10 best workplaces in India

August 21, 2008

1. RMSI

You may hardly have heard about RMSI, but — according to the survey — it is the best company to work for in India. In the survey conducted by the ‘Great Place to Work Institute’ RMSI tops the charts on credibility, respect, pride and camaraderie. Based in Noida, India, RMSI provides critical geographic information systems (GIS), modeling and analytical services to customers worldwide. It develops innovative solutions that integrate geographic information with niche business applications. Known to be highly ethical and transparent, the company is employee-centric. It offers equal employment opportunity, regardless of gender, age, race, physical disability, sexual orientation, or marital status, communicating openly and honestly, respects the individuality of all employees and does not tolerate harassment of any kind. RMSI has also been voted as one of the great workplaces by Dataquest IDC India’s Top 20 Best Indian IT Employers survey.

2.Marriott Hotels India

Marriott India’s human resource practice has won it the 2nd best workplace award. Marriott India is the only hotel chain in India’s top 50 Workplaces. Marriott India has won this recognition for the 3rd consecutive year. The current Marriott portfolio in India is represented by six hotels: the JW Marriott Mumbai, the Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Center, Lakeside Chalet-Marriott Executive Apartments (Mumbai), the Goa Marriott Resort, the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel, and the Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai. Marriot believes that ‘if you look after your associates (staff) well, they will look after the guests.’

3.Google India

Google India is ranked as the third best place to work in India. A lot has been said about the work environment at Google. A cool and happening place to work for, Google offers an environment which is diverse, inclusive and collaborative. It provides a flexible working environment with perks that are designed to make life easier and more convenient for employees to manage their life-work balance. Employees benefit from on-site services like car wash, onsite doctors, and dry-cleaning, while other perks like massages just help you relax and feel good. Google also offers free food to employees. One of the things that Google does to encourage innovation and provide an inclusive working environment is to actively encourage the ’20 per cent project’. All Google engineers get to spend 20 per cent of their time to pursue projects they are interested in. Google has been voted one of the best companies to work for by various publications, including the Fortune Magazine‘s Best Places to Work list.

4. Agilent Technologies

Agilent, the fourth best workplace in India, strives to become better and better with policies and practices that support work-life success. It provides various offers like electronic job posting, harassment-free work environment, domestic partner benefits, non-discrimination policy, employee network group guidelines, open door policy, education assistance program, employee and family assistance program (EFAP). Employees benefit from a share in the company’s success, competitive pay practices, flexible work hours, creative, energetic and innovative work environment. The company operates two primary businesses — electronic and bio-analytical measurement — supported by Agilent Laboratories. Agilent offers innovative measurement solutions that enable customers deliver the products and services that make a measurable difference in the lives of people everywhere. For instance, Agilent helps test more than half of the world’s 1.13 billion cell phones. Agilent spun off from Hewlett-Packard Company in 1999 as part of a corporate realignment that created two separate companies.

5. Classic Stripes Pvt Ltd

Classic Stripes Pvt Ltd ranks fifth in the list of India’s best workplaces. The company believes its core competence is its people. At CSPL, there is scope for professional as well as personal growth. There is freedom to explore and learn, with opportunities for many new initiatives. The company believes in letting employees’ dreams drive the company’s excellence. The company was ranked 19th in Great Place to Work in 2004 and was ranked 16th in Great Place to Work in 2005, a survey done by Business World. With a clear sense of direction and focus, the company always looks for talented, individuals who are ambitious, who love challenges and have a passion to excel. Established in 1987, the company is in the business of producing decals which are used in the 2-wheeler and 4-wheeler industry. The company has a production capacity to produce 10 million motorbike decals sets per annum and is the largest manufacturer of 2-wheeler graphic worldwide. Classic Stripes is a complete solution provider for all automotive screen printed graphics.

6.American Express India

American Express is the 6th best place to work in India. The bank operates in over 130 countries around the globe allows options like rating the boss! Employees get an opportunity to rate their bosses anonymously. A company that prides on its employees’ strengths and capabilities, allows them freedom and a great work environment. Quality, integrity, teamwork and respect for people are the focus areas at American Express. The company encourages people to contribute towards development and rewards their performance. It is a diversified travel and financial services company. It was established in 1850 in New York.

7. Cadbury India Ltd

Cadbury India has been ranked as the 7th Great Place to Work and the No. 1 FMCG company in India in 2008, by the Great Place to Work Institute. This is the fourth time Cadbury has been featured amongst the Great Places to Work in India. It was ranked 10th in 2003, and was among the top 25 in 2004 and 2005. Cadbury began its operations in 1948 by importing chocolates and then re-packing them before distribution in the Indian market. After 59 years of existence, it has five company-owned manufacturing facilities at Thane, Induri (Pune) and Malanpur (Gwalior), Bangalore and Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) and four sales offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The corporate office is in Mumbai. A part of the Cadbury Schweppes Group, the world’s leader in confectionery, the company believes in spreading happiness!

8.NTPC

The 8th best company to work for in India is NTPC. The only public sector unit in the top ten list of best workplaces across all industries in India, the country’s leading power company has also been ranked No.1 in ‘Best Workplaces for Large Organizations’ in the country. NTPC, a premier public sector enterprise of Navratna status, was established in 1975. It is the largest power utility with an installed capacity of 28,644 MW through 26 power stations including 4 stations operated under joint venture companies. NTPC has emerged as an integrated power major with presence in hydro power, coal mining, oil & gas exploration, power distribution & trading. With its excellent practice in human capital management, NTPC is among the most admired organizations in the public sector. The company prides itself on its dynamic and dedicated workforce.

9.Godrej Consumer Products

Godrej Consumer Products is ranked the 9th best company to work for in India. Creating and maintaining an energetic and innovative work culture is at the heart of its corporate strategy, says the company. It describes its work culture as a combination of fun, sharing, collaboration and connection. The company believes in the philosophy of holistic employee care, taking care of not just the employees but also their families. The company also believes listening to employees and inspiring them to do better. It offers a good compensation package and other benefits. Various internal surveys are conducted to discover issues that need to be addressed. The company’s work/life balancing programmes provide employees with resources that help them balance responsibilities. Godrej Consumer Products is a major player in the Indian FMCG market with products in personal, hair, household and fabric care segments. The company employs 950 people and has manufacturing facilities at Malanpur (Gwalior), Guwahati (Assam) and Baddi (Himachal Pradesh).

10.Hilti India

A company that stresses on professional as well as personal development of employees, Hilti India is ranked the 10th best company to work for in India. The company deals in construction equipment and supplies solutions for measuring, fastening, demolition and construction chemicals worldwide. The company focuses on professionalism, contentment, continuous development as success factors to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. The company believes that customer satisfaction is strongly interlinked with a highly motivated workforce. The Hilti Group is a world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing added-value, top-quality products for the construction industry and building maintenance. Its product range covers drilling and demolition, direct fastening, diamond and anchoring systems, firestop and foam systems, installation, positioning and screw fastening systems as well as cutting and sanding systems. Hilti India is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Liechtenstein based Hilti Corporation.


World’s best Metro Rail Systems

August 21, 2008

Here are the world’s most popular international underground transit systems. . .

1. New York

The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority. The NYCTA is a subsidiary of Metropolitan Transportation Authority. From 28 stations, when it was founded in October, 1904, it has grown to 462 stations. The subway carries 4.9 million people daily. It is one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world, with 369 km of rail route. The subway is also among the few rapid transit systems in the world to run 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

2. London

The London Underground, usually referred to as the Tube, is Europe’s largest metro subway system and also the world’s oldest. Inaugurated in 1863, today it has 268 stations and covers 405 km of rail tracks. It transports over 976 million people yearly. The Underground serves a large part of Greater London and neighboring areas of Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in England.

3. Paris

The Paris subway system is the second oldest in the world and transports roughly 1.5 million people daily at modest fares. The subway system runs over 214 km and stops at 380 stations. The network is so extensive that almost every building in Paris is within 500 meters of a subway station. Many of these stations are famous for their architecture, representing the Art Nouveau style.

4. Moscow

The Moscow subway system caters to 3.2 billion riders travelling annually on 12 subway lines to 172 stations. The Moscow Metro covers approximately 290 km. On an average weekday, the subway itself carries about 8.2 million passengers. Each subway line is identified by an alphanumeric index (usually consisting of just a number), a name, and a color. The voice announcement systems refer to lines by name, while in colloquial usage they are mostly referred to by color. While most of the Moscow trains run underground, some lines cross bridges overlooking the Moskva and the Yauza Rivers.

5. Montreal

The Montreal Metro is a rubber-tired metro system, and the main form of public transportation in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Inaugurated in 1966, it is not too extensive — about 60 km, reaching 68 stations on four lines — but is a very modern system that was inspired by the Paris Metro. It caters to 835,000 people daily. The Metro is operated by the Societe de Transport de Montreal

6. Madrid

The Madrid Metro is the second largest underground system in Europe and the sixth largest in the world. The first line of the Madrid metro opened on October 17, 1919, under the direction of the Compania de Metro Alfonso XIII, with 8 stations and a 3.5-km track. This metro network now has 231 stations on 12 lines. It has 227 km of track and an additional 44 km of track is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The Madrid Metro is one of the densest metro networks in the world.

7. Tokyo

Tokyo Metro is one of two metro systems making up the Tokyo subway system, the other being Toei. In addition to underground subways, the Tokyo transit system consists of the Toden Arakawa light rail line and the Ueno Zoo Monorail. The Tokyo subway system carries approximately 2.8 billion people per year to 282 subway stations. Efforts are made to make the system accessible to non-Japanese speaking users. Many train stops are announced in both English and Japanese. Announcements also provide connecting line information. Ticketing machines can switch between English and Japanese user interfaces. Many stations’ railings often have Braille at their base meant for visually challenged commuters.

8. Seoul

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is one of the most heavily used subway systems in the world with more than 8 million daily trips. Seoul Metro is a public corporation which runs the Seoul Subway. During 1970-2006, it was called Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corporation. It is also one of the longest subway systems worldwide, running 287 km in length. The trains mostly run underground, but 30 per cent of the system is above ground.

9. Beijing

The Beijing Subway opened in 1969 and serves Beijing and the surrounding suburbs. Just before the 2008 Beijing Olympic games began, it was further developed at a cost $7.69 billion. The expansion project has taken the length of the subway station to about 480 km. With almost a dozen lines and 123 stations currently in operation and average passenger strength of 3.4 million per day, the Beijing Subway is the busiest in mainland China.

10. Hong Kong

The Hong Kong subway, also known as the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, was set up in 1979. Despite its relatively small size (90 km), compared to other metro systems across the globe, the MTR transports an average of 2.46 million rides per day. The Hong Kong system is based on a British design. Recently, approval was granted for the merger of the MTR and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, to make the system more cost-effective and efficient.

11. Sao Paolo

The Sao Paulo Metro is the first underground transit system in Brazil and it began operations in 1974. It works alongside a larger company called the Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) and together they cover about 300 km of track and transport approximately 3.7 million people daily. Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of 19 million. Its metro system consists of four color-coded lines: Line 1-Blue, Line 2-Green, Line 3-Red and Line 5-Lilac. Line 4-Yellow is currently under construction and is due to start operating in late 2009. The metro system carries 3.2 million passengers a day.


7 great cars to own!

August 18, 2008

BMW GINA Light Visionary Concept

The Concept: BMW’s latest concept car shatters all the tried and true conventions about automobile design. For Head of BMW Group Design, Christopher E. Bangle, it’s all about “breaking paradigms.” A year in the making, the GINA Light Visionary Concept abandons the usual concepts of side panels, roof, front aprons, and doors in favor of a clean, seamless form with four main components. Contrary to rumor, the car is not named after some hot, mystery woman, instead the name actually stands for Geometry and Functions in “N” Adoptions, which speaks to BMW’s new design philosophy focusing on maximum freedom and creativity. The two-seater roadster is created from an expansion resistant fabric spread across a metal structure, giving it that smooth, sculpted look.

Coolest Feature: Skin is definitely in on the GINA. The flexible material allows the concept to move in ways that were previously only conceived of through movie magic. Together with its metal frame, this car is able to adapt to all situations through its ability to change shape. When moving at high speeds, the GINA automatically creates a rear spoiler by raising a built in component on the frame. The ultra flexible skin lets the spoiler form with nary a wrinkle, and the car’s headlights remain hidden beneath the flexible skin. After being activated by the driver, the skin cover opens revealing the headlights and thereby creates the illusion of a car opening its eyes. All of these transformations are controlled by a combination of electronics and hydraulics. As for the skin’s makeup, it’s a hybrid composed of mesh-netting support. It’s resistant to low and high temperatures as well as water-resistant.

Expected Pricing: It’s a pretty safe bet that GINA’s current model won’t make it to the production line. Bangle says, “The GINA Light Visionary model just shows ONE possible answer to the whole approach of materials.” Expect to find GINA-like features in future BMW models.

Suzuki Kizashi 3 Concept

The Concept: Debuted at the 2008 New York Auto Show, the Kizashi 3 concept is the final iteration in the Kizashi series. Aptly named — Kizashi, in Japanese, means prelude or preview — the series offers a bold look into Suzuki’s design future. Sporting strong and elegant lines, these cars are meant to represent the toned physique of an athlete in motion. A definite head turner, the production-ready Kizashi 3 combines the stunning looks of its predecessors, bringing the concept one step closer to production. Described by Jeff Holland, the company’s public relations manager, as “a near luxury sports sedan,” the final version of the Kizashi 3 will feature a 300 horsepower, 3.6 liter engine with “a possible hybrid or high tech variant of the power train model.” Suzuki is currently in the process of developing pre-production models and working to push the car into production.

Coolest Feature: While the Kizashi 3 definitely possesses outer beauty, its real story lies under its hood. Powered by a 3.6-liter Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) V-6 engine with plated cylinders and a six-speed automatic transmission, the Kizashi 3 packs a punch. Taking a cue from its motorcycle heritage, this vehicle is all about speed and performance. With its impressive 300 horsepower, coupled with Suzuki’s all-wheel-drive system, the Kizashi 3 is ready for the starting gate in 2010.

Demographic: With its three iterations, the Kizashi is set to appeal to a wide audience. There’s the crossover and wagon for families, and a sedan that could appeal to driving enthusiasts and a younger demographic.

Expected Pricing: Suzuki has been known for producing affordable vehicles and the Kizashi will be no different. “We like to say it’s like an Audi for half the price,” Holland quips. “It’s a Suzuki; it’s got to be affordable. It’s very important to the brand.”

Smart Fortwo

The Concept: While many Americans think that bigger is better, the Smart Fortwo’s design challenges that notion. Birthed from a partnership between Swatch and Mercedes Benz, the Smart car is a fusion of utility, customization, and art. Its name alone defines its purpose — Smart actually stands for Swatch Mercedes Art. Measuring 8.8 ft. long and 5.1 ft. across, the Smart car was built for city driving. “The real focus of the design and the size of the car is to answer the problem of urban congestion and city driving,” says Communications Director, Ken Kettenbeil, “The Smart’s size and maneuverability gives it an advantage when navigating sticky driving situations.” The dilemma of finding parking is also a thing of the past since two Smart cars easily fit in the average parking space. Its size also plays a part when it comes to fuel economy. While hybrid cars tend to have slightly better gas mileage, the gas powered engine Smart car is the highest rated gas engine with 33 city and 41 highway miles.

Coolest Feature: This has to be the Smart Fortwo’s customization capabilities. Swatch inventor Nicolas Hayek, wanted to bring the same color, fun, and changeability found in his timepieces to a car. With that in mind, all of the exterior colored panels on the Smart car are changeable. Panels come in six colors and are relatively inexpensive, selling for approximately $1000. The interior also features a variety of colors. Another cool feature can be found in the transmission. It’s an automated manual, which means you can switch between automatic and manual.

Demographic: The Smart Fortwo has universal appeal. With its low price tag, the Smart car’s destined to appeal to first-time buyers like college students and recent grads. Its unique look will likely attract trendsetters who are always on the search for the next cool thing.

Expected Pricing: $11,600

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept

The Concept: As electric cars continue to gain popularity in the States, Chrysler aims to stay ahead of the pack with its ecoVoyager concept car. Designed for a trip that’s on par with a private jet, the car reaches a top speed of 150 mph, going from 0 to 60 in 8.8 seconds, and with a driving range of 300 mpg. Principal Exterior Designer, Greg Howell, combines luxury and innovative design in an attempt to look ten years into the future. The ecoVoyager’s one box design scheme is simplistic yet bold. Sporting a panoramic glass roof and doors that open at a generous 90 degrees, the ecoVoyager is a testament to the beauty and elegance synonymous with the Chrysler brand. In an attempt to bring more Chrysler cues to the car, the windows, front grille, tail lamps, and headlamps are modeled after the trademark Chrysler logo. The interior of the car is just as impressive as its exterior, featuring four individual chairs capable of heat and massage, and the Direct Sound function, which allows all users to hear the music of their choice sans headphones, without disturbing other passengers.

Coolest Feature: Besides its polar ice paint job, the coolest feature on the ecoVoyager is its electric motor. Capable of developing 200 kilowatts or 268 horsepower, the ecoVoyager can go from 0 to 60 in less than 8 seconds. The ecoVoyager also has a range extender in the form of an advanced hydrogen fuel cell that increases the car’s range to more than 300 miles. The braking system also captures energy that would be lost, returning it to the battery. Together with its low emissions (water vapor), this makes the vehicle a boon for design conscious environmentalists.

Demographic: As a luxury vehicle, the ecoVoyager might be out of range for the average car buyer. Described by design director Lance Wagner as a “mature vehicle,” expect to see young at heart baby-boomers and the financially well off behind the wheel of this stunner.

Expected Pricing: Undetermined

Dodge ZEO Concept

The Concept: Dodge, also looking to step into the electric car arena, introduces the 2008 Dodge ZEO (Zero Emissions Operation) concept. Inspired by the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, the ZEO is a four-passenger sport wagon with a touch of muscle car thrown in for good measure. With a top speed of 130 mph, the ZEO goes from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds, enough to please any performance fanatic. “It breaks the stereotype of what a small, efficient electric car can be,” says Wagner. “It shows how much personality and style these kinds of cars can have.” The ZEO interior is just as innovative. Designed to give the impression of being a “single piece of sculpture,” the inside is decked out in all white. The center console extends down from the windshield, giving the impression of being in a dual cockpit.

Coolest Feature: The ZEO’s best feature hands down can be found in its overall design. The roof and windshield combine into one continuous piece of glass, offering each passenger the best view. Its aluminum plated inserts, crosshair grille, and bold wheel arches give the ZEO its wow factor, while its front and rear suicide doors add extra flair.

Demographic: The Dodge ZEO could appeal to car enthusiasts, techies, and the socially conscious alike. It satisfies the need for speed, combined with a futuristic look packed with all the necessary cool gadgets, and most important: it’s easy on the environment, so you can tear down the track with a conscience that’s crystal clear.

Expected Pricing: Undetermined

Jeep Renegade Concept

The Concept: The 2008 Jeep Renegade concept is a mean, lean, green machine. Built from recyclable materials, sustainability is a major theme in this concept car. Fitted with oversized tires, and a speedster windshield, this car is built for an off-roading, cross-country adventure. The new Jeep sports a more elongated look than its boxier forerunners. In keeping with that close-to-nature vibe, the Renegade was designed as a full time open-air vehicle, meaning it has no roof. In lieu of a roof, the back trunk can be fitted with a number of “lids.” The lids act as storage chests for all your outdoor needs including lids built for kayaking and mountain biking. There is also an “as built” option that can fit two matching water scooters and there’s also an open storage space.

Coolest Feature: This car is green all over. Its building materials are all eco friendly: the chassis is molded without the use of harmful resins, while the metallic green color is added during the molding process, which cuts out harmful paint solvents. An advanced hybrid and regen-braking system allows the Renegade to reach a fuel economy of 110 mpg, approximately four times greater than that of a gas-only car. Topped off with seats made from soy-based foam the Renegade is both innovative and socially responsible.

Demographic: Jeep’s history of being outdoorsy continues with this concept. With its outdoor sport-friendly removable lids, the Renegade will appeal to off-roading fans, mountain bikers, and anyone who likes to play hard. It’s also an obvious choice for the environmentally conscious.

Expected Pricing: Undetermined

Hummer HX Concept

The Concept: The Hummer HX redefines the look, feel, and attitude of the Hummer. In an effort to stem the tide of a slowing off-roading market, the HX’s slick new design is a welcome departure from Hummer’s usual brick-shaped silhouette. The HX takes a minimalist approach, and at 81 inches with 103-inch wheelbases, it’s a lightweight compared to its predecessors. Its two-door, open-air concept is a reflection of the adventurous vibe of its three young designers. Lead Exterior Designer, David Rojas looked to the skies for inspiration: “I looked at stealth planes like the F-117 fighter plane. It has faceted surfacing and I used it in bits and pieces in the design.” The new modernized grille design is based on a picture of an alligator coming out of the water. The HX stays true to its Hummer roots with body-on-frame construction, mounted on independent front and back suspensions, prominent air intakes, and hood vents. To make this concept an unstoppable off-roading machine, the HX is equipped with 35 inch off-road tires, a 4 wheel drive system, and the new E85 FlexFuel 3.6L SIDI V-6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Throw in a complete underbody armor kit and a power-operated winch, and the HX concept is a force to be reckoned with.

Coolest Feature: Hummer hasn’t been known for customization, but the HX should change public perception. According to Rojas, the HX can be reconfigured into three different forms. “You have the slant back, which is iconic to Hummer. You can also take the rear hatch off which enables the squareback, which offers SUV capabilities for maximum capacity. If you take the whole thing off and fold the back seats down, you have a SUT which is a small truck.” Other additions of note are the removable fender flares and the removable doors that are advantages for serious off-roaders.

Demographic: Hummer has always been a favorite among the younger market and the HX should continue in that tradition. Its scaled-back size has the ability to draw in an audience that was previously intimidated by the larger models. The HX’s biggest audience will come from the off-roading market where Hummer has traditionally made its bread and butter.

Expected Pricing: Undetermined


World’s fastest cars

August 14, 2008

This is NOT a ranking of the world’s fastest cars, but only a listing of the world’s speediest demons. Of course, the astounding speeds that they can achieve have also been given. So decide for yourself which do you think is the fastest of this lot.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4
0-60mph in 2.5 seconds
253 mph

Head of Design Hartmut Warkuss and his team were faced with a Herculean task: they were to design a car that combined its classic heritage and state-of-the-art modernism in a unique and unmatched way. A mid-engine sports car produced by Volkswagen Group’ subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS, it is powered by a 1,001 hp (746 kW) W16 engine, and is able to achieve an average top speed of 407.47 km/h (253.19 mph). The car is handcrafted in a factory Volkswagen built near the former Bugatti headquarters in Chateau St Jean in Molsheim (Alsace, France). It is named after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the ’24 hours of Le Mans’ in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti firm.

SSC Ultimate Aero
0-60mph in 2.7 seconds
257 mph

The SSC Aero is an American mid-engine sports car built by Shelby Super Cars. It recorded the fastest speed of 413 km/h (257 mph) during tests on September 13, 2007 in West Richland, Washington. Ultimate Aero has a 6.35-litre (387.2 cu in) engine, rated at 1,183 bhp (882 kW) at 6950 rpm and torque at 6120 rpm.

Gumpert Apollo
0-62mph in 3.0 seconds
224 mph

The Gumpert Apollo is the first vehicle produced by German manufacturer Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH. The project is the creation of Roland Gumpert, a former Audi employee. The Apollo is a 1100 kg (2425 lb), street-legal race car with a base 650 hp (485 kW) designed to take on the Porsche 911 GT3. It is a mid engine, rear wheel drive two seater constructed on a tubular Chromoly frame, with fiberglass or optional carbon fiber body panels.

Koenigsegg CCX
0-60mph in 3.2 seconds
250 mph

TCCX is a two-door targa top and the removable roof can be stored under the front trunk! This Swedish mid-engine roadster is made of pre-impregnated carbon fibre and Kevlar, is 4,293 mm (169.0 in) long, 1,996 mm (78.6 in) wide and 1,120 mm (44 in) tall with a ground clearance of 100 mm (3.9 in). The engine is a 4.7litre 4,712 cc (288 cu in) V8, with dual overhead camshafts and 4 valves per cylinder.

Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo
0-60mph in 3.2 seconds
248 mph

The Saleen S7 is a limited production, hand built high-performance automobile developed jointly by (Irvine, California-based) Saleen, Hidden Creek Industries, Phil Frank Design, and Ray Mallock Ltd. RML takes full credit for designing and developing the S7. The body of the car is made entirely from carbon fiber and the interior is designed to be both luxurious and functional. The Saleen S7 sports a 7-liter (7008 cc/427.6 cu in), naturally-aspirated, all-aluminum OHV V8 engine.

Lamborghini Murcielago LP640
0-60mph in 3.3 seconds
213 mph

The Lamborghini Murcielago is a high performance Italian sports car. Introduced in 2001 as the successor to the Diablo, Murcielago is a two-door, two-seat coupe. The Murcielago sports a 6.2-liter version of the Lamborghini V12 engine, a six-speed manual or six-speed sequential automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive. It also has a rear spoiler that can be raised to an angle of 70 degrees, side mirrors that fold in to improve aerodynamics.

Ferrari Enzo
0-60mph in 3.4 seconds
217 mph

The Ferrari Enzo is a 12-cylinder mid-engine berlinetta named after the company’s founder. Enzo’s V12 engine is the first of a new generation for Ferrari. The Enzo has a semi-automatic transmission (also known as the F1 gearbox) using paddles to control an automated shifting and clutch mechanism, with LED lights on the steering wheel telling the driver when to change gears.

Pagani Zonda F
0-60mph in 3.5 seconds
212 mph

The Zonda C12 F debuted at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. It is the most extensive reengineering of the Pagani car yet. The Zonda F, named after F1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio, comes with an extra head light and different fog lights at the sides, new bodywork (revised front end, new rear spoiler, more aerodynamic vents all around) that improves the cars aerodynamics and different side mirrors. Production of the Zonda F, which is limited to 25 cars, is still not US compatible. The next model (codenamed C9) is due to be unveiled in 2009.

Bristol Fighter T
0-62mph in 3.5 seconds
225 mph

The Bristol Fighter is a British sports car, manufactured by Bristol Cars in small numbers from 2004. In 2006, Bristol announced the Fighter T, a turbocharged version of the Fighter with a modified V10 engine producing 1,012 bhp (755 kW).

Ferrari’s 599 GTB Fiorano
0-62mph in 3.7 seconds
205 mph

The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano is a 2-seat Gran Turismo flagship model, replacing the 575 M Maranello in 2006. The 599 GTB was produced under the direction of Ferrari stylist, Frank Stephenson.

Porsche Carrera GT
0-60mph in 3.9 seconds
209 mph

The Porsche Carrera GT is a mid-engine sports car. The Carrera GT is powered by a 5.7 litre V10 engine producing 612 DIN (605 SAE) horsepower (450 kW). The Carrera GT has large side inlets and air dams that help cool the large V10 framed by the carbon fiber rear hood. The interior is fitted with soft leather. Bose audio system and navigation systems are available as option

Jaguar XJ220
0-60mph in 4.0 seconds
217 mph

The Jaguar XJ220 is a mid-engine sports car. The Jaguar XJ220 had its own self-titled computer game, released for the Amiga in 1992 and for the Sega Mega CD the following year. The name XJ220 was assigned as a reference to the targeted top-speed of 220 mph (350 km/h).


World’s fastest motorbikes

August 7, 2008

Dodge Tomahawk, 350 mph (560 km/h)

The Dodge Tomahawk is a Viper V-10 based motorcycle– a 500 horsepower engine with four wheels. The two front wheels and two rear wheels, make it look like a motorized quadricycle rather than a typical motorcycle. According to official specifications 0-60 mph times have been estimated at 1.75 seconds, with a top speed of 350 mph. But there are also reports that the top speed is 676 km/h (about 420 mph). Chrysler sold nine replicas through Neiman Marcus, for up to $555,000 each. The motorcycles cannot be legally driven on public roads. The unusual vehicle was launched at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Suzuki Hayabusa, 248 mph (397 km/h)

The name Hayabusa translates directly from the Japanese as Pergerine Falcon, the bird commonly attributed of achieving speeds of over 200 mph (322 km/h) and predator of the common blackbird. The name is a subtle reference to Honda’s competing Hawk models. When introduced in 1999, it overtook the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird as the fastest production motorcycle. The first generation of the Hayabusa was called the GSX1300R and was powered by a 1299 cc (79.2 cu in) inline-4 liquid-cooled engine. The bike made famous in India by the bollywood movie Dhoom will officially be launched in the country in September. Although boasting of a top speed of 397 km per hour as per recorded figures, the bike that will come to India will have a speed limit of 299 km per hour and will sport a price tag of Rs 11 lakh (1.1 million). In the US, the 2008 model will boast a price tag of $11,999.

Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird, 190mph (310km/h)

Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird was the world’s fastest production motorcycle, after ripping the title away from the legendary Kawasaki ZX-11. Production of the Blackbird began in 1996 and halted in late 2007. The Blackbird was last imported to North America in 2003.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11/ZZ-R1100, 176 mph (283km/h)

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11/ZZ-R1100 was produced from 1990-2001. It was marketed as the ZX-11 Ninja in North America and the ZZ-R1100 in the rest of the world. This bike held the crown of The World’s Fastest Production Bike for close to a decade with a record top speed of 283 km/h (176 mph). When the bike was introduced in 1990, the nearest production bike top speed was 16 km/h (10 mph) slower and it belonged to the ZX-10, the bike that Kawasaki was replacing with the ZX-11.

BMW K 1200 S, 174 mph (280 km/h)

With enough raw power to shock even the most seasoned adrenaline junky, the K 1200 S hurls you from a dead stop to sixty mph in just 2.8 seconds. On 25 September 2004, BMW globally launched a radically redesigned K Series motorcycle, the K 1200 S, containing an all new in-line four-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine featuring 123 kW (165 hp). After the launch of K 1200 S, BMW unveiled the K 1200 R naked roadster, and the K 1200 GT sport tourer.

BUB Enterprises Streamliner

Wondering what this craft that resembles a rocket doing over here? Well this weird looking vehicle held the title of ‘the world’s fastest motorbike’ in 2006. Chris Carr, 7-time AMA Grand National Champion, piloted the BUB Enterprises Streamliner to a record 350.884 MPH at the 2006 International Motorcycle Speed Trials held at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah September 7. Christened ‘Seven’ by owner Dennis Manning (it being the seventh streamliner Manning has designed in 40 odd years), the fastest motorcycle in the world features a purpose-designed and engineered V-Four cylinder turbo charged 16 valve liquid cooled double overhead cam motor.


World’s top 10 companies

July 31, 2008

The rankings are based on a combination of the sales, profits, assets and market capitalization of these companies. Check out the world’s top ten companies.

1. HSBC Holdings

“We have a clear strategy; it is focused on investing and developing our powerful emerging markets franchises. We will continue to do that,” Stephen Green, chairman, HSBC. The ‘world’s local bank’ is HSBC’s tagline. Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. It comprises of over 10,000 offices in 83 countries across Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. HSBC is listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges. Shares in HSBC Holdings plc are held by around 200,000 shareholders. HSBC offers a range of financial services: personal financial services, commercial banking, corporate, investment banking and markets and private bank. HSBC Holdings has reported sales to the tune of $146.50 billion and profits of $19.13 billion in 2007.

History: The HSBC Group is named after its founding member, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, which was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between Europe, India and China. The inspiration behind the founding of the bank was Thomas Sutherland, who was then working for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Seeing the potential of local banking facilities in Hong Kong and on the China coast and he helped to establish the bank which opened in Hong Kong in March 1865 and in Shanghai a month later.

2. General Electric

“We are going to solve tough customer and global problems and make money solving it,” Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE. Imagination at work, says the GE tagline. Innovation and research are the strongholds of GE. In 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon wearing boots made of GE’s silicone rubber. GE has four strong businesses in the financial services, infrastructure, and media markets. GE Capital offers an astonishing array of products and services aimed at enabling commercial businesses and consumers worldwide. The company prides helps build the healthcare, transportation, and technology infrastructure across the globe. General Electric’s sales stand at $172.74 billion and profits at $22.21 billion in 2007.

History of research

GE’s research started in a barn in 1900 when General Electric Company completed eight years. The barn saw company’s major breakthrough technologies. One of the earliest projects of the new lab was incandescent lighting. GE scientists have thousands of patents, and two Nobel prizes: Irving Langmuir won the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1932 and Ivar Giaever won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973.

3. Bank of America

“Bank of America helps build strong communities by creating opportunities for people – including customers, shareholders and associates – to fulfill their dreams.” Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman, CEO and president. Bank of America is the largest commercial bank in the United States in terms of deposits and second largest by market capitalization. The bank also offers talking ATMs which help customers who are visually impaired. The Bank of America sales is at $119.9 billion and profits are at 14.98 billion in 2007.

History

Before 1998, Bank of America organization was known as NationsBank. In 1998, NationsBank acquired San Francisco-based BankAmerica and renamed the corporation “Bank of America”.

4. JPMorgan Chase

“Our expectation is for the economic environment to continue to be weak in spite of the environment, we are confident that we are building an increasingly strong and profitable company.” James Dimon. JPMorgan Chase is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $1.8 trillion. With an employee strength of 1, 80,000, the company operates in more than 60 countries. It is a leading player in investment banking, financial services for consumers, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. JPMorgan Chase reported sales to the tune of $116.35 billion and profits stood at $15.37 billion in 2007. Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

History

JPMorgan Chase & Co., was founded in New York in 1799. The firm is built on the foundation of nearly 1,000 institutions that have come together over the years to form today’s company. JPMorgan Chase traces its beginnings to the Bank of The Manhattan Company, which was founded by Aaron Burr in 1799 and became one of the leading banking institutions in the nation. In the 1800s, many new banks were formed across America. JPMorgan Chase has links to many of these early institutions, including the Western Reserve Bank, one of the first banks in Ohio and a predecessor of Bank One, which merged with JPMorgan Chase in 2004.

5. ExxonMobil

Exxon Mobil Corporation is an American oil and gas corporation and a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. The company was formed on November 31, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. It is also the largest publicly held corporation by market capitalization, at $501.17 billion on April 18, 2008. Exxon’s reserves were 72 billion oil-equivalent barrels at the end of 2007 and are expected to last over 14 years. While it is the largest of the six oil giants with daily production of 4.18 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) in 2007, ExxonMobil is 14th in the world when ranked by held oil and gas reserves. Rex W. Tillerson is the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil reported sales to the tune of $358.60 billion and profits stood at $40.61 billion in 2007.

History

Exxon Mobil Corporation was formed in 1999 by the merger of two major oil companies, Exxon and Mobil. Both Exxon and Mobil were descendants of the John D. Rockefeller Corporation, Standard Oil which was established in 1870. In 1911, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Standard Oil must be dissolved and split into 34 companies. Two of these companies were Jersey Standard (Standard Oil Company of New Jersey), which eventually became Exxon, and Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York), which eventually became Mobil.

6. Royal Dutch Shell

“This is a very exciting – though daunting – time for our industry. The world is racing ahead with ever-increasing energy needs. We are under pressure to keep up. But this race does not have only one winner. This is a race all of us must win.” Linda Cook, Executive Director of Royal Dutch Shell. Royal Dutch Shell is an MNC oil company with Dutch and British origins. It is the second largest private sector energy corporation in the world, and one of the six oil super majors. The company’s headquarters are in The Hague, Netherlands, with its registered office in London (Shell Centre). Oil giant Shell has over 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) resources under construction. Shell has been exploring and producing oil and gas for more than a century. The exploration and production work is going on in nearly 40 countries and the company employs around 35,000 people. Royal Dutch Shell reported sales to the tune of $355.78 billion and profits stood at $31.33 billion in 2007.

History

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies was created in February 1907 when the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and the “Shell” Transport and Trading Company Ltd of the United Kingdom merged their operations. After the merger, 60 per cent of the new Group went to the Dutch arm and 40 per cent to the British. In 1833, the company founder’s father, Marcus Samuel, founded an import business to sell seashells to collectors in London. When collecting seashell specimens in the Caspian Sea area in 1892, Samuel realized the potential of exporting oil from the region and commissioned the world’s first purpose-built oil tanker, the Murex to foray into this market.

7. BP

BP has transformed itself from a local oil company into a global energy group employing over 96,000 people and operating in over 100 countries worldwide. BP has reported sales to the tune of $281.03 billion and profits stood at $20.60 billion in 2007. Tony Hayward is the group chief executive of BP, earlier known as British Petroleum. With headquarters in London, the company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world.

History

British Petroleum merged with Amoco (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana) in December 1998, becoming BPAmoco until 2000 when it was renamed BP and adopted the tagline ‘Beyond Petroleum’. Most Amoco gas stations in the United States have changed the look and name to the BP brand. The highest grade of BP gasoline available in the United States is still called Amoco Ultimate.

8. Toyota Motor Co

Toyota Motors is 70-years old. Headquartered in Japan, it is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers. The company was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda as a spinoff from his father’s company Toyota Industries to manufacture automobiles. Fujio Cho, is the chairman of the company. Toyota also owns and operates Lexus and Scion brands. Toyota’s management philosophy is ‘lean manufacturing’ and ‘just in time production’. Toyota continues to promote localization, based on the principle of producing vehicles in those countries or regions where demand exists. In Japan, Toyota has equipped Takaoka plant with the company’s most-advanced technologies. In R&D, Toyota is continuing to focus its efforts in the three key areas of the environment, safety and energy. Toyota has positioned hybrid technologies as core technologies that can contribute to resolving environmental issues. Toyota Motor Co reported sales to the tune of $203.80 billion and profits stood at $13.99 billion in 2007.

History

Sakichi Toyoda invented the wooden Toyoda handloom in 1890. In 1894, Kiichiro Toyoda born. In 1924, Sakichi Toyoda completed the non-stop shuttle change type Toyoda automatic loom (Type G). In 1929, Kiichiro Toyoda traveled to Europe and the United States to investigate automobiles. The British company, Platt Brothers, gained the automatic loom patent rights. In 1931, Kiichiro Toyoda started research into gasoline-powered engines.

9. ING Group

ING is a global financial services company providing banking, investments, and life insurance and retirement services. The company serves more than 75 million customers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia. Based on market capitalization (31 March 2008), ING is one of the 20 largest financial institutions worldwide. The ING Group reported sales to the tune of $197.93 billion and profits stood at $12.65 billion in 2007. The group is led by Michel Tilmant.

History

ING was founded in 1991 by a merger between Nationale-Nederlanden and NMB Postbank Group. During the past 15 years ING has become a multinational with very diverse international activities. ING’s history can be traced to the insurers De Nationale Levensverzekering Bank and De Nederlanden van in 1845. The oldest legal predecessor is the Kooger Doodenbos from Koog, Noord Holland, founded in 1743.

10. Berkshire Hathaway

“When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact. ” Warren Buffett. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is based in Omaha, US. Berkshire Hathaway manages a number of subsidiary companies. Its core business is insurance, including property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and specialty nonstandard insurance. The company averaged an annual return in excess of 21 per cent to its shareholders for the last 42 years while employing large amounts of capital and minimal debt. Warren Buffett is the company’s chairman and CEO. Earlier, he used to focus on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including candy production; retail, home furnishings, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewellery, newspaper publishing and even makes and distributes uniforms and footwear. Berkshire Hathaway reported sales to the tune of $118.25 billion and profits stood at $13.21 in 2007.

History

Berkshire Hathaway traces its roots to a textile manufacturing company established by Oliver Chace in 1839. In 1929 the Valley Falls Company merged with the Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company established in 1889. The combined company was known as Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates. In 1962, Warren Buffett began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway. After some clashes with the Stanton family, he bought up enough shares to change the management and soon controlled the company. Buffett initially maintained Berkshire’s core business of textiles, but by 1967, he forayed into the insurance industry. Berkshire first ventured into the insurance business with the purchase of National Indemnity Company.


The world’s largest economies

July 29, 2008
India

The Indian economy is the 12th largest in the world. That is, India’s gross domestic product stands at $1.171 trillion. However, in terms of purchasing power parity, India is the world’s fourth largest economy. Its GDP in purchasing power parity terms is at $3.092 trillion. These are the year 2007 figures, recently released by the World Bank. By definition, purchasing power parity (PPP) is an economic theory that estimates the amount of adjustment needed on the exchange rate between countries in order for the exchange to be equivalent to each currency’s purchasing power. India is the one of the world’s fastest growing economies, yet its annual per capita income remains quite low at $950, or about Rs 40,000. That puts India in the 160th spot. Incidentally, World Bank figures show that the world’s GDP is at $54.347 trillion. India accounts for just over 2 per cent of global GDP.

So which are the world’s largest economies?

1. United States

The American GDP is at $13.812 trillion, making it the world’s largest economy. It accounts for more than 25 per cent of the entire world’s GDP! In terms of purchasing power parity too, the United States is the world’s leading economy. However, its per capita income at $46, per year, pegs it at the 15th spot in the world.

2. Japan

Japan, with a GDP of $4.377 trillion, is the world’s second largest economy. However, in terms of purchasing power parity, Japan is ranked third by the World Bank. It’s GDP in PPP terms is $4.283 trillion. Japan’s per capita income (annual) is $37,670, making it the 25th highest in the world.

3. Germany

Germany is the world’s third largest, with its GDP at $3.297 trillion. But in PPP terms, Germany is the world’s fifth largest economy. It’s GDP in PPP terms is at $2.752 trillion. Its per capita income is the 23rd highest in the world, at $38,860.

4. China

China, the Asian giant, is the world’s fourth largest economy with a GDP of $3.281 trillion; but in purchasing power parity terms it ranks second at $7.055 trillion. It is the world’s fastest growing major economy and its giant strides have taken the world by a storm. Economists predict that over the next few decades, it could topple the US as the world’s largest economy. China’s per capita income, however, is still low at $2,630 per year.

5. United Kingdom

Britain is the world’s fifth largest economy. Its GDP is at $2.728 trillion. In purchasing power parity terms, the United Kingdom’s GDP stands at $2.082 trillion making it the seventh largest in the world. Britain is a rich nation. Its per capita income is at an impressive $42,740. That would rank it in the 19th spot.

6. France

The French GDP is at $2.563 trillion, making it the world’s sixth largest economy; but in terms of PPP, it is the world’s 8th largest (GDP in PPP terms, $2.054 trillion). The per capita income of the French at $38,500 makes them the 24th richest people in the world.

7. Italy

Italy’s GDP in absolute terms is at $2.107 trillion. That makes it the planet’s seventh largets economy. However, in purchasing power parity terms its GDP is at $1.780 trillion and its rank is 10th. Italians’ per capita income is the 30th highest in the world. It is $33,540.

8. Spain

Spain is the eighth largest economy with its GDP at $1.429 trillion. In purchasing power parity, however, it slips to the 11th spot ($1.373 trillion). With a per capita income of $29,450 per year, its people are the 36th richest in the world.

9. Canada

The Canadian GDP stands at $1.326 trillion, making it the world’s ninth largest economy. In PPP terms, however, it stands 14th in the world. Its GDP in PPP terms is at $1.178 trillion. Its people enjoy a comfortable life with a per capita income of $39,420, which is 22nd highest in the world.

10. Brazil

The Brazilian economy too has been growing at a scorching pace. It is the world’s 10th largest economy with a GDP of $1.314 trillion. But in terms of purchasing power (GDP – $1.834 trillion), it is better placed at number 9. Amongst the emerging economies, it has one of the best per capita income figures — $5,910. This places it in the 85th spot .