Tag: Daimler Chrysler

Local lanes modernize by adding new tech

Recent improvements have been made at Eastway Bowl with the intent to make bowling more enjoyable and entertaining for all types of bowlers.

The bowling center on the east side of Sioux Falls recently was selected as one of nine national beta test sites for Brunswick Sync, the next generation of bowling scoring systems by Brunswick. Eastway also recently added automatic bumpers for bumper bowling.

Were always looking for ways to make bowling more enjoyable for our customers, said Josh Thomas, who co-owns Eastway with his brother, Jeremy. Were especially excited about the Brunswick Sync scoring system. Were proud to be one of the few centers in the nation to offer the latest in technology for scoring. It offers a number of amazing new features. Well be providing input for Brunswick as they develop the system this year before it becomes available to all bowling centers next year.

Brunswick Sync allows bowlers to choose from a wide range of scoring screen themes and graphics designed for every age and skill level on the overhead scoring monitors. Its On-Lane Display offers ball speed reporting and pin indicator information. Bowlers will also be able to view their own statistical information and the performance of bowlers on other lanes.

The previous overhead scoring monitors have been replaced by 32 larger (42-inch) displays. Eight new 55-inch screens have been installed to allow for better viewing of sporting events or other television programs while bowling.

The system will be linked to the internet, where anyone can view live-scoring from their computers at home. An app will be available that will allow smartphones to be synched to the system. And open bowlers will be able to make reservations online and even list their bowlers so that scoring already will be set when they arrive.

There will be a lot of other features. Things are constantly changing as they continue to develop this, said Josh, who expects the program to be fully operational in August. Its really the ultimate experience in combining bowling with the technology thats offered today.

Eastway also will be the first bowling center in Sioux Falls to offer automatic bumpers for bumper bowling, which is used for young children to keep their ball on the lane. In the past, all bowlers on the same lane had to use the bumpers. Now, the bumpers will automatically raise and lower for each bowler according to their preference.

Change for the better has become the norm at Eastway since the brothers purchased it from their parents, Tom and Cindy, in 2006. But while they had spent much of their lives at Eastway – their parents owned it for 24 years – neither of them ever had plans of eventually being its proprietors.

I think we both had enough of the bowling business at that time. That was the only job wed ever known, said Josh. We wanted to try something different.

Both attended college out-of-state, with Jeremy earning a degree in finance at Western Illinois while Josh graduated from Central Missouri State with degrees in criminal justice and business. They each bowled collegiately, with Jeremy being a member of Western Illinois national champion team in 1999.

After graduation, Jeremy moved to Florida to work for Daimler-Chrysler; Josh began employment with Albertsons in Kansas City. Their parents told them of their desire to retire in 2004 and Josh returned home to manage Eastway. Several years later, Jeremy was concerned about what the future appeared to hold for the auto industry and left his position in Florida to return home with his wife, who also is a Sioux Falls native. With their parents ready to sell the bowling center, the brothers made the decision to purchase it.

When we bought this, we really didnt know if we were going to like owning a bowling center, said Josh. So we came up with a 10-year plan and decided to make a decision on going on when we reached that point. We met that plan in the eight years weve been here and were enjoying it, so now were working on our next 10-year plan.

We feel its important for us to be plugged in to our customers and to hear what their thoughts are about bowling here, said Josh. One of the major issues we first heard from them was the seating arrangement for the bowlers. We replaced all of the seating with a new design that was more accommodating. Then we gave the interior a fresh, updated look with new carpet, paint and façade over the lanes and also added automatic entrance doors.

The lounge received a makeover as well, including the addition of 16 television screens to give it a sports theme, and a covered outdoor patio also was constructed. Supernova Bowling – open bowling on Friday and Saturday nights with laser and LED lights – was later added. More recently, they purchased a Kegel lane-oiling machine, which provides several oiling patterns and can duplicate the patterns used on the professional tour and tournaments.

Eastway also was the first bowling center in Sioux Falls to offer the Kids Bowl Free program, which allows children to bowl two games each day at no charge during weekdays in the summer.

We really try to be forward-thinking, said Josh. We feel that we need to be that way with the public having so many entertainment options today.

The next major improvement that is planned will be one that anyone driving by the building on East 10th Street will notice.

Every day when I arrive to work, Im reminded of the remodeling Id like to see done to the exterior of the building, said Josh. Were hoping to be able to do that in the next couple of years. Wed like to have the outside look as nice as the inside.

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Chrysler Next on Regulator’s Ignition-Switch Hit List

US safety regulators are probing some 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles to determine whether potential ignition-switch defects could result in engine stalls and the possible non-deployment of air bags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said the investigations involve older Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler models.

One NHTSA investigation of Chrysler, involving about 525,000 Jeep SUVs made between 2005 and 2007, focuses on whether a nudge from a drivers knee can push the switch to the off or accessory position — turning off the engine and potentially disabling air bags in the event of a crash.

The other, involving 700,000 Chrysler Town Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Dodge Journey crossovers from model years 2008-2010, focuses on whether switches can be turned off when driving on rough roads.

The new Chrysler investigations signal that problems surrounding faulty ignition switches, which could cause air bags to fail, might hit other automakers besides Chrysler and GM.

The NHTSA is investigating similar issues at GM, which has recalled over 20 million vehicles this year, mostly in the US. Close to 6.5 million of these were recalled because of ignition switch faults.

The regulator, which administers safety recalls, said on 18 June the Chrysler probes resulted from its recent communication with automotive manufacturers and suppliers regarding airbag design and performance related to the position of the vehicle ignition switch.

As part of NHTSAs broader efforts to evaluate this issue, the agency examined all major manufacturers airbag deployment strategies as they relate to switch position.

Chrysler, owned by Italys Fiat, said it was awaiting additional information from NHTSA and that it will cooperate with the investigations.

German automaker Daimler, Chryslers previous owner, said on 18 June it is unaffected by the NHTSA investigations.

GM Recalls

General Motors is being grilled by Congress about disregarding the safety of its customers after emails from 2005 revealed that a GM employee had warned a big recall may be needed because of an ignition switch fault, which is only now being addressed by the company.

Emails made public on 18 June showed that GM employee Laura Andres in 2005 wrote to engineers and to the then vice president of North American engineering Ed Koerner, warning that a 2006 Chevy Impala Special car she owned had suffered an engine stall when moving between a paved road and gravel.

Andres email added that a technician told her the problem could be with part of the ignition switch. The 2006 Impala was recalled only on 16 June.

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Texas Tech University Law Professor Available to Discuss Redskins Trademark

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In a landmark decision Wednesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled six federal trademarks belonging to the Washington Redskins football organization.

The Redskins have been under heavy fire in recent months to change the name of the program as many feel it is offensive to Native Americans. A group of young Native Americans filed suit in 2006 to have the name changed, and on Wednesday the USPTO ruled six trademarks violate rules that prevent trademarks that can disparage individuals or groups filed between 1967 and 1990.

The ruling, however, does not force the Washington football organization to change its name.

Pitch

Vickie Sutton, associate dean for research and faculty development in the School of Law at Texas Tech University, is available to speak on the matter regarding how often this has happened and what it could mean for the organization going forward. She also has experience working in various agencies of the federal government, giving her keen insights into the workings in Washington, DC

Quotes
o “The USPTO finally revoked the ‘Washington Redskins’ trademark as disparaging to Native Americans both today and when the mark was first registered.”
o “In 1999, the USPTO held hearings on the use of tribal insignia and names. Testifying in the hearings were representatives of Jeep Cherokee, Daimler Chrysler Co., Oneida, Ltd., a flatware manufacturer, and the Mohawk Carpet Corporations.”
o “However, the use of tribal names has sometimes been blessed by tribes such as the inauguration of the Apache Longbow Helicopter.”

Expert

Dr. Vickie Sutton, associate dean for research and faculty development, Texas Tech School of Law, Texas Tech University, vickie.sutton@ttu.edu.

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Tesla Model X Release Date Confirmed for 2015 First Fully Electric SUV …

Tesla Motors announced that the Tesla X, their fully electric SUV will be released in 2015. The first Model X design that was unveiled in 2012, and received 40 million dollars in pre-order sales, even though the car is still in the concept/ prototype phase.

Final prototypes will be finished at the Fremont production line sometime in the fall.

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The fully electric SUV crossover, the first of its kind, will feautre iconic falcon wing doors, that open up and out. The doors will be attached to sensors to ensure that they dont hit anything too close. Not only do these doors look amazing, but they also make getting in and out of the Model X so much easier than would a conventional front hinged door, the status update notes. You can even do it standing up.

Pictures of the vehicle are still without side mirrors, which is a violation of federal safety requirements. The company has lobbied the government to allow for the use of small cameras instead of mirrors. As of this writing the rules have not been changed, and side mirrors may still have to be added.

The crossover will also come standard with an all-wheel-drive system, and will be offered with optional third-row seating. The second and third seating rows will be foldable to create a platform for large cargo.

Tesla stock rose 6% after the announcement, and is up 50% this year, reaching its high point in February. This comes even after Tesla gave away all of its patents, so as to encourage other automakers to make electric cars. Tesla already works with both Daimler Chrysler and Toyota on electric systems for their vehicles. The company plans to make a universally affordable electric car model by 2017.

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Road tested and reviewed: Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit is ‘a terrific value …

MONEY SAVER: Motormouths George Fowler says the Jeep is remarkably practical and super luxurious [PH]

Yep, Jeep may be based in Ohio, but they havent been an American firm for nearly 50 years.

Established in 1941 to make rough and tough cars for the US Army, they changed their name to Wilys-Overland in 1944. That lasted until 1970 when they were taken over by French company Renault, who sold them to Chrysler in 1987.

Chrysler famously went bust – no shock when you saw some of the dreadful cars they built – and were bought by Mercedes in 1998.

Misery Merc immediately and laughably changed the companys name to Daimler-Chrysler, which everyone who worked for them was forced to pronounce as Dymler-Chrysler.

Cars such as the PT Cruiser, the Crossfire, the awful Neon and the tank-like 300C failed to, how shall we say, capture the publics imagination, and in 2009 Fiat stepped in to put them out of their misery.

Theyve done some terrible things, too, such as changing the name of Lancia to Chrysler in the UK, where theyve even had the nerve to advertise cars such as the Polish-built Lancia Ypsilon using a woman speaking in an American accent saying: Where I come from things are different. They could almost have added: Yall.

Needless to say she doesnt say where she comes from, but its appalling trickery and they should be ashamed. Still, one thing that hasnt changed throughout all these years is the strength and resilience of the Jeep brand.

The new Grand Cherokee may be in the hands of the Italians but its still as American as McDonalds, and is built in Detroit where it has been since it started life in 1992.

The new Grand Cherokee may be in the hands of the Italians but its still as American as McDonalds, and is built in Detroit where it has been since it started life in 1992

George Fowler

It is absolutely huge. Not quite as long as the ridiculous Audi Q7 but in terms of road-going threat, which is what people buy cars like this for, it actually out-menaces the Q7 by being nearly three inches taller. Get out of my way, little man in your little car. Thats the intention. In reality youll just annoy normal people in their normal cars.

Vehicles like the Grand Cherokee really make me wonder what sort of person buys them. Theres no doubt that its remarkably practical and super luxurious, but lots of cars are exactly that these days without looking like theyre going to eat you.

The difference with an off-roader like the Grand Cherokee is that its got six different driving modes – sand, mud, rock, snow, crawl and auto – plus a low or high ratio eight-speed gearbox and height adjustable suspension.

That lot would take it a lot farther than parked on the pavement but sadly thats the biggest task it will ever face from most owners.

Given the weather weve had recently, and are bound to get again, there is a new argument for owning such a vehicle because it will get us through some serious flooding.

But apart from farmers and people living in threatened areas I cant understand its attraction or even begin to comprehend what sort of people will spend 50 grand on a top-range Summit model.

Probably idiot footballers or their equally stupid wives who want to out-muscle the posh hair and sunspecs set outside the school gates.

Ludicrous Theyll be delighted to learn that apart from Fiats wonderful and fuel-efficient V6 diesel engine, there will also be a ludicrous 160mph, 6.4-litre V8 available with 467hp that hits 0-62mph in 4.8s.

I loved the Grand Cherokees ultra posh field of leather interior, its galaxy of standard kit and its remarkable fuel efficiency, given its size.

I hated its image, though, and was genuinely embarrassed to be seen driving it.

The only thing that would make it bearable is another winter like the one weve just suffered.

I dont want that, either.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit:Fact File

Price (on the road): pound;49,495. Range: pound;37,360 – pound;57,940.

Engine: 2,987cc, alloy head, iron block, 24-valve, DOHC V6 turbo diesel, with common rail direct injection (250hp, 422lb torque).

Top Speed: 126mph; 0-62mph: 8.2secs.

Mpg: Urban: 30.4; extra urban: 43.5; combined: 37.7.

CO2: 198g/km. Tax Band J; pound;265 pa road tax.

Ins Group: 43.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SummitImage Rating

Rear Mirror Monster: I must be going mad. For some weird reason I thought this Titan of the Tarmac looked quite smart. Mind you, its still one of the scariest cars ever to get behind you.

Backside Beauty: Four badges, twin exhausts and lots of chrome fail to make it pretty, but it is big.

Playtime Pleaser: Touch-screen satnav, twin-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, heated electric leather seats with memory, trip computer, heated electrically adjustable steering wheel, keyless start and entry, twin panoramic electric sunroof, heated folding door mirrors, auto wipers, electric tailgate, parking sensors with rear camera, 19-speaker DAB CD-stereo with Bluetooth, USB, Aux, SD card and iPod connections.

Naughty Niggles: Considering the size of it, rear legroom is adequate, but hardly impressive.

Tasty Touches: Six luggage hooks and a 12-volt socket in a boot big enough for a wheely bin.

Fast Or Last: Surprisingly quick when pushed but dont expect too much peace or agility.

Wonga Wonder: A mountain of kit in a mountain of a car. Terrific value.

Would An Essex Girl Like It? Tracey would hate it, especially at the supermarket where shed park it across two parking bays before leaving behind her used shopping trolley.

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St. Mark’s brown bag lunch series begins

Anderson has been holding these luncheon seminars for the past eight years, and is well versed in both religious themes and counseling; his career experience has included a private practice in personal and group counseling and life and retirement planning. He has served as a consultant to many health care, education, corporate and religious institutions including Daimler Chrysler, General Motors, Health-South Rehab, and various hospitals, nursing homes and churches. Currently, he is the resident minister of visitation at St. Mark’s.

The free lunch lectures are open to the public. Beverages and dessert will be provided. Contact Judy Lawrence at the church office to reserve a place at 410-822-0001 or jlawrence@stmarkseaston.org.

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Objectivity Expands European Management Team With Former Sones Founder …

SUNNYVALE, CA — (Marketwire) — 04/02/12 — Objectivity announced today the addition of former Sones founder Mauricio Matthesius, to their European management team. Matthesius joins Objectivity as Director of Sales and Partner Management for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe as the company aggressively expands its EMEA operations.

Mauricio has been on the ground in Europe evangelizing the promise of the graph database and its ability to discover opportunities within data, said Matthew Wallis, Managing Director Europe and Middle East, Objectivity. He is an excellent fit for our European team and brings great value to our operations.

Prior to Objectivity, Matthesius was Founder and Managing Director of Sones, an open source graph database initiative based in Germany. Matthesius previously served as an SAP Data Warehouse consultant at both Integrata and Valttenfall Europe, as well as a position at Mitsubishi Daimler Chrysler GmbH. He was also an SAP Business Intelligence Trainer for customers like T-Systems, BASF and Deutsche Post. He is completing a PhD in Information Systems with a focus on automatic information valuation at Technical University Ilmenau.

As both the leading object and graph database provider, we are experiencing great demand across Europe. And one of Objectivitys key differentiators is our deep experience and ability to work closely with our customers as they discover their data, said Jay Jarrell, president and CEO, Objectivity. Mauricio is a perfect match for our team and our steadfast focus on providing customers with a wealth of understanding about the opportunities within Big Data. We are very excited to have him join the team.

About Objectivity, Inc.

Since 1988 Objectivity has been the Enterprise NoSQL leader, helping customers harness the power of Big Data for decades. With our products ObjectivityDB, InfiniteGraph, we help companies manage and discover the relationships between complex data in order to make better real-time decisions. Our customers include: AWD Financial, CUNA Mutual, Draeger Medical, Ericsson, LMS Medical, IPL. Discover your data — visit www.objectivity.com

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Dutch investments clog horizon despite crisis

6 PhotosThe Diplomat ? Bucharest talked to top representatives of the main Dutch investors to find out their expectations and strategies for this year.

Air France-KLM, LeasePlan, Remco and Eureko are just a few of the names heading the list of Dutch companies with significant presence on the local market. Like all firms, they have been working on business strategies and solutions to get by in these troubled times.

Damen Galati steers investments through choppy waters

Damen Galati, one of the main shipyards of the Damen group, today has 1,700 employees and is one of the local Dutch success stories, according to officials at the Netherlands Embassy in Bucharest. According to Florin Marian Spataru, HR corporate affairs director at Damen Shipyards Galati, since 2009 the Galati-based company has managed to cover its production capacity planned for 2011 and 2012 and even part of 2013, despite the contraction of the shipyard construction market.

?The increasing costs of operations and raw materials have driven the adjustment of the company?s activities to prototype ships produced in limited series and to the development of additional services,? Spataru told The Diplomat ? Bucharest.

This year, the shipbuilder is continuing investments, including the development of a new production site, and keeping up the investment pace that has seen it spend around EUR 3 million yearly on new equipment and modernizing its operational site.

The firm mainly produces for export and plans to deliver 14 ships this year, representing a 10 percent increase in production. The company?s managers support an intermodal transport strategy, even though Romanian shipyards operate independently.

?Investment plans for the intermodal strategy have to be adopted and supported through fiscal measures, in order to gain more commercial operations in harbor areas,? said Spataru. He added that Romanian shipbuilding activities rank third within the European industry, but local horizontal development is not that solid, with most of the equipment being imported.

Meet and Seat program lifts passenger numbers for Air France-KLM

Joint French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM is basing its current strategy for this year on consolidating its corporate client portfolio, including SMEs, according to country manager Alexandru Dobrescu. For this, the airline has the fidelity program BlueBiz, following which it plans to consolidate its share of a more and more competitive market. In addition, KLM has enhanced its online offers with social media campaigns.

According to the manager, the recently launched Meet and Seat service allows passengers to research their fellow travelers via Facebook and LinkedIn. ?Through this program, passengers can view the online profiles of other travelers long before booking a seat so they can chose to sit next to somebody they consider interesting or with whom they share interests,? said Dobrescu. He adds that the program is already a success story and has been expanded from three destinations available at the launch to ten now.

Last July, the group posted a six percent increase in passenger traffic into and out of Romania, mainly attributable to multiple group programs for passengers. In 2011, it announced it had a market share of 17 percent. With its two hubs in Paris and Amsterdam, the airline has not seen major changes in traffic in 2011 for its two top tourist destinations. However, demand for European destinations is up to the detriment of long haul, due to smaller budgets. ?This is the main change brought about by the recession. Our passengers have preferred to take shorter holidays, mostly long weekends in the big European cities,? Dobrescu said in 2011.

Quadra Invest bets on on-demand production

Furniture designer and importer Quadra Invest is focusing this year on two clear aspects, in order to boost the efficiency of the production process: finishing works, with a focus on ecological materials, and increasing the production line for the tapestry section, according to Daniela Banica, administrator of the company.

The main challenges it is facing are cost controls and adjustment to customer demand. ?This involves an increased flexibility in the production operations and the possibility of offering alternatives for finishings and tapestry. The more you are willing to exit serial production, the more interesting you become to the customers,? Banica told The Diplomat ? Bucharest.

Currently, the company?s production capacity is 3,500 wooden items of furniture and tapestry products. Last year, Quadra managed to increase its client portfolio by 7 percent on the previous year and it plans further growth in 2012.

The company?s managers attended a specialized trade exhibition organized in Moscow, from which the firm expects an increase in demand, and this year the focus is switching to the Middle East, as representatives will participate in a national exhibition in Sharjah in the UAE, near Dubai. According to the manager, 70 percent of foreign customers buy individual pieces. On the local market, the company serves both individuals and companies.

?We sense an increasing trust from customers in specialized interior design advice, provided by designers and architects, as well as the need to provide tailor-made products,? said Banica.

With an initial investment of almost EUR 500,000, the company?s flagship store European Heritage, located in the historic center of Bucharest, hosts 500 sqm of interior design products on three levels. In 2011, Quadra Invest attained a turnover of EUR 3.6 million and expects an increase this year. It employs around 120 people, a number likely to remain unchanged in 2012.

Crisis gives Rembrandt hotel officials lesson in efficiency

Toni Tatar, manager of the Rembrandt hotel in the old center of Bucharest, a Dutch investment, said, ?With only a few boutique hotels in Bucharest or, more widely, in Romania, one cannot build a market.? This means that there is enough space to grow on this market, and even though the last few years have brought several strategy changes and switches of business optics for every company, the manager thinks that 2012 will bring a five percent growth in revenues. The hotel posted a turnover of EUR 450,000 in 2011.

?The last few years have taught us a valuable lesson across the hospitality industry. We learned to be efficient and innovative during times when demand was decreasing every day. I would say that the current trend in the hospitality field is finding a niche in services,? added Tatar.

The Rembrandt hotel, which required a EUR 1.1 million investment, is a sister business to the adjacent Van Gogh coffee shop. With 16 rooms on 7 levels, it opened in 2005 after the building, which dates back to 1925, was refurbished.

For 2012, the hotel has budgeted investments of EUR 20 million in modernizing some technical facilities in the rooms and changing other hospitality services.

?This year we will target more the corporate segment,? hotel representatives told The Diplomat ? Bucharest.

The occupancy rate in January 2012 was up 15 percent on the same month of the previous year, but the sales rate decreased by 10 percent. The owners of the hotel have expanded their business portfolio in the old center of Bucharest with a wine shop, opened with an investment of EUR 100,000.

LeasePlan ups number of contracts in 2011

?Operational leasing in Romania has kept on growing in recent years, a trend that should be maintained in 2012 too,? said Bogdan Apahidean, managing director at LeasePlan and president of ASLO, the Romanian Association of Operational Leasing Companies. The manager told The Diplomat ? Bucharest that opportunities come from companies? need for cost efficiency when managing their fleet.

?The challenges, though, come from the fact that we have to convince partners who offer different services in this field to align their offers to customer demand and convince clients that have operational leasing contracts in their mother countries that they can benefit from outsourcing their fleet management services locally.?

Having signed up 40 new clients in 2011, one of the company?s most important contracts this year was with E.ON.

The company sealed a three-year operational leasing contract with power distribution company E.ON Moldova for 445 cars, in a deal estimated at EUR 9.5 million. The contract was awarded to LeasePlan Romania after it beat off rival bids from two companies in an auction held by E.ON.

LeasePlan Romania posted a turnover of EUR 30.9 million in 2011, 21 percent up on the previous year. The company had a market share of 17 percent in 2011 and a fleet of 6,267 vehicles. The largest fleet in its portfolio is held by OMV Petrom, with over 2,200 cars.

The local operational leasing market grew 17 percent in 2011 year-on-year to reach 37,397 vehicles under operational leasing contracts, up from 31,923 in 2010.

In its business services, LeasePlan partners Euro Insurances, which is part of LeasePlan group, as well as insurance companies Omniasig VIG, Allianz, Generali, BCR Asigurari and Uniqa.

According to ASLO, the top member company by market share and fleets is ALD Automotive, with an 18 percent market share and 6,705 vehicles.

LeasePlan Romania has a 17 percent market share and 6,267 vehicles; Porsche Mobility, 16 percent and 5,888; Arval Service Lease Romania, 12 percent and 4,362; and FMS has a market share of 6 percent and 2,412 vehicles. ASLO president Bogdan Apahidean last year predicted a 15 percent growth in the field in 2012, which would take it to 43,000 vehicles.

This year, Apahidean estimates that the company could net a turnover of EUR 40 million, compared with the almost EUR 31 million achieved in 2011.

With plans for expansion, 57 employees and 6,400 managed cars in the company?s fleet portfolio, LeasePlan expects to have a market share of 17.5 percent this year, a slight increase on 2011.

Vos Logistics and Fencs start hiring in Cluj

The two Dutch companies that announced investments at Cluj have started recruiting. Vos Logistics is expected to hire 150 workers, and Fencs Industries 100, according to officials from the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. VOS Logistics will open its first work station in Romania close to the Transylvania highway, while Fencs Industries, which produces equipment for the food industry, will open a plant at Apahida. Fencs Industries is expected to invest EUR 2 million in the factory, which should be operational within the next three years. The company will establish two production lines for processing vegetables.

Spring is coming for Eureko

?The total insurance market, combined non-life and life, fell about 4.5 percent in terms of revenue. Eureko Asigurari posted a combined increase of 1.6-1.7 percent last year. We have a market share of 23-24 percent in health insurance and if we were to draw a line I would say spring is coming, we can see a positive trend,? Frans van der Ent, CEO and board member of Eureko Asigurari and chairman of the board at Eureko Pensii, told The Diplomat ? Bucharest.

According to him, the company?s life insurance business on the local market last year declined 0.9 percent, while the market rose about 4 percent, but this was mainly due to the hike in the health component of life insurance and growth in distribution via banks. ?Personally, I am glad when I see this number for Eureko as in 2010 business declined 8 percent. We continued to advance on the health market, rising 5 percent in 2011, while the market?s growth was double digit. The market keeps on growing as major clients have entered,? said Van der Ent.

The Eureko official says that pension contributions are growing and will very likely continue to do so. ?I am glad that pension contributions are so far increasing to 3.5 percent in 2012, and I think they will reach the 6 percent which was set as a target by law. This is good as it inspires trust. I hope the voluntary pension market (third pillar) will resume, as currently it is treading water as employers are being very prudent in adding benefits and, in the end, health is closer than retirement,? said Van der Ent.

On the topic of health, the Eureko official expects a double-digit growth for this EUR 10 million market.

?What is most important here is gradual health reform. The first step must be to change the tax regime to make it look more like the pension tax regime. The real issues of the health system are primary care, prevention, hospital efficiency, remuneration, the availability of the right drugs in Romania and funding,? said Van der Ent.

?In Romania we spend some 4 percent of GDP on health, while in the Netherlands it?s about 12 percent of GDP, with a significant difference in the value of the GDP. In terms of the European market, Romania is in a reasonably good position, as it has the possibility to grow, but it will be a decades-long process.? Eureko reduced last year?s losses by more than 50 percent compared to the previous year?s results.

?I expect economic trust, transparency and the need for protection to increase in Romania on the long run. The penetration of e-commerce and payment methods will also increase. And I expect bank insurance to grow. With 40 insurance companies in the market, further consolidation might be on the horizon as well,? predicted the Eureko official.

Spar resumes retailing in Romania

Retail D I 2011, which opened Dutch franchise Spar on the local market in March, has two new stores in Brasov, taking it to a total of 10 units under the brand on the local market ? eight in Brasov and two in Sfantu Gheorghe.

This is the Dutch retailer?s second attempt to conquer the Romanian market after the first ended in insolvency. However, the company?s projects will continue with rebranding its other stores ? 11 units are now functioning as Aprozar and Gostat in Brasov ? as Spar. Spar stores on the local market have surfaces of between 100 and 1,400 square feet and are named differently depending on their size.

Supermarkets are called Spar, while convenience stores are branded Spar Express. Soon another name for shops larger than 1,000 square feet will be added to the existing network.

Dutch delivery company TNT bought by American giant UPS

Dutch delivery group TNT Express has been acquired by and merged with the American express parcel giant UPS (United Parcel Service), in a transaction estimated at EUR 5.2 billion, representing EUR 9.50 a share, representatives of the two companies announced.

According to data on the market, UPS offered EUR 9 a share for the Dutch firm over a month ago, an offer which was rejected for being too low. Nevertheless, the two firms remained in talks and have now agreed to create a merged group with annual turnover of EUR 45 billion.

The offer is supported by TNT Express?s management and supervisory boards. PostNL, which owns 29.8 percent of the company, has said it will tender its shares, according to Dutch national news media.

UPS now plans to consolidate its expansion in Europe, especially on markets such as the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. In Romania, UPS recently announced a 15 percent increase in exports compared with the same period of 2010 at the end of the third quarter.

Constructor Remco Romania goes into Africa

Representatives of the Romanian branch of the Dutch group of companies Remco told The Diplomat ? Bucharest that the company?s general manager is currently in Africa.

The business trip comes following the recently announced contract the company won on the continent, where Remco is consolidating its businesses with ongoing construction projects to be developed in countries such as Gabon, Nigeria and Cameroon, totaling EUR 6 million and an estimated area of 30,000 sqm so far.

In 2011, the firm was awaiting construction permits for its sixth project in Africa, to build a 9,500-sqm warehouse in Nigeria. Remco Romania won its first contract in the continent in 2010, involving two projects in Gabon, while this year another three schemes have been delivered in the same country.

Currently, the company is about to sign deals to build a warehouse in Nigeria and a food processing plant in Cameroon.

?We are not targeting local controversial auctions in Romania; instead we are looking for interesting projects abroad. Besides Africa, we are in advanced negotiations for a 46,000-sqm project in Russia,? said Jan FJ van Vulpen, Remco Ruimtebouw Holland and Remco Romania GM.

Remco Romania, a subsidiary of Dutch company Remco Ruimtebouw, has amassed 100 projects involving over 500,000 sqm, building for companies active in the transportation, warehousing, distribution, trade, services and sport sectors, according to the firm. In 2010, the Dutch group had a turnover of EUR 30 million from its businesses in Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Bulgaria.

New shareholder for battery business

Rombat, the largest Romanian manufacturer of car batteries, has a new major shareholder: Dutch company Metair International Holdings Cooperatief, part of South African group Metair Investment Limited. Negotiations lasted over a year and reached completion in March, when the contracts were signed. At present, Metair controls 99.16 percent of Rombat. Under the agreement between the parties, the transaction details are being kept confidential.

?We are pleased that our new owner is Metair. This group is a strategic investor for us and is present in the same industrial sector ? car parts. We believe that the new shareholder will support the further development of Rombat. We are pleased that Metair representatives appreciated our company?s performance, as they also negotiated with other companies in this area. In recent years we have had good results,? said Ioan Repede, general manager of Rombat. Annually, the firm can recycle 43,000 tons of batteries from both home and abroad.

?I think the battery recycling segment has primarily been influenced by competition on the waste battery market, which contributed to higher commodity prices,? said the manager of the company, which in 2010 registered a turnover of over RON 280 million, up from the previous period, while shipments exceeded 2.1 million car batteries. According to Repede, the number of batteries recycled has grown steadily in recent years.

?From our data we can say that over 90 percent of the batteries in Romania are recycled, similar to other countries in this region,? commented the Rombat boss, adding that in recent years the company has invested significant sums in Rebat?s recycling facility in Copsa Mica, Sibiu County, putting into operation a modern oven plant and a new crushing and sorting installation of waste batteries.

The investment in Rombat started in 2003 and has now reached close to RON 48 million, of which almost two thirds went into advanced equipment for recycling. Rombat has 665 employees and its market share at the end of the last year was 53.8 percent. Metair?s main customers are Daimler Chrysler, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and MAN. Last year the group recorded revenues of EUR 429.4 million, up 14.4 percent on 2010. By acquiring the majority package of Rombat, Metair is entering on the European producers market.

HR market undergoes revolution

?The only problem we have encountered lately has been the growing number of candidates. Their profile has not changed, but the way they relate to the market has. In 2008 I placed an ad to fill a sales manager vacancy and I had 10-20 candidates; it was a salary war. Now, for a similar post we have between 200 and 1,000 candidates,? Cristina Savuica, managing partner for Romania and Czech Republic at Lugera Makler, told The Diplomat ? Bucharest, adding that currently the most sought after jobs are in sales, manufacturing and IT.

According to Savuica, while in 2008 she couldn?t find candidates and had many projects, 2009 was the opposite. In 2010 many companies stopped recruiting, but in 2011 they got back on track again. To successfully get through the tough times of 2009-2010 Lugera Makler diversified its services. It moved into brokerage (Citibank), inventory ? as company officials believe there are many retailers who need inventory ? and the travel business, having opened a department a few months ago. In 2011 the company invested about EUR 100,000 in the travel segment (for employees) and software for inventories.

Recruitment represents 10 percent of turnover, brokerage 5 percent and personnel leasing the rest.

?This segment has evolved a lot lately because customers can no longer afford to hire for an indefinite period. The recruitment market is currently on an upward trend, and more companies are looking for talented people. The beginning of the year brought many auctions, as companies use recruitment,? added Savuica.

Lugera Makler has over 8,000 employees at other companies and 152 of its own. The company had a turnover of EUR 34.8 million and a profit of EUR 800,000 in 2010. ?I think the market will settle. We must find a formula for balance. In 2012 both wages and the need for job security changed. In 2008 if a person was dismissed, the next day they could find 10 new solutions. In 2012 there is a need for job security,? said Savuica.

New investment flowers at Golden Tulip

?The latest news at Golden Tulip is that this month we will finish building a conference room with a capacity of up to 50 seats in which we have invested EUR 50,000-60,000,? Larisa Budaca, general manager at Golden Tulip, told The Diplomat ? Bucharest in December. According to the manager, the hotel had always suffered because it didn?t have a conference room, despite being a business hotel. Before the opening of the new room, the property had a room with only 14 seats, but that did not meet requirements. The GM added that companies prefer to sign contracts with hotels offering all the facilities they need.

?Efforts are being made and we all know of new projects to increase the number of tourists in Bucharest, but these projects have not yet contributed consistently enough to change the balance, and the business segment clearly remains the predominant one in our hotel,? added the GM of the hotel, whose leisure-business split is 30-70.

Big increases brewing at Philips?s automatic coffee machine plant

Dutch company Philips has had an automatic coffee machine plant in Hunedoara city in Orastie for three years. The factory was bought from Italian company Saeco, which came to Romania in 2003, and invested EUR 7 million in the plant. Initially the site had 200 employees and an annual production capacity of 300,000 devices. Currently the number of employees is around 500 people, but Philips representatives did not provide data on the new production capacity. Since taking over the factory in 2009, Philips has made no announcement about the Orastie unit, or the acquisition or the coffee machine factory?s work.

However, information on the Ministry of Finance website indicates that plant turnover reached RON 194.5 million in 2010, over double the figure in 2009, the last year the company was controlled by Saeco.

Sogeco Romania, the company through which Philips reports to the Ministry of Finance, said that the factory in Orastie reported a profit of RON 20 million in 2010, compared to a loss of RON 18.6 million the previous year. The Orastie factory is counted as a separate entity from Philips Romania, which includes the Dutch giant?s activities in Romania in the sale of lighting products, health products and services (cardiac care products for acute care) lifestyle and consumer products (electronics and appliances).

KLG Europe Logistics Romania to invest in 10,000-sqm storage space this

year

Logistics will continue to enjoy growth potential this year, due to companies? tendency to outsource these services, according to the manager of one of the leading firms in the logistics segment.

?Companies will transform fixed costs into variable costs, in order to optimize the logistics process by reducing stocks and increasing the volume of direct deliveries,? said Dragos Geletu, GM of KLG Europe Logistics Romania. According to the manager, the main challenges will be for services suppliers operating in transport and logistics, especially regarding cash flow, notably collecting debts within the context of increasing fuel and utilities costs. ?The financial stability of a company will be a major advantage and it will make the difference in many situations,? said Geletu.

Regarding the company?s strategy for this year, KLG Romania plans to build a new deposit in Bucharest, of more than 10,000 sqm, but overall investments are similar to previous years. Still, in 2011, when it expected a turnover of EUR 18 million, KLG managed to exceed its initial plans to reach a EUR 20 million turnover, compared with EUR 15.5 million attained in 2010.

?Back in 2007 when we entered the local market, we planned a turnover of EUR 2 million, but we ended the year with EUR 7.5 million,? noted Geletu.

In 2008 and 2009, years when the market in Romania had started to slow, the company almost doubled its turnover. In 2010, KLG invested over EUR 20 million in the ProLogis Park. In 2012, the firm plans to post turnover growth of 20 percent.

Heineken Romania: positive performance in turnover test in 2011

Part of the Dutch Heineken Group, Heineken Romania posted positive results in 2011.

According to the company?s statement, net turnover went up 11.5 percent in 2011, compared with 2010, amounting to RON 1.042 million, while the brewer?s sold volume went up 7.5 percent year-on-year.

Andrew Quayle, CFO of Heineken in Romania, said, ?Heineken has a globally consistent, long-term business strategy that is also embraced by Romania and which enabled us to achieve increased results in 2011, compared to 2010. Our performance in 2011 comes as a result of a healthy mix of effective marketing programs, strong brand activation, continuous investment in innovation, working closely with our customers and, in particular, our distribution partners.?

Of the brewer?s brand portfolio, Bucegi posted the strongest performance, exceeding 2 million hl in sales volume in 2011. Ciuc Premium also surpassed its 2010 figures, with a two-digit growth in volume sold.

The local branch of the beer producer has diversified its portfolio by starting to directly import and sell seven beer brands: Desperados, Amstel, Birra Moretti, Krusovice, Foster?s, Strongbow and Sol.

Heineken. In 2011, an ingredient in reaching this goal was the successful introduction of a new non-alcoholic beer for the mainstream segment, namely Golden Brau Non-Alcoholic.

Amsterdam-based Heineken would have market shares of 44 percent in Romania, 46 percent in Hungary and 51 percent in Bulgaria in a StarBev linkup, while Denmark?s Carlsberg would have 46 percent in Bulgaria, 76 percent in Serbia and 47 percent in Croatia, analysts have calculated. #9632;

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BorgWarner Supplies First Two-Speed Active All-Wheel Drive Transfer Case for …

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —
BorgWarner will supply Torque-On-Demand® (TOD®) two-speed transfer cases for the 2012 Ford F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum models. The first two-speed active all-wheel drive system for F-150 trucks will feature 4-high, 4-low, full-time and automatic all-wheel drive modes. Built with the same high reliability as its previous part-time shift-on-the-fly transfer cases, BorgWarner’s TOD active all-wheel drive technology delivers improved traction, stability and dynamics. Since 2006, BorgWarner has also produced single-speed TOD transfer cases for the F-150 Harley-Davidson edition.

“BorgWarner’s TOD technology automatically redistributes torque from the rear wheels to the front wheels without driver intervention,” said Joe Fadool, President and General Manager, BorgWarner TorqTransfer Systems. “BorgWarner is pleased to continue our long partnership with Ford, providing F-150 drivers with seamless traction control whether driving off-road or on-highway, in normal or difficult weather conditions.”

The vehicle’s control systems monitor signals such as steering wheel angle, accelerator pedal position and wheel speeds, commanding the TOD transfer case to deliver the required amount of torque to the front and rear axles. With both high and low range capability, drivers will appreciate automatic all-wheel drive benefits in a broad range of driving situations, from normal driving to off-roading to towing. By predicting slip and providing pre-emptive torque, TOD technology improves traction, increases stability and enhances vehicle dynamics.

BorgWarner also supplies a number of other technologies for the Ford F-150, including timing drives for all models, variable cam timing phasers for the 5.0-liter Coyote and 6.2-liter Boss engines, HY-VO® chain for models with TOD and part-time transfer cases, friction plates for the six-speed automatic transmission, and turbochargers for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine.

About BorgWarner

Auburn Hills, Michigan-based BorgWarner Inc.

/quotes/zigman/131196/quotes/nls/bwa BWA
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is a technology leader in highly engineered components and systems for powertrain applications worldwide. Operating manufacturing and technical facilities in 59 locations in 19 countries, the company develops products to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and enhance performance. Customers include VW/Audi, Ford, Toyota, Renault/Nissan, General Motors, Hyundai/, Daimler, Chrysler, Fiat, BMW, Honda, John Deere, PSA, and MAN. For more information, please visit
www.borgwarner.com .

SOURCE BorgWarner Inc.

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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BWA

BorgWarner Inc.

US

: NYSE Euronx


$
82.67

+0.87
+1.06%

Volume: 701,735
April 16, 2012 3:24p

P/E Ratio18.76
Dividend YieldN/A

Market Cap$8.95 billion
Rev. per Employee$369,668

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ARI wins international award

An award that recognises a sustained commitment to professional employee development has been won by ARI (Automotive Resources International), the parent company Fleet Support Group (FSG).

ARI, a US-headquartered and leading global fleet services provider that acquired FSG late last year, has received the Dale Carnegie Training Leadership Award.

The award is given to companies dedicated to a philosophy where people are as important to the overall business success as any technology, patent or strategy.

Award criteria include recognition as an industry leader or benchmark entity, having a strategic plan that includes driving performance via professional development and sustaining that commitment.

Culturally, both FSG and ARI have a huge commitment to employee development and customer service.

To further boost customer service and staff development at FSG, the Chippenham-based company is adopting ARIs world class quality assurance programme – Partners in Excellence.

It is designed to both unlock employee potential and embraces a 50-point customer performance matrix to ensure top class service levels are delivered to customers.

ARI president Carl Ortell said: Its the collective work of each and every one of our employees that makes us a successful company and family.

This award is especially meaningful to us because of our lasting commitment to helping employees grow. We truly believe that investing in people is critical to business success. Thats evident in the sheer number of employees that weve been able to nurture over long and successful careers working at ARI.

We already know that FSG has an extremely loyal workforce. The company celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and many staff have been with the business for more than a decade with some having a record stretching back 15-20 years or more.

Our strategic plan is to provide all FSG as well as ARI employees with additional opportunities for career growth with each person having an employee development plan.

FSG Chairman and founder Geoffrey Bray added: FSG has always invested as much as possible in its employees, technology and processes. However, acquisition by ARI opens the door to 20 times the resources previously available and that includes unlocking further potential among our employees that will enable the business to further expand.

Peter Handal, President and CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, said: We are proud to present this years Dale Carnegie Leadership Award to ARI. ARIs commitment to human resources is evident from the top down. Through the creation of its Leadership Excellence program, ARI continually identifies new ways to professionally develop and grow its employees.

The Dale Carnegie Leadership Award was created in 1985. It is granted to a company that places special emphasis on the development of its human resources, innovation and organisational creativity for the purposes of business future.

The award has been presented to approximately 300 organisations worldwide. Past recipients have included The Ford Motor Company, Coca Cola, Adidas, Boeing, Four Seasons Hotels, Daimler-Chrysler and SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

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