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— February 2009 —

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February 27, 2009

Consumer Reports: Who Makes the Best Cars?

Automaker Report Cards: Honda Leads Again, Mercedes-Benz Improves, Chrysler Lags.


For the third consecutive year, Honda has earned class leader status for building the best all-around vehicles for American drivers, according to the Automaker Report Cards published in Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Issue. At the opposite end of the annual ranking is Chrysler, which fared even worse than last year. The company's poor performing products and sinking reliability results have kept all Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep badged vehicles off CR's Recommended list.

With an overall score of 78 out of 100 points, Honda was followed closely by Subaru (75), and Toyota (74) in the overall score. Subaru is also the only automaker with 100% of its tested vehicles Recommended, although it has a relatively small model lineup. Mazda (73), came in 4th, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen, and BMW, all tied at 72.

While the top four overall scores belong to Japanese automakers, a Japanese nameplate is no guarantee that every car in a model range will be a reliable and good performer. For example, the Honda Element and Toyota Yaris scored too low in Consumer Reports' tests to be recommended. Conversely, despite overall scores of 63 and 57 respectively, that placed Ford and GM toward the bottom of the results, new models like the Ford Flex, F-150, Chevrolet Malibu, and Cadillac CTS have done well in CR's tests and rank near the top of their classes in its ratings.




The overall score for each automaker is based on the average of its vehicles' overall scores in Consumer Reports' road tests and their average predicted-reliability ratings from Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey. Manufacturers received a report card only if five or more of its vehicles were tested.

Of the Asian automakers, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda, and Hyundai improved their overall scores. Nissan and Hyundai also improved their reliability rating. Of the four, Hyundai showed the most improvement, increasing its overall score from 66 to 70.

European automakers, traditionally great performers overall, have lagged in reliability but there have been notable improvements with several models from Audi, BMW, Saab, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz showed the most significant improvement, moving up in the overall ranking (72) to tie with BMW and Volkswagen.

"All three Detroit automakers continued to be at the back of the class, although General Motors and Ford improved their overall scores. Chrysler disappointed the most -- it had the lowest overall test score and none of its vehicles are Recommended," says Consumer Reports.




There was some positive news for the struggling U.S. domestic automakers. The latest models from General Motors now rank among the best in testing, and models like the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette, and Chevrolet Malibu all scored well. Some Ford models now rival their competition from Honda and Toyota in reliability, perhaps a promising sign for new models now coming out of the product pipeline. For Chrysler, the sole glimmer of hope in the model-year is the new Dodge Ram, which is now very competitive with the other full size trucks.

"While Japanese automakers continue to set the standard for the industry in terms of real-world performance and reliability, many domestic, European, and Korean manufacturers are narrowing the gap by building better and more reliable cars," said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing, Consumer Reports. "While some automakers are still dragged down by old product investments, we expect the race for the front of the class to become even more competitive which may lead to some excellent values for consumers in the near future."

In the end, the companies that make the best vehicles are those that excel in performance, interior craftsmanship, safety, comfort, and reliability. The best continue to set a higher and higher standard, a competition in which consumers are the ultimate winners.

Consumer Reports is one of the trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services, and according to it, its findings may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes.

Source: Consumer Reports



"Can advertising foist an inferior product on the consumer? Bitter experience has taught me that it cannot. On those rare occasions when I have advertised products which consumer tests have found inferior to other products in the same field, the results have been disastrous."

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:04 PM | View the original post

Elle Macpherson Donates the First Timepiece in the Aspen Jewelry and Watches Collection to Challenge Aspen


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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."

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 10:04 PM | View the original post

February 26, 2009

Even as Vehicle Sales Decline, Exceptional Service Satisfaction Enhances Dealer and Manufacturer Profitability Through Improved Customer Retention -- J.D. Power

Lexus Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service.

Car Repair

In today's tough automotive market, providing consumers with superior service experiences translates into increased profitability for dealers and automakers, with the highest-performing brands retaining more than 80 percent of their customer maintenance and repair dollars within their dealer network, compared with retention rates of less than 60 percent for lower-performing brands, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study released today.

The study, now in its 29th year, examines satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit a service department for maintenance or repair work. The CSI rankings are based on dealer performance during the first three years of ownership, which typically represent the majority of the vehicle warranty period. Five measures are examined to determine overall customer satisfaction with dealer service (listed in order of importance):

(1) Service Quality
(2) Service Initiation
(3) Service Advisor
(4) Service Facility
(5) Vehicle Pickup

Car Repair

The study finds that although satisfaction with dealer service tends to decline as vehicles age--particularly during the fourth and fifth years of ownership--those automakers whose dealers provide the highest levels of satisfaction during the warranty period retain a greater share of future service visits at the dealership, even after the warranty period expires. Brands with dealers that achieve particularly high CSI scores (800 or higher) during the first three years of vehicle ownership retained 79 percent of dollars spent on maintenance and repairs during the first five years of ownership. In contrast, brands that attained CSI scores below 800 retained only 69 percent of customer maintenance and repair dollars.

"Since dealer service is the last touch point in the vehicle ownership cycle that auto manufacturers have with customers, providing superior levels of service can leave owners with a lasting favorable impression of the brand," said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates. "Providing excellent service is not only good for customers, but it also benefits dealers and automakers in terms of income from future service visits and sales. The significant decline in new-vehicle sales means that dealers are relying even more heavily on the service-operations side of their business for much-needed revenue. In many cases, this income is keeping the dealerships open. With the stakes so high, it is imperative for dealers to focus heavily on maximizing satisfaction levels."

Car Repair

Lexus ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service in 2009--improving from fourth rank position in 2008. Lexus achieves an overall CSI score of 835 on a 1,000-point scale and performs particularly well in four of the five measures: service quality; service initiation; service advisor and service facility. Rounding out the top five nameplates are Jaguar (810), BMW (808), Cadillac (806) and Acura (805).

"The highest-performing brands differentiate themselves particularly in the service quality and service facility measures," said Osborn. "There are several practices that the highest-ranked brands consistently perform that help elevate customer service satisfaction levels, including providing prompt service appointments; greeting the customer immediately on arrival; knowing the vehicle's service history; returning vehicles to customers in a clean condition; and offering alternative transportation to customers leaving their cars for service. These courtesies may seem intuitive, but many dealers do not provide them consistently. We find that they are very effective in raising customer satisfaction, provided that the service work performed on the vehicle is also satisfactory."

The 2009 CSI Study is based on responses from 106,059 owners and lessees of 2004 to 2008 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded between October and December 2008. J.D. Power and Associates measures dealer service in various countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK.

Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Lexus ---------- 835

Jaguar ---------- 810
BMW ---------- 808
Cadillac ---------- 806
Acura ---------- 805
HUMMER ---------- 804
Land Rover ---------- 803
Buick ---------- 802
Saturn ---------- 800
Lincoln ---------- 798
Porsche ---------- 792
Audi ---------- 789
Mercedes-Benz ---------- 789
Infiniti ---------- 786
SAAB ---------- 785
GMC ---------- 781
MINI ---------- 781
Pontiac ---------- 779
Chevrolet ---------- 777
Mercury ---------- 776

Mitsubishi ---------- 767
Volvo ---------- 767
Hyundai ---------- 763
Honda ---------- 762

Industry Average ---------- 761

Ford ---------- 757
Chrysler ---------- 746
Scion ---------- 739
Toyota ---------- 736

Dodge ---------- 734
Subaru ---------- 729
Jeep ---------- 727
Volkswagen ---------- 725
Kia ---------- 724
Nissan ---------- 723
Mazda ---------- 716
Suzuki ---------- 702

Source: J.D. Power and Associates



"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

-- Warren Buffett StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:42 AM | View the original post

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.


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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.

Source: Gatorade



"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 StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 7:44 AM | View the original post

February 21, 2009

Media Seen as the Primary Cause of the Depth and Length of the Global Recession, According to New Research From Frost & Sullivan

Companies Must Ignore Fear, Make Smart Moves to Emerge Stronger.

Global Media

In a recent survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, 91% of CEOs blame the breadth and depth of the current economic situation on the media.

"The media's manipulation of statistics, negativity, exaggeration, and doomsday forecasts have driven fear and panic among consumers and businesses alike," says David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan.

Business Newspaper

According to Frost & Sullivan, "Economic statistics are often twisted and exaggerated. The fear of total economic collapse is perpetuated in the media to grab attention and sell more copies or attract more viewers or listeners. Because of this, consumers and business have frozen spending, canceled projects, sold investments, and laid off workers. This has caused a downward spiral in demand and pricing that has now caused about 20 trillion dollars of damage globally."

"As the media continues to perpetuate fear, uncertainty and doubt, there is a growing chance that it will result in a self-fulfilling prophecy," adds Frost & Sullivan Economist Sandeep Maheshwari.

"What clearly started out with financial mismanagement and fraud on Wall Street has now escalated into a major global recession exacerbated by the media," says Frost & Sullivan's research. "CEOs cite how the media has continued to drive fear through efforts to gain more readers, viewers, and listeners. The ironic turn is that the media is also being victimized by the current recession, with declining audiences and falling ad revenues."

Finance Newspaper

In the responses portion of the study, CEOs made several interesting comments:

• "Several newspapers have compared the overall job losses to the Great Depression without taking into account the huge increase in U.S. population since that time. These comparisons only generate more fear and are counter-productive."

• "Economists miss every turn in the economy. Why do we rely on their forecasts today when they are so unreliable? They move like a herd of antelope -- their current forecasts all fit nicely into a pack."

• "I recently read a headline that said Microsoft will lay off 5,000 workers. At the end of the piece it mentioned it would be over a three year period. Compared to the overall size of Microsoft, this is not newsworthy."

"We are now at a turning point. An unprecedented global stimulus plan and guaranteed programs are now in place. All of these trends could signal the turning point if we change our outlook. The media, economists, politicians, bankers, and business executives could collectively turn the economy around by working simultaneously to restore confidence back into the system -- in turn, calming the public. It's time for us to give up on the doom and gloom," concludes Frigstad.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:18 AM | View the original post

February 20, 2009

U.S. Automotive Dealerships Suffer Largest Decline on Record, Says Urban Science

Auto Dealer

A record number of automotive dealerships closed in the United States during 2008. This was revealed today by Urban Science.

(From its headquarters in Detroit, and from its offices in the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, China, Mexico and Japan, Urban Science serves global clientele by helping them identify where they should allocate resources to increase marketshare and profitability. Urban Science maintains a list of current new vehicle dealership and franchise information for all car and light truck brands in the United States. Compiled on a monthly basis, the census, according to it, is a reliable source of dealership statistics.)

The company's Franchise Activity Report, which, according to it, is the USA's most accurate data on dealers, showed the nationwide dealership count for the year fell by 881, or 4.2 percent, to 20,084. The decline was the largest since 1991 when data was first collected, with the bulk of closures occurring in the fourth quarter.

According to John Frith, vice president at Urban Science, the decline in automotive franchises was less than brick-and-mortar dealerships, implying consolidation. "There has been a loss of franchises across all the manufacturers, but the Detroit Three have been hit the hardest, accounting for 80 percent of the loss," Frith said. "We'll see even more contraction in the next several years as the Detroit Three strategically rethink their retail counts and locations."

Auto Dealer

Proactive consolidation, a process in which an automaker closes a dealership or consolidates it with other nearby franchises, can be complex and expensive. To close down a retailer, state franchise laws and individual sales-and-service agreements must be honored. Automakers must provide compensation for dealer investments, such as new-vehicle inventory, special tools and resalable parts.

"When closing a dealer, the main focus for the automaker is to minimize the negative impact on the dealer and ensure customers can still be conveniently serviced," Frith added.

According to Randy Berlin, global practice director for Urban Science, proactive consolidation is the preferred method, but the market itself will force some dealers to shut their doors.

"The credit crunch is a two-pronged attack on dealers -- they can't get credit lines to secure new-vehicle inventory, and customers can't get credit to buy those vehicles," said Berlin. "However, most dealers will be able to weather the storm by reducing variable expenses and focusing on service and parts."

Auto Dealer

Urban Science's Franchise Activity Report, a subset of Urban Science's monthly Automotive Dealer Census, analyzes dealership data on national, state and market levels.

Other findings include:

• Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and Montana were the only states that did not suffer declines in their dealership count.

• Rhode Island, California and Massachusetts experienced the largest percentage declines.

• Denver; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Greensboro, N.C. either added dealerships or had no declines.

• Five of the top 10 cities with the highest percentage declines were in California.

"We will continue to see proactive dealer closures in metro markets," said Berlin. "Rural markets, however, will likely withstand consolidation efforts. When people talk about the number of Detroit Three dealerships versus import brands, the Detroit Three do have more. Actually, more than 90 percent of brands in non-metro areas are from the Detroit Three. Ford, Chrysler and GM serve the rural areas well, and don't have much competition from foreign automakers."

Source: Urban Science



"We are encouraged by Chrysler's restructuring plan. It's comprehensive and realistic and viable. What's most important, however, is that Chrysler recognizes that availability of credit for automotive consumers and dealers is the single most important element of Chrysler's viability."

-- National Automobile Dealers Association


"General Motors has submitted a strong plan. It's comprehensive and aggressive and achievable. We are, of course, exceedingly disappointed that a viable solution has not yet been found for Saturn, Saab and Hummer. When considering the future viability of these brands, GM should continue to aggressively pursue all options. We are pleased that GM recognizes the 'great dealer network' that supports these brands. Should it become necessary to phase out these brands, it is imperative that GM treat the affected dealers fairly and that they be properly compensated. It is equally important to take care of the Saturn, Saab and Hummer owners. On the positive front, we are encouraged that GM recognizes that the availability of credit for automotive consumers and dealers is central to GM's survival."

-- National Automobile Dealers Association

Our Opinion

"Respect your Dealers. Work for your Dealers.

And the God of Marketing & Sales will Respect You and Work for You."

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 12:21 PM | View the original post

February 14, 2009

Automaker Restructuring Plan Must Demonstrate Viability and Protect Taxpayer Investments -- U.S. House of Representatives Speaker

Auto Mechanic


U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank have sent the following letters to Robert L. Nardelli, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler, and Rick Wagoner Jr., Chairman and CEO of General Motors, regarding their company restructuring plans, which are due next week.


Photo: Chrysler Town & Country EV

Dodge Ram 1500

Photo: Chrysler 2009 Dodge Ram 1500

Chevrolet Camaro

Photo: GM 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Build

Chevrolet Spark

Photo: GM 2010 Chevrolet Spark

In the letter, Pelosi and Frank write: "We trust that your restructuring plan will demonstrate to the world that you are willing to make the tough decisions that modernize your operations, restructure your debt, enhance your competitive status in the global marketplace, and protect American jobs for the future."

Below is the full text of the letter:

February 13, 2009

Mr. Robert L. Nardelli
Chairman and CEO
Chrysler LLC
1000 Chrysler Drive
Auburn Hills, MI 58326

Mr. G. R. Wagoner, Jr.
Chairman and CEO
General Motors Corporation
300 Renaissance Center
MC 482-C39-B50
Detroit, MI 48265-3000

Dear Mr. Nardelli and Mr. Wagoner:

As the February 17 deadline approaches for the automobile companies to submit restructuring plans to the federal government, we are writing to stress the importance of your submitting a credible restructuring plan that results in a viable industry, with quality jobs, and economic opportunity for the 21st century, while protecting taxpayer investments.

In October of last year, Congress approved the Bush Administration's request to provide $700 billion in taxpayer assistance to stabilize the financial system, following warnings by the Administration that inaction would lead to a financial catastrophe. The Bush Administration's lack of transparency in implementing this initiative, and its failure to address the foreclosure crisis head-on (the root cause of the financial crisis), resulted in significant public skepticism about large-scale government interventions to rescue private corporations.

Amidst this public skepticism, the House of Representatives in December passed legislation that authorized taxpayer assistance to the auto industry. This legislation, which the Senate failed to pass, served as the basis for the Bush Administration's December initiative to provide loans to the automobile industry from the TARP.

Mindful that 1 in 10 American jobs is related to auto manufacturing, our national security depends on the industry's technologies and manufacturing capacity, and our competitiveness in the global economy depends on its pursuit of excellence.

Though we recognize that our economy faces significant challenges, Congress and the American people believe that your restructuring plan must include the following:

A documented assessment of your company's ability to ensure long-term viability as you retool for the future, including a target market size;

A commitment that the sacrifices necessary to turn the industry around will be shared equitably by all stakeholders;

A commitment to protecting and sustaining the health and pension benefits that have defined "quality" American jobs and allowed millions to enter the middle class;

A demonstrated commitment to restructure your company's debt in a manner that protects the interests of the taxpayers;

An additional assurance that taxpayers benefit as corporate conditions improve and shareholder value increases; and,

A demonstration of your ability to achieve or exceed the fuel efficiency requirements set forth in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the emissions standards adopted by California and other states, if they receive Federal approval, and become a long-term global leader in the production of fuel-efficient and advanced technology vehicles.

We trust that your restructuring plan will demonstrate to the world that you are willing to make the tough decisions that modernize your operations, restructure your debt, enhance your competitive status in the global marketplace, and protect American jobs for the future. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

best regards,

Speaker of the House Chairman

Financial Services Committee

Source: Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 10:38 AM | View the original post

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 Fortwo

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."

Smart New York

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."

Smart Fortwo

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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."

Smart Fortwo

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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


Our Opinion

"Bravo smart fortwo!"

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 9:43 AM | View the original post

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.


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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

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 5:23 AM | View the original post

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