sophisticated combination of the two, producing the environment of an American college.
• Collection for Men
Everything is white, red, blue and bright green, not forgetting classic denim. Outerwear features cotton blazers, gym sweatshirts and check barracudas. They're worn with denim or canvas work trousers or with knee-length Bermudas in the same fabrics. Underneath are jersey polo shirts sewn like shirts, with vintage chambray collars; distressed plain or striped T-shirts with appliqués, badges, embroidery; knitted rugby-stripe sweaters with numbers, neckline reinforcements and vintage details. Lastly, cotton shirts with a logo on the inside cuff.
Colors are bigger and brighter in summer. Purple, lime and turquoise make their appearance. Fabrics are worn-out from extreme washing or crisp and cool.
Rather than long trousers, there's a preference for military-look detailed Bermudas in plain colors or patchwork checks or impeccable white, parachutist-style. They're worn with short-sleeved piqué polo shirts; T-shirts embellished with prints or decorations; heavy-cotton loose tartan shirts paired with pastel-striped light pullovers.
• Collection for Women
Lots of stripes: all-over or highlighting cuffs, edges or lapels. There's the blazer with a badge or the short, double-breasted, collarless knitted jacket with frills around the bottom or the short pinstripe jacket with floral piping. They're worn with cigarette pants, figure-hugging jeans, baggy sailor trousers featuring a halyard instead of a belt. Casual sweaters and polo shirts have gold accents and luxury details. Summerwear revels in romanticism. Here come balloon or tiered plain or tartan mini skirts with embroidered edges; long dresses with a smocked bustier; ultra-oversize chambray trousers. Sweaters, be they jersey or knitted, display crochet decorations and broderie anglaise borders; loose blouses have a dicky, a jabot and frills. As for outerwear, there's the choice of a linen safari jacket or a split-leather blouson. White, pastels and bright colors form a cool, elegant palette.
Source: Benetton Group, Villa Minelli, Ponzano, Treviso, Italy.
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Posted by Editors at 5:38 AM
Hilton Hotels Corporation: Doubletree Hotels To Offer Free Doubletree Cookies On July First And Fourth
Celebrate Your National Pride in Canada and The United States With Complimentary Chocolate Chip Cookies from Doubletree Hotels.
On the First and Fourth of July, two days filled with patriotic traditions in Canada and in the USA respectively, Doubletree Hotels is offering the "sweet treat" of complimentary, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies to anyone who walks into any of its more than 200 locations on Canada Day and Independence Day USA. No purchase is necessary. Limit one fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie per person. People may simply walk into any Doubletree hotel between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1 at Canadian Doubletree hotels and Saturday, July 4 at U.S. Doubletree locations to be welcomed with a "delicious, warm chocolate chip cookie" to commemorate each country's beloved holiday, while supplies last.
According to Hilton Hotels, the Doubletree tradition of greeting guests at check-in with its legendary, warm chocolate chip cookie has set the standard for welcoming hotel guests. And more than 200 million of the 2 Â½ ounce cookies, which boast an average of 20 chocolate chips, have been presented to travelers during the past two decades.
"Our "Free Cookies on the First and Fourth" promotion is a fun way to celebrate patriotism and satisfy chocolate cravings across Canada and the United States, without even needing to be a guest," said Mary Beth Parks, vice president of marketing for Doubletree Hotels. "We're expecting to give out thousands of cookies to our guests and our communities this Canada Day and Independence Day - certainly more likely than any bakery or cookie company will sell on these special days!"
With a growing collection of contemporary, upscale accommodations in more than 200 gateway cities, metropolitan areas and vacation destinations throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America, Doubletree Hotels, Guest Suites and Resorts aim to provide "true comfort" to today's business and leisure travelers.
Doubletree is part of Hilton Hotels Corporation, a leading global hospitality company, with more than 3,300 hotels and 550,000 rooms in 77 countries. The company owns, manages or franchises some of the best known hotel brands including Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations™, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton™ and The Waldorf-Astoria Collection™.
Source: Hilton Hotels Corporation
Posted by Editors at 3:25 AM
June 18, 2009
Fiat Group to sponsor G8 Summit
Photo: The G8 Summit Venue in L'Aquila, Italy.
Italy, which took over the Presidency of the G8 in January, is responsible for hosting and organizing the annual Summit and also the preparatory meetings ahead of the three-day summit.
[The G8 is not an international organization, nor does it have an administrative headquarters with a permanent secretariat. It is rather a process that culminates in an annual Summit at which the Heads of State and Government of the member countries hold talks with a view to finding solutions of the main world issues.
The main industrialized countries taking part in this process are known as G8 -- the Group of Eight (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, United States of America). Over recent years, the Group of Eight has involved the main countries with emerging economies, known as the Group of Five (G5), in a process of dialogue. The Group of Five (G5) comprises Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.]
Top management of Fiat has offered the Group's sponsorship of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy, to the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
Photo: Fiat Alfa Romeo - Murphy & Nye
Present at the meeting, held at Palazzo Chigi, were the Under Secretaries to the Prime Minister, Gianni Letta and Paolo Bonaiuti, as well as the Chairman of Fiat Group, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the Deputy Chairman, John Elkann, and the Chief Executive Officer, Sergio Marchionne.
As a symbol of the Fiat Group's support for the G8, the Prime Minister was presented with an Executive version of the Lancia Delta, made to the exacting standards of comfort and drivability and recently chosen as the Official Car of the 9th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
Concrete operational support for the Summit, which will be held on July 8, 9 & 10 at the Guardia di Finanza's Camp Coppito, will consist of an entire fleet of vehicles - consisting of 221 passenger cars, electric vehicles, off-road vehicles, commercial vehicles and buses - being made available to the Department of Civil Defense by Fiat Group for transportation of the participants at the G8 Summit.
The fleet will consist of: 90 Lancia Deltas, 85 Fiat Professional light commercial vehicles, 10 Iveco Massif off-road vehicles and an array of electric vehicles, including an Iveco Daily, two Iveco Europolis buses and 33 "GEM e4" vehicles produced by Global Electric Motorcars, part of the Chrysler Group.
A large part of this fleet has already been employed over the past few months at the preparatory ministerial sessions leading up to the Summit which are being held in various cities around Italy on specific topics such as labour, agriculture, the environment, economic development, justice and internal affairs, science and technology, finance and foreign affairs.
With the exception of the electric vehicles, which will be used within the Camp compound, all other vehicles will be used to transfer delegates to and from airports and the L'Aquila heliport. The entire fleet will be managed 24 hours a day by specialized Fiat Group personnel who will provide assistance and maintenance services, including for the armored Lancia Thesis vehicles already in use by the Italian government.
• The Fiat fleet for the G8:
90 Lancia Deltas will be used as courtesy cars.
Photo: Fiat Lancia Delta
Among these will be several models of the Executive version, designed with users such as businessmen, diplomats and government officials in mind. This version was also chosen at the Official Car for the 9th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held 11-13 December 2008 in Paris, of which Lancia was the main sponsor.
33 electric-powered "GEM e4" vehicles will be used inside Camp Coppito to transport Heads of State and Heads of Delegation. This zero emissions vehicle is produced by Global Electric Motorcars, part of the Chrysler Group, and has a range of 50km and can fully recharged in just 8 hours from a standard domestic 220v socket.
Photo: Fiat IVECO Daily
Three other electric vehicles, an Iveco Daily for luggage transport and two Iveco Europolis buses, will also be used inside the military compound. Distributor panels equipped with electric sockets have also been provided to recharge these vehicles.
Photo: Fiat Professional Ducato
The 85 Fiat Professional vehicles include 75 Scudo Panorama, DoblÃ² Cargo and Ducato Cargo commercial vehicles and 10 natural gas Fiat Ducato Panorama 140 Natural Power vehicles, which provide high performance, reduced fuel consumption and low emissions.
Photo: Fiat IVECO Massif
The G8 fleet is completed by 10 Iveco Massifs (5-door Station Wagon) already in use by the Civil Defense. This 4x4 vehicle is capable of operating in extreme off-road conditions with gradeability at full-load of 100%.
Photo: Fiat Lingotto Building.
Photo: Fiat Abarth Plant
As a pioneer of the car industry, Fiat built its first car in 1899. Over 90 million cars and light commercial vehicles have been produced since then and many of its models have marked important milestones in motoring history.
Fiat Group Automobiles (FGA) designs, produces and sells automobiles under the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Abarth brands, and light commercial vehicles under the Fiat Professional brand. Each brand has its own unique identity and distinct commercial and marketing practices.
Source: FIAT S.p.A., Turin, Italy.
Posted by Editors at 11:27 PM
May 20, 2009
RENAULT: OFFICIAL SPONSOR OF THE 62nd CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
Photo: Renault Vel Satis, official car of the Cannes Film Festival. (Credits: Stéphane Kossmann)
French automaker Renault has fostered the growth of the Cannes Film Festival for 26 years. This year too, since May 13, 2009, a fleet of about hundred vehicles, including 70 Vel Satis and 30 Espace, are driving the actors and Festival guests to and from the red-carpeted steps. In addition, about a dozen Kangoo be bop are supplementing the official fleet.
Photo: Kristin Scott Thomas, getting out of Ranault Vel Satis. (Credits: Stéphane Kossmann)
Photo: Hafsia Herzi, french actress who declared opened the 62nd Cannes Film Festival with Charles Aznavour. (Credits: Stéphane Kossmann)
The relationship between Renault and the movie industry is more than a century old. According to the company, Louis Renault's Voiturette appeared in early films in 1899, when the first film studios were built in Boulogne-Billancourt at the same time as the first Renault factory on the Ile Seguin.
Renault informs that it is continuing its commitment to film and television production today through an active policy of sponsorship and product placements. Several models from the Renault range are in the films in the Festival's official selection, such as Les Herbes Folles by Alain Resnais.
Photo: Renault New Grand Scénic painted in the colors of Up, the opening film of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. (Credits: Stéphane Kossmann)
Photo: Renault New Grand Scénic painted in the colors of Up, the opening film of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. (Credits: Stéphane Kossmann)
This year, Renault, and especially the latest model in the range, New Grand Scénic, is also teaming up with Disney Pixar and the 3D animated feature Up, screened at the Opening Ceremony. According to Renault, the arrival of members of the Disney teams in front of the red carpet on board the three New Grand Scénic models decked out in the colors of the film marks the beginning of an international collaboration in communications interfaces that spans more than 20 countries and that is boosting traffic in Renault showrooms.
The Atelier Renault situated at the Champs Elysées has also been set up in Cannes for the 62nd festival. Located on the beachfront of the Majestic, in the middle of the Cannes atmosphere, the Atelier is open to all visitors and is exhibiting photography featuring celebrities from around the world mounting the famous Steps.
Posted by Editors at 6:03 AM
May 13, 2009
L'Oreal Paris introduces Two New Spokespeople
A couple of hours before the Opening Ceremony of the 62nd Cannes Festival, Freida PINTO and Evangeline LILLY are joining as the newest World Spokespeople for L'OREAL PARIS.
"On the eve of the Cannes Festival, to which I want to reiterate our attachment, L'Oreal Paris is delighted that these great stars of world cinema have agreed to represent our brand," said Jean-Jacques Lebel, President L'Oreal Consumer Products.
Photo: L'Oreal Paris announces Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto as a new world spokesperson for the brand. (L'Oreal Paris, Manmeet Bhatti)
FREIDA PINTO was discovered by Danny Boyle in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, the film that won eight Oscars. After Julian Schnabel's movie which she is currently shooting, she will be filming this summer in Woody Allen's next film, as part of an impressive cast.
Photo: L'Oreal Paris announces LOST's Evangeline Lilly as a new world spokesperson for the brand. (L'Oreal Paris, Kwaku Alston/Corbis Outline)
"EVANGELINE LILLY came to our notice in LOST", says L'Oreal. Her character "Kate" won her a nomination for the 2007 Golden Globe Awards as Best Actress in a Drama Series.
Vianney Derville, International General Manager of L'Oreal Paris stated: "I am proud that all these actresses are now our World Spokespeople, alongside other L'Oreal Paris spokespeople including Penelope Cruz, Beyonce Knowles, Eva Longoria, Andie MacDowell, Aishwarya Rai and Kerry Washington. We are delighted to welcome them as representatives of L'Oreal Paris. We have been completely won over by their rising careers as actresses, together with their attachment to the values of humanity and diversity."
The L'Oreal Paris brand encompasses the four major beauty categories -- haircolor, haircare, skincare and cosmetics.
Source: L'Oreal Paris
Posted by Editors at 5:32 AM
April 26, 2009
Whooping Cough: "Sounds of Pertussis" Campaign Spokesperson Jennifer Lopez Kicks Off March of Dimes March For Babies In Miami
Photo: Jennifer Lopez, Honorary Chairperson of the March of Dimes March for Babies 2009, and spokesperson for the organization's new public service announcement (PSA) campaign on the need for adult pertussis immunization, supports walkers at the March for Babies walk in Miami on April 25. (Sanofi Pasteur)
The March of Dimes and sanofi pasteur have launched a U.S. national education campaign to raise awareness about pertussis and help parents learn how they can help protect themselves and reduce the risk of spreading pertussis to their babies, for whom this disease can be potentially deadly.
As part of the Sounds of Pertussis campaign, actress, singer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mother Jennifer Lopez has kicked off the March of Dimes March for Babies 2009 season as honorary chairperson for this year's event. While in Miami she continued to advocate the campaign's goal to educate families about getting vaccinated with the adult pertussis booster, which can help to protect adults from getting pertussis and transmitting the disease to their babies.
Commonly known as "whooping cough," pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease characterized by severe coughing. Pertussis is particularly dangerous for babies who have not yet been fully vaccinated against the disease. Infants are more vulnerable to severe pertussis and face the possibility of serious complications, including death. Researchers looking at how infants have caught pertussis have found that in about half of the cases where a source could be identified, the disease was transmitted by a parent. Parents can help protect themselves from pertussis and reduce the risk of transmitting pertussis to their babies by getting a Tdap booster.
Sources: March of Dimes & Sanofi Pasteur
Posted by Editors at 9:15 AM
April 23, 2009
Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 - Leg 6 - Rio de Janeiro to Boston
The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it is, for the first time, taking in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports over nine months, the Volvo Ocean Race is a leading global ocean yacht race for professional racing crews.
Photo: Battling for position, at the start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. The fleet heads out in light winds but a huge swell. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: The start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. The fleet heads out in light winds. (Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: Ericsson 3, skippered by Magnus Olsson (SWE) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: Telefonica Blue, skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)
Posted by Editors at 11:19 AM
April 18, 2009
Halle Berry Bracelet Auction to Benefit Victims of Domestic Violence
Proceeds from Online Auction to be Donated to the Jenesse Center.
Photo: Bracelet featured in Halle Berry fragrance ad to be auctioned off for charity.
Academy Award-winning actress and beauty icon Halle Berry will auction off a unique, hand-carved rose gold cuff bracelet this week to show her support for families dealing with the devastating effects of domestic violence. As of April 15th, consumers can place bids through CharityBuzz.com for the chance to own this signature piece. The cuff bracelet was designed exclusively for Halle Berry to wear in the advertising campaign for her debut fragrance, Halle by Halle Berry. Net proceeds generated by the auction will be donated to the Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention program.
Designed by Gara Danielle, this stunning cuff bracelet was inspired by Halle Berry's natural beauty and was designed specifically for Halle to wear on set at the making of her fragrance campaign in Ohahu, Hawaii. Now anyone can have the opportunity to own a replica of the bracelet and support this cause by bidding on charitybuzz.com. Made from 14K rose gold plate over sterling silver, this adjustable cuff is valued at $4,000.
The Jenesse Center is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1980 and provides help to victims of domestic violence with a comprehensive centralized base of support through facilities, education and health programs, case management, and legal services.
Source: Coty Beauty
Posted by Editors at 10:04 AM
April 5, 2009
New York Auto Show Features Latest Concept Cars, Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, Showroom-Ready Cars, Trucks and More
Photo: BMW X6M at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: GMC Terrain at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Acura ZDX at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Land Rover LRT at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Scion iQ at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Subaru Outback at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Volkswagen Golf named 2009 Car of the Year at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Mitsubishi i-MiEV at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Mazda CX-7 at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
Photo: Hyundai Nuvis at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
Photo: Kia Motors Debuts All-New Stylish Forte Koup at 2009 NYIAS.
At this year's New York Auto Show, new cars and trucks include state-of-the-art safety innovations, impressive fuel efficiency developments, radical drive train technology advancements and cutting-edge design. They include showroom ready vehicles and concept cars that designers have spent months, sometimes years, perfecting. So if you're looking for a small car that makes a big impression, something fun, fast and frugal, or you want to get plugged into a hybrid or electric vehicle, there is no better place to research your next new car or truck than the 2009 New York International Automobile Show. The Show opens to the public on Friday, April 10th through April 19th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
"Many of this year's models have combined futuristic design with technologically advanced drive-trains to produce vehicles that are totally unique in the way they look and drive," said show president, Mark Schienberg. "Others use today's most fuel efficient engines in vehicle designs that don't conform to any vehicle style known today, creating new segments that will be the vehicles of tomorrow," Schienberg added.
Here's a look at some of this year's new cars and trucks:
Electrics & Hybrids
• [Electric] MINI E: The all-electric MINI E's unique engine and transmission arrangement powers the MINI E seamlessly to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds. Based on the current MINI, the E is a two-seater as the space normally inhabited by rear passengers is reserved for a lithium-ion battery. The E's lithium-ion battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets and the E has a range of 156 miles under ideal driving conditions.
• [Hybrid] LEXUS HS 250h: The 2010 Lexus HS 250h is the world's first dedicated luxury hybrid vehicle and the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the Lexus lineup. It will also be the first Lexus to utilize carbon-neutral Ecological Plastic materials in a new futuristic cockpit and interior design. Equipped with Lexus' first four-cylinder gas engine, the 2.4-liter powerplant is part of the latest Lexus Hybrid Drive System, which generates 187 total system horsepower.
• [Electric] Fisker Karma: The Fisker Karma gets an average 100mpg, can go 0-60 in about 6 seconds and has a top speed of 125mph. Its Lithium-ion batteries will power the car for 50 miles after being fully charged from any 110 or 220v outlet. After 50 miles, a generator powered by a small gasoline engine provides the energy needed to turn the Karma's two electric motors.
• [Hybrid] Ford Fusion Hybrid: The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid includes new aerodynamic enhancements and underbody shields to help boost Fusion's fuel economy to a class-leading 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Fusion Hybrid also debuts Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster that helps coach drivers on how to optimize the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.
Photo: Honda Insight
• [Hybrid] Honda Insight: The all-new distinctively styled, five-passenger, five-door Honda Insight is powered by an Integrated Motor Assist(TM) (IMA(TM)) system comprised of a 1.3-liter i-VTEC(R) gasoline engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor that together contribute to an city/highway fuel economy rating of 40/43 miles per gallon . The Insight features the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist(TM)), an innovation that can further enhance efficient vehicle operation while providing feedback related to individual driving styles. The all-new Insight has a suggested retail price (MSRP) of $19,800 for the LX model.
Photo: The Chevrolet Volt in the Battery Lab at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, October 15, 2008. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)
• [Electric] Chevrolet Volt: Chevy Volt is designed to move more than 75 percent of America's daily commuters without a single drop of gas. That means for someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions. Unlike traditional electric cars, the Volt has an innovative propulsion system that takes you beyond the power of the battery. It will use a lithium-ion battery with a gasoline-powered, range-extending engine that drives a generator to provide electric power when you drive beyond the 40-mile battery range. Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a four-passenger sedan.
• [Hybrid] Toyota Prius: The new generation Prius is bigger, more powerful yet more economical than the model it replaces making it the most fuel efficient and aerodynamic car available in the US. With a combined 50 mpg, the Prius is available with high-tech features that include a solar-powered ventilation system, remote a/c, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Parking Assist, and three driving modes including electric-only.
Photo: James Gasparotto of General Motors Design with the Cadillac Converj electric luxury coupe concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Tuesday, January 13, 2009. The four-passenger vehicle will provide up to 40 miles of gas-and-emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)
• Cadillac Converj: The Cadillac Converj was designed to give a glimpse at the potential of electric propulsion in a luxury vehicle. The well-appointed grand touring coupe features GM's electric propulsion technology -- called Voltec -- that can get up to 40 miles of gas- and emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles. When the battery's energy is low, the Converj seamlessly switches to extended-range mode. During this secondary level of operation, electricity needed to power the vehicle is created on-board by a flex-fuel-powered engine.
• Chrysler 200C EV: The all-new Chrysler 200C EV concept is capable of driving up to 40 miles on battery-only power, but a small gasoline engine and integrated electric generator that produces electricity extends its driving range to 400 miles. On the inside, the 200C EV's interior is free of switches and levers. All vehicle functions, settings and u-connect features are managed via a panoramic multimedia touch screen, a passenger-dedicated "techno-leaf" and a stowable tablet PC.
Photo: 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sport
• Suzuki SXForce: Reinforcing the link between the company's rich motorcycle heritage and versatile line of fun-to-drive automobiles, Suzuki introduces the SXForce, a sportbike-inspired concept car. The fully drivable, track-tested 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged SX4 Sport concept includes a fully tuned performance suspension system, F1-style outlet gills to help underhood air flow, tailored rear bodywork with carbon fiber diffuser, Carbontrix rear wing, Tein coilover suspension height and damper setup, and reinforced structure to further enhance rigidity for optimal handling.
• Lincoln C concept: Designed with today's upscale, urban consumer in mind, the Lincoln C concept brings the luxury of a large Lincoln to a smaller, more efficient C-sized car. The C is powered by a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and an all-new dry, dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmission which helps it achieve 43 mpg on the highway, while offering up an impressive 180 horsepower.
• Dodge Circuit EV: This brand new all-electric sports car concept from Dodge delivers high performance with zero gasoline consumption, zero tailpipe emissions and 150-200 mile driving range. Propelled by a completely electric drivetrain, the Dodge Circuit EV races from 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds and has a top speed of more than 120 mph. The Circuit EV utilizes three powertrain components, including a 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor to drive the wheels, an advanced lithium-ion battery system to power the electric-drive motor, and a controller that manages energy flow.
Today's Newest Cars & Trucks
Photo: Jeff Nasca (l to r), Mike Pevovar, Richard Duff and Justin Thompson of General Motors Design with the 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Tuesday, January 13, 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.
• Buick LaCrosse: Redesigned from the ground up, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse features sculpted styling, premium interior materials with cool blue ambient lighting, and responsive performance. The LaCrosse also features all wheel drive and QuietTuning, and intelligent technologies that work to deliver a 360-degree field of vision behind the steering wheel including a head-up display in the windshield, and a Side Blind Zone alert system.
• Cadillac SRX: The new SRX is a mid-size luxury crossover featuring a completely new design and more-efficient, high-technology engine choices. It is powered by a new 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine or a 2.8L turbocharged V-6. Direct injection enables a 25-percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. Performance and safety are enhanced by an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.
• BMW 7 Series: The fifth generation BMW 7 Series is powered by a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged 400hp V-8 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The new 7 has an array of innovative driver-assistance options such as Active Cruise Control with new stop-and-go capability; Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Head-up Display, High Beam Assistant and BMW Night Vision with new Pedestrian Detection.
Photo: The dramatically-designed 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon makes its European premiere at Paris, followed by production launch in spring of 2009.
• Cadillac CTS Wagon: The all-new CTS Sport Wagon is intended to connect with the changing priorities of luxury consumers by delivering significant increases in functionality. The CTS is about the same size as the CTS sport sedan, although it nearly doubles its carrying capacity, with a generous cargo area of 25 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
Photo: Nissan Cube
• Nissan Cube: The fashionable and functional new 1.8-liter Nissan cube provides the utility and dependability consumers expect in a small car including wide doors, large greenhouse with wraparound rear window, and a refrigerator-style rear door combined with a roomy five passenger interior.
Photo: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO at 2009 Chicago Show
• Ford Taurus: Ford's new flagship, the 2010 Taurus, will start at $25,995 and features an impressive suite of technologies never before offered in the non-premium large car segment including Cross Traffic Alert, Collision Warning, MyKey(TM) parental programmability, EasyFuel(TM) capless refueling, SecuriCode(TM) Keyless Entry, Ford SYNC(R) and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS(R) Travel Link(TM). Other features new to Taurus include Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS(TM)), Rain-Sensing Wipers and Intelligent Access with Push Button Start.
• Lincoln MKT: The all-new Lincoln MKT is a three-row tourer that delivers an impressive blend of fuel economy, performance, technology and spaciousness. The MKT includes many new technologies including available Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Brake Support, Active Park Assist, and Blind Spot monitoring.
• Nissan 370Z: The newly redesigned Nissan 370Z is more refined, more powerful, and even better handling. Powered by a 332-horsepower 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL), the new Z also features a new 7-speed automatic transmission, and a world's first synchronized downshift rev matching system for the 6-speed manual transmission.
Photo: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
• Chevrolet Camaro: The 2010 Camaro is a heritage-inspired sports car for the 21st century, combining muscle car looks and performance with advanced technology and surprising efficiency -- including 26-mpg estimated highway fuel economy. The rear-wheel-drive Camaro comes with either a V6 or V8 direct injection engine with Active Fuel Management to enable a satisfying balance of exhilarating performance and good fuel economy.
• Infiniti G Convertible: The first-ever Infiniti G Convertible is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 325 horsepower engine and features a three-piece folding steel top and a special convertible-focused interior, which features a unique Bose(R) Open Air Sound System that dynamically changes equalization based on outside noise, vehicle speed, and top position.
• Volvo XC60: The new XC60 is a crossover vehicle is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine and features a unique system called City Safety which can help the driver avoid low speed collisions when driving in slow moving, stop and go traffic. The laser-based technology continually monitors the area in front of the vehicle and can brake automatically to help avoid or mitigate a collision.
Photo: Kia Soul at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
• KIA Soul: The fun all-new five-passenger Kia Soul which starts at $13,995 (including delivery) is available in four trims: Soul, Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport and features big-car standard and optional equipment such as keyless entry remote, solar glass, and power sunroof. It is powered by either a four-cylinder 1.6-liter or a 2.0-liter engine producing 122 and 142 horsepower respectively.
• Audi Q5: The all-new Q5 SUV with its sporty proportions and muscular stance features a 3.2 V6 FSI direct injection engine, quattro(R) all wheel drive, and a six speed Tiptronic transmission, and achieves city fuel economy of 18 mpg with 23 mpg highway.
• Dodge Challenger R/T Classic: The Dodge Challenger R/T Classic delivers a menacing look with its dual throwback A-line body-side R/T stripes, 'Challenger' fender badging in classic script, large 20-inch polished-chrome heritage wheels, classic egg-crate grille with heritage 'R/T' badge, body-color rear spoiler and chromed fuel-filler door. Performance comes from a 5.7-liter HEMI(R) V-8 engine under a long, raised performance hood with functional hood scoops to increase engine cooling.
Photo: Mercedes-Benz E-Class: E 63 AMG with 386 kW/525 hp and AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission
• Mercedes Benz E-Class and E-Coupe: With the new E-Class and E-Coupe, Mercedes-Benz combines safety, comfort and environmental compatibility with 20 new technical developments including innovations for safe driving such as Attention Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking, which is activated when there is acute danger of a collision. The new E-Class models are also the first automobiles in the world with headlamps that adapt to the traffic situation and respond automatically to avoid dazzling other drivers.
• Audi A5 convertible: The new A5 Cabriolet is a four-seat open top Audi that has a classic fabric top -- which endows it with a striking silhouette -- which opens in 15 seconds. An acoustic top, neck-level heating and leather seats coated with a special layer to reduce solar heating are just some of the features of the sporty, elegant new A5 model.
• Bentley Continental Supersports: The Continental Supersports is the fastest and most powerful Bentley ever. The extreme Bentley, a muscular two-seater that delivers supercar performance and a highly focused driving experience, is also the first Bentley capable of running on both gasoline and biofuel. With 621 bhp and new 'Quickshift' transmission that halves shift times, the Supersports sets new performance benchmarks for Bentley. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds onto a top speed of 204 mph.
• MAZDASPEED3: The MAZDASPEED3 sport compact pushes Mazda design further and its exciting driving performance perfectly represents Mazda's Zoom-Zoom spirit. Carrying forward the MZR 2.3 DISI Turbo engine, Mazda3 MPS builds on the popularity and recognition of the previous model. It evolves the driving experience to an entirely new level of quality and pleasure with its emotional design and exhilarating performance.
Photo: Porsche 911 GT3 at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
• Porsche 911 GT3: The lightweight 435-horsepower next generation 911 GT3 features a larger 3.8-liter boxer six-cylinder engine with an enhanced VarioCam system, larger yet lighter brakes, and new one-piece centerlock wheels, all of which boost performance over the previous model. Technical developments like innovative dynamic engine mounts, updated aerodynamics that increase downforce by over 100% and a special version of the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system all help make this latest iteration the most dynamic 911 GT3 to date.
• Ford Shelby GT500: The most-distinctive model of the new 2010 Mustang lineup, the 2010 Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter dual overhead cam V-8 engine that produces 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque. The Mustangs aggressive new exterior design features new functional details, such as the hood extractor to remove heat from the engine and "Gurney Flap" spoiler to tune rear downforce.
• Jaguar XFR and XKR: Jaguar's new XFR and XKR models deliver a superb balance of high performance, dynamic ability and refinement. Both models are powered by an all-new supercharged 5.0-liter 510bhp V8 with acceleration from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds and 4.6 seconds respectively.
Photo: Volkswagen GTI at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
• Volkswagen GTI: The new sixth-generation, performance-based Volkswagen GTI hatchback is powered by an advanced new TSI engine, available linked to either a 6-speed manual or DSG gearbox. With the new GTI, VW has increased the quality and comfort level to new heights. The GTI will be available in three- and five-door body styles. Visual details include a new front bumper, vertically stacked foglamps and an altered grille with classic GTI touches.
Source: New York International Auto Show
"At the 2009 New York International Automobile Show, the U.S. Domestic Automakers are not obliged to answer questions concerning their respective financial condition, management changes, brand elimination, or restructuring policy. Doing so would be detrimental to their standing."
Posted by Editors at 8:01 AM
March 27, 2009
TAG Heuer Explores Luxury with The Aquaracer 500m Series and Offers a Glimpse Into The Future of Watchmaking with Its Monaco 24 Chronograph
Photo: TAG Heuer's Aquaracer 500M with blue dial and stainless steel bracelet.
Answering the call of diving enthusiasts who demand an exacting timepiece that is robust as well as refined, Swiss watch Brand TAG Heuer unveiled its new Aquaracer 500M series. Whether worn while swimming along the Great Barrier Reef or exploring the underwater caves of Turks & Caicos, these watches take serious sports-inspired functionality to a new extreme.
Water resistant to 500 meters, each model in the Aquaracer 500M collection is equipped with the definitive attributes of a high-performance diving watch, including a unidirectional turning bezel that ensures precise elapsed dive-time measurement. Highly luminescent markers on the hands and indexes, as well as an orange-tipped second hand, provide at-a-glance readability under water or in dim light. Additionally, the sapphire crystal and caseback are scratch-resistant and anti-reflection treated for optimum visibility.
To prevent damage to the watch and its movements, the Aquaracer 500M features an automatic helium valve that releases, upon decompression, any gases that infiltrate the watch during a deep dive. A fine-brushed, screw-in crown with double safety gaskets further protects the timepiece from water or dust penetration.
Photo: TAG Heuer's Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph.
TAG Heuer also announced that it is continuing to push the boundaries of watchmaking with its Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph, invoking the electrifying spirit of the world's most arduous sports car race. Introduced today at BASEL, Switzerland, this timepiece, in TAG Heuer's own words, features the same state-of-the-art engineering as the powerful GT cars that take to the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit.
The Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph's race car-inspired functionality is found in every aspect of the piece's design, most notably in the energy manifold that houses the Calibre 36 movement. Comparable to a GT car's cockpit cage, this proprietary steel-tube structure safeguards the mechanism, ensuring that the watch can better withstand shock.
The movement gains additional protection from a shock-absorbing composite filter material. Used in the racing and aerospace industry, this material insulates the Calibre 36 movement by directing vibrations into the composite filter, which absorbs and dissipates their energy. According to TAG Heuer, unlike a conventional timepiece's Incabloc system, which protects the mechanism only from external shocks, TAG Heuer's Dynamic Absorber insulates the movement entirely and the Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph is able to withstand an impact of 24,000 G, the equivalent of a 65-foot fall, compared with the industry standard of 2,000 - 5,000 G, or a three-foot fall. These additional safeguards ensure the Monaco and its components will remain unscathed whether the wearer is skydiving from 15,000 feet or attending a very enthusiastic business meeting, explains the watchmaker.
Source: TAG Heuer
Posted by Editors at 7:05 AM
March 18, 2009
Reputation Risk Management Is on the Rise in U.S. and European Corporations -- The Conference Board
But Many Companies Still Have a Long Way to Go in Protecting Their Reputations.
According to a new report from The Conference Board (global business research and membership organization), a growing number of major global companies are investing substantial resources to manage their reputation risk and have increased their efforts to do so over the last three years.
"Safeguarding reputation is even more critical today because companies have developed successful ways to make reputation risk management part of their overall risk management," says Ellen Hexter, Director, Enterprise Risk Management at The Conference Board and co-author of the report with Sandy Bayer, President of Bayer Consulting. "In addition, different stakeholder groups are becoming more sophisticated in how they drive corporate reputations. Critics on the Internet can now transmit their opinions and complaints around the world with ease. Most importantly, consumers have high expectations that companies will not only produce quality products and services, but also will act ethically in their creation and distribution."
The report defines reputation as how a company is perceived by each of its stakeholder groups and reputation risk as the risk that an event will negatively influence stakeholder perceptions. Many reputation risks are the secondary result of other, more traditionally recognized risks. For example, if a manufacturer produces an unsafe product, it may lose customers and is likely to suffer financial costs due to a product recall, both of which impact reputation. Reputations may be damaged for any number of reasons, including that stakeholders perceive a company to be unethical.
"Although reputation is the quintessential intangible asset, a strong corporate reputation yields concrete benefits - higher market value, stronger sales, and an increased ability to hire the best and the brightest," says Bayer.
The report is based on the findings of The Conference Board Reputation Risk Research Working Group and a survey of 148 risk management executives of major corporations. More than three quarters of the respondents to the survey said their companies are making a substantial effort to manage reputation risk (82 percent) and they have increased focus in this area over the last three years (81 percent).
Other key findings of the study:
• Reputation risk should be managed throughout the organization. Although communication is of critical importance in responding to a risk event, a company's reputation should be considered during the preparation and execution of strategy and new projects, which hasn't been the case in most companies.
• Reputation risk is often not incorporated into risk management. Only 49 percent of executives surveyed said that the management of reputation risk was highly integrated with their Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) function or another risk oversight program.
• Assessing reputation risks is a top challenge. Fifty-nine percent indicated that assessing the perceptions and concerns of stakeholders was an extremely or very significant issue, making it the highest-ranked challenge.
• Media monitoring has become more sophisticated. Today, there are tools to assess whether coverage is positive, neutral or negative; the credibility of publications; the prominence of coverage, etc.
• Efforts are being made to quantify the value of reputation. A select group of companies is making progress in this area by working with specialist consulting firms to quantify the impact of reputation on share price.
• Social media are gaining influence, but most companies are ignoring them. Although consumers and investors are increasingly gathering information from blogs, online forums, and social networking sites, only 34 percent of the survey respondents said they extensively monitor such sites, and only 10 percent actively participated in them.
The findings spurred the following recommendations from The Conference Board Research Working Group:
1) Actively involve boards of directors in reputation risk management.
2) Demonstrate to leaders and management teams in business units the impact of their actions on reputation.
3) Integrate reputation risk management with ERM or other risk management programs.
4) Quantify the value of reputation.
5) Use and nurture employees as corporate ambassadors.
"Boards of directors, senior management, and operating management should demonstrate an active commitment to strong reputation management," conclude the authors.
Source: The Conference Board
"Our reputation is more important than the last hundred million dollars."
-- Rupert Murdoch
"From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step."
-- Napoleon Bonaparte
Posted by Editors at 12:59 AM
February 27, 2009
Elle Macpherson Donates the First Timepiece in the Aspen Jewelry and Watches Collection to Challenge Aspen
Photo: Elle Macpherson donates first Aspen One timepiece collection to charity.
Swiss-based company Aspen Jewelry and Watches has launched Aspen One worldwide, its first luxury timepiece. Aspen One, the limited edition Swiss-made timepiece retailing for US$38,900, is a tribute to Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Mountain Club was the location of the launch event, where model and entrepreneur Elle Macpherson was presented with the diamond version of Aspen One, retailing at US$49,900. With a multitude of press documenting the event, Elle presented the watch as a donation to representatives of two area nonprofits: Challenge Aspen and Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.
Founder and CEO Rene van Ass stated, "Aspen is internationally known for its natural beauty, perfect slopes and the glamorous appeal of its famous visitors. Aspen is a brand...a very strong brand. Aspen Jewelry and Watches has been granted the worldwide license to use the Aspen name for the collections we are introducing, the first being Aspen One. By marketing this collection, we are marketing Aspen as it is...and what it was. We will emphasize Aspen's rich history and we want people all over the world to fall in love with Aspen even more."
Posted by Editors at 10:04 PM
February 25, 2009
Gatorade G2 Everyday Athlete: Tennis Star Serena Williams Selects Her Match
Five Semi-Finalists -- All Named Serena -- Share Their Inspired 'Everyday Athlete' Stories For Chance To Appear Next to Serena Williams in G2 Low- Calorie Sports Drink Campaign.
Photo: #1 World Ranked Tennis Player Serena Williams congratulates Serena Cuevas, 23, from San Diego for being selected to appear alongside Williams in the new national "Everyday Athletes" campaign for Gatorade G2 low-calorie sports drink. Emceed by Access Hollywood host and upcoming Dancing with the Stars competitor, Nancy O'Dell, The G2 Everyday Athlete Search selected Cuevas among five semi-finalists - all named Serena.
Top world ranked tennis player Serena Williams -- who just came off winning her 10th Grand Slam Singles Title at the 2009 Australian Open -- teamed up with Gatorade G2 today at Hollywood's famed Roosevelt Hotel to select who will appear alongside her in a new national "Everyday Athletes" ad campaign for the Gatorade G2 low-calorie sports drink.
Emceed by Access Hollywood host and upcoming Dancing with the Stars competitor, Nancy O'Dell, The G2 Everyday Athlete Search featured five semi-finalists -- all named Serena -- who traveled to the event from around the country to discuss their personal stories of how sports and exercise have helped them overcome a challenge or allowed them to reach and accomplish a significant, personal goal.
A casting panel consisting of Serena Williams, and representatives from Shape Magazine and Gatorade G2 selected winner Serena Cuevas, 23, from San Diego, Calif. based on Cuevas' story of growing up with a passion to dance that was sidetracked by a horrific car accident at the age of 17. She was told by the doctors she may never dance again. With determination and passion, Cuevas recovered and went on to compete in national and international salsa competitions, as well as establish her own dance company -- Deseo Dance Company -- in San Diego.
Cuevas will appear with Serena Williams in the national ad campaign beginning this spring that will help draw attention to the Gatorade brand's broadened definition of what it means to be an athlete. If your body is moving, Gatorade considers you an athlete.
The Gatorade Company is a division of PepsiCo.
"Ill-health, of body or of mind, is defeat. Health alone is victory. Let all men, if they can manage it, contrive to be healthy."
-- THOMAS CARLYLE
Posted by Editors at 7:44 AM
February 13, 2009
Three New York City Area Parking Companies Offer Discounts to smart fortwo Owners
smart fortwo Owners Receive Half-Off Rates When Parking at Hundreds of New York City Area Facilities and Airports.
smart USA Distributor LLC (a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., and headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) has announced agreements with three New York City area parking companies. Meyers Parking, Icon Parking Systems and AviStar Airport Parking now offer parking discounts to smart fortwo owners. Owners of the revolutionary vehicle will receive a 50 percent discount off daily and monthly posted parking rates at hundreds of locations across New York City.
"Our arrangement with the parking companies gives smart owners the best of both worlds: the ability to park at a discounted price, along with the ease to park almost anywhere," said Dave Schembri, President of smart USA. "The smart fortwo is helping New Yorkers change the way they park and navigate congested city streets, while offering great fuel economy, safety and functionality."
At 61 inches wide and 106 inches long, the smart fortwo is a practical solution for New Yorkers looking to find an easy way to park in New York City. In addition to being easy to park, the vehicle is attracting a significant number of buyers who want a solution to volatile gas prices, a way to reduce their environmental footprint and beat urban congestion in a package that is fun to drive.
Meyers Parking first offered half price parking to smart fortwo owners beginning last September, and the program was renewed for 2009. Meyers Parking is the official parking garage of Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers, New York Knicks and New York Liberty. Meyers also has the largest public garages in Times Square, on the Upper East Side and the Empire State Building area.
"We are pleased to continue our '50 percent off' arrangement for smart fortwo owners in 2009. Meyers Parking knew it was only a matter of time before other parking companies would provide similar discounts; as it is fair and makes total sense," said Michael Carolan, Director of Operations for Meyers Parking. "We are pleased to have been the innovator of this '50 percent off' concept and we are very happy for smart owners as they now have options to park in areas where Meyers Parking facilities are not located at attractive rates."
Icon Parking Systems has more than 200 parking facilities in Manhattan. Many of Icon's locations can be found near famous New York City landmarks as well as residential areas throughout the city. smart fortwo owners are entitled to half price parking on all day, night and weekend rates and specials.
"It's no surprise that limited parking supply combined with increased development is contributing to congestion in the City. There is also a growing trend among businesses and consumers alike to be more mindful of their impact on the environment and community," said Paul Regan, Vice President, Icon Parking Systems. "By partnering with smart USA, we are hoping to leverage our resources to confront some of these challenges. It makes perfect sense to reward customers who drive vehicles that are economical, environmentally friendly, occupy less space and are relatively easy for operators to park."
For smart fortwo owners traveling by plane out of the New York City area, AviStar Airport Parking, a wholly owned subsidy of Parking Company America Airports, LLC (PCAA) is offering half price parking on the daily rate at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
smart USA has sold more than 26,000 smart fortwos since January 16, 2008. Currently there are approximately 4,000 smart owners in the metropolitan New York market. There are seven smart centers located in the tri-state area including: Manhattan, Roslyn, Smithtown and White Plains in New York, Edison and Englewood in New Jersey and Fairfield, Connecticut.
Source: smart USA
"Bravo smart fortwo!"
Posted by Editors at 9:43 AM
February 10, 2009
Cole Haan Debuts Spring 2009 Ad Campaign Featuring Maria Sharapova
Cole Haan recently announced Maria Sharapova as a lead collaborator and the face of Cole Haan Sporting, a new collection for Spring 2009, rooted in sport and remixed with fashion. Today, February 10, 2009 in New York, Cole Haan unveils international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova as the face of its 2009 Spring advertising campaign.
Shot with simplicity in Malibu, California by lifestyle photographer Martyn Thompson, the campaign reflects the interplay of style and sport, passion and play, that Cole Haan says it shares with Sharapova.
Photo: Cole Haan ad featuring Maria Sharapova.
"The campaign marks the first time Cole Haan has collaborated with a Nike athlete to serve as the face of a new collection," notes Cole Haan Chief Marketing Officer Michael Capiraso. "We are able to leverage her interest in fashion and sport, while connecting with our consumer in a new and unique way."
Mixing Media Initiatives:
• Digital media to play an important role in the campaign - rich media presence on top sites.
• Debuting in March issue of Vanity Fair.
• Print Campaign to appear in top Women's Core titles.
The Spring 2009 global launch of Cole Haan Sporting includes men's and women's footwear and accessories.
Cole Haan, headquartered in Yarmouth, Maine, USA, designs and distributes dress and casual footwear, apparel and accessories for men and women under the brand names Cole Haan and Bragano. Cole Haan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. and operates more than 100 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.
Source: Cole Haan
Posted by Editors at 5:23 AM
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."
Posted by Editors at 12:11 PM