BMW looking for larger slice of SUV market

first_imgAs India’s love for sport utility vehicles (SUV) revs into top gear, German luxury carmaker BMW on Thursday launched its new SUV, X1, in India priced between Rs 22 lakh to Rs 29.9 lakh (ex- showroom Delhi). The car will be available in both petrol and diesel variants.While the petrol version will be available at Rs 22 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India), the diesel variant will have two options, priced at Rs 23.9 lakh and Rs 29.9 lakh (ex-showroom, all-India), respectively.The diesel variant of X1 has an engine with power of 177 brake horse power (BHP) and torque of 350 Nm ranging from 1750 to 3000 rpm. The petrol engine gives a power of 150 BHP with a torque of 200 Nm at 3600 rpm.BMW claims that the diesel variant takes 8.3 seconds to attain a speed of 100 kmph, whereas the petrol variant takes 10.4 seconds. All X1 variants have six speed automatic gearboxes.BMW already has two SUV models in India ‘X3’ and ‘ X5’. This SUV will be positioned below them.Last year, the Indian auto market saw as many as half a dozen new SUV launches, including many high- end luxury SUVs.These include Audi Q7, Hyundai Santa Fe, Tata Aria, whereas Audi had earlier launched Q5.French auto major, Renault, too, is planning to launch SUV Koleos in the Indian market in mid- 2011.The price will be a major advantage for the firm. This compact SUV will not only divert some traffic from its German counterparts but will also be pitched against Toyota Fortuner priced at ` 19.64 lakh, Nissan X- Trail ( Rs 21.7-26 lakh), Hyundai Santa Fe ( Rs 21-23 lakh) and the Mitsubishi Outlander (Rs 20.25 lakh).advertisementThis is the cheapest car from the BMW stable in India so far. The firm said it will assemble X1 from its Chennai plant and has invested about ` 180crore to boost the production. BMW has taken over the top position from its arch- rival Mercedes- Benz. According to the latest Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers figures, BMW sold 5,345 units against 5,109 units sold by Mercedes- Benz during January- November this year.The company is quite bullish about the response of its new SUV in the India market.”We already have 1,000 orders for the BMW X1 and we are sold out for the first quarter of the next year. We expect the X1 to be the biggest volume model for BMW in India,” Andreas Schaaf, president, BMW India said.”India is still a growing market, it is not yet matured and we are creating a market with the launch of new vehicles. If the market continues to grow at 25 per cent, in ten years time India will be among the top 10 markets of BMW globally,” Schaaf said.last_img

Serena Williams stunned by Karolina Pliskova in US Open semis

first_imgFor the second straight year Serena Williams saw her bid for a seventh US Open title halted in the semi-finals with a 6-2, 7-6(5) loss to Karolina Pliskova on Thursday that also ended her long reign as world number one.A year ago Williams went into the semi-finals on the cusp of a rare calendar-year grand slam but was the victim of one of the biggest upsets in tennis history when Roberta Vinci, a 300-to-1 longshot, prevailed.This year it was Czech 10th seed Pliskova, who until this week had never played beyond the third round of a grand slam, delivering the upset as she swept Williams off an Arthur Ashe Stadium court she claims as her own in one hour, 26 minutes.”I dont believe it. Actually, I do believe it,” Pliskova said in a courtside interview. “I always knew I have a chance to beat anybody if Im playing my game.”But this is something amazing. (Kerber beats Wozniacki in US Open semis) “Serena, she’s a champion so it’s never easy to play her. You saw even when she was down a break she’s still fighting so it’s very hard.”There was no calendar-year grand slam up for grabs this year but history continued to beckon Williams, who would have stood alone as greatest grand slam champion in the professional era if she had claimed a 23rd title and moved past Steffi Graf.And while there was no title to win on this day Williams stepped onto the court with something to lose.advertisementAfter 186 consecutive weeks as the world’s top-ranked player, Williams, who needed to reach the final to have any chance of retaining top spot, will relinquish the ranking to Germany’s Angelique Kerber.After a punishing three-set quarter-final against Simona Halep on the same court 24 hours early, Williams appeared sluggish against the towering Czech.But a clearly annoyed Williams refused to use fatigue as an excuse for her loss and instead blamed her sluggishness more on left knee problems that limited her mobility.”OK, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match,” said Williams. “If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour.”I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it.”I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move.”With the two biggest hitters in women’s tennis standing across from each over the match was expected to be an explosive affair filled with booming serves.Williams opened the contest with an ace but in the end it was the American’s serve that ultimately let her down as she committed six double faults, including the deciding point in the tiebreak.Pliskova, who has led the WTA Tour in aces the last two seasons, kept the 34-year-old American under pressure almost from the start and had break chances on all but one of Williams’ service games in the first set and converting twice.Showing the heart of a champion, Williams battled back from a break down to force a tiebreak where she clawed back from 3-0 down to take a 4-3 lead.But a cool Pliskova would not buckle and earned the victory when Williams double faulted.With the victory Pliskova completed a Williams family double having also beaten Serena’s older sister, sixth-seeded Venus, in the fourth round.last_img read more

Stars Issue a Call to Amnesty International in Open Letter

first_imgMore than 400 national and international women’s rights groups, including the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), human rights advocates, medical doctors, actors and directors, fashion designers, faith-based organizations and concerned individuals from over 30 countries signed an open letter to Amnesty International expressing their dismay at its policy proposal calling for the decriminalization of the sex industry.If passed at Amnesty’s International Council Meeting in Dublin from Aug. 7–11, this policy would in effect advocate the legalization of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying — the pillars of a $99 billion global sex industry.Within 24 hours of learning about Amnesty’s proposed policy, scores of Hollywood stars and prominent individuals began to join an international grassroots campaign urging Amnesty to stand with those exploited in the sex trade, who are mostly women, rather than with their exploiters. Among the signatories are Oscar-winning actress, Meryl Streep, chef and activist, Alice Waters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Anna Quindlen, author, Hannah Pakula, poet and human rights activist, Rose Styron and 2008 Amnesty International Human Rights Award winner, Lydia Cacho. Others include: Angela Bassett, Emily Blunt, Jonathan Demme, Grace Hightower De Niro, Lena Dunham, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jones, Kevin Kline, Lisa Kudrow, Kyra Sedgwick, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Eve Ensler, Marcia Gay Harden, Carey Mulligan, Ali Wentworth and many more.The response to the open letter issued by CATW was so exceedingly positive that it is now a campaign on Change.org and is open for more signatures.As the letter states, campaigners firmly agree with Amnesty that those who are prostituted must not be criminalized or brutalized by law enforcement and governments. However, full decriminalization of the sex trade renders pimps “businesspeople” who sell vulnerable individuals, overwhelmingly with histories of poverty, discrimination, homelessness and sexual abuse, to buyers of sex with impunity.“I hope and believe that Amnesty will understand the parallels with other forms of economically compelled body invasion — for instance, the sale of organs,” added Gloria Steinem. “The millions who are prostituted experience trauma and shortened lives. Legalization keeps pimps, brothel keepers, and sex-slavers in freedom and riches. Criminalization puts the prostituted in prison. What works is the ‘third way,’ the Nordic model, which offers services and alternatives to prostituted people, and fines buyers and educates them to the realities of the global sex trade.”Extensive evidence shows the catastrophic effects of legalizing or decriminalizing pimping and brothels, demonstrated in Germany and the Netherlands, for example. With impunity for the commercial sexual exploitation of marginalized populations comes an increase in sex trafficking to satisfy the demand for prostitution. Studies and survivors’ testimonies demonstrate that the sex industry is predicated on dehumanization, degradation and gender violence that can cause life-long physical and psychological harm.“A vote calling for legalizing pimping would in effect support gender apartheid, in which some women in society can demand protection from rape, discrimination and sexual harassment, while others, the most vulnerable among us, are instead set aside for consumption by men and for the profit of their pimps,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, CATW’s executive director. “This is far from what Eleanor Roosevelt envisioned for the world when she penned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”Source:CATWInternational.orglast_img read more