Skoda Octavia with natural gas – efficient driving (updated)

Have you ever tried to drive a natural gas car? I can say it has nothing special in it. It feels like you are driving a normal petrol or hybrid car. The main difference is the energy source and in this case, the compressed natural gas (CNG) is to make the driving more environment friendly and efficient.

According to the company information the Skoda Octavia 1,5 TSI CNG car has two tanks, with maximum capacity of 97 litres or about 17 of the gas at the pressure of 200 bar. They are in the form of underbody tanks and one car drive about 480 km with the one gas filling. One can really say that the driving with the natural gas is efficient. The combined consumption according to new standard is 6,4 m3 and the co2 emissions (also combined) are 115 g/km. The car has also a petrol tank with 9 litres.

The co2 emissions seems to be relative high, but compared to normal petrol the emissions are about 25 % less than with the same kind of petrol car.

But how about the driving itself and the car otherwise? I would say the car is a very good family car with the new energy-efficient thinking. It has plenty of space for normal driving and for four people. One can also transfer some sporting goods for example.

The basic functions in the car are well-placed and useful. One can say this car is very easy to drive and handle. The new Octavia delivery time is about 2-3 month and for example in Finland the natural gas price is about 20 euros for one tank filling for the 480 km ride.

The car is produced in Czechoslovakia and it is part of the global Volkswagen Group (VOW3).

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Tiffany´s sales one billion dollars during the first quarter

The US listed luxury company Tiffany (TIF) said on June 4th, that major part of the company sales growth came from China. The company net sales were about 1000 million dollars during the first quarter, ending April 30th. Compared to last year figures, the decline was 3 procent.

– Our first quarter results reflect significant foreign exchange headwinds and dramatically lower worldwide spending attributed to foreign tourists. That said, we were pleased that, at the core of our business, global sales attributed to local customers, led by sales in China, grew over last year’s very strong sales results. We believe this growth in sales to local customers reflects progress in executing our strategic priorities, including innovations across products, communications and the customer experience, and that Tiffany is positioned for improving trends in the second half of 2019, said the Group´s CEO Alessandro Bogliolo in the company press release.

Tiffany´s worldwide net sales declined 3% to 1.0 billion dollars and comparable sales declined 5%. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, net sales were equal to the earlier year and comparable sales declined 2%.

Net earnings of 125 million dollars were 12% lower than the earlier year’s 142 million dollars. Net earnings per diluted share were 1.03 dollars compared to 1.14 dollars in the year ago.

All the major markets showed declined trend in the sales. In the Americas, total net sales declined 4% to 406 million dollars. In Asia-Pacific, total net sales declined 1% to 324 million dollars.

– These results reflected a continuation of strong growth in mainland China and mixed results in other markets. These sales results also reflected lower spending attributed to foreign tourists, the company says.

In Europe, total net sales declined 4% to 102 million dollars and comparable sales declined 7%. Other net sales of 26 million dollars were 17% above the previous year, as increased wholesale sales of diamonds more than offset a 17% decline in comparable sales in our stores in the UAE.

Company also said that the possible US China tariffs could increase the jewelry tariffs from its current level to a new level of 25 % on average. The company increased its quarterly dividend by 5 procent.

Tiffany´s stock (TIF) ended Friday in New York to 94,48 dollars, up 0,94 %, giving the market cap of the company to 11,47 billion dollars.

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Hublot CEO: China markets the main focus (updated)

Hublot, one of the leading luxury watch makers in Switzerland, is targeting China markets even more. The company, part of the LVMH (LVMH) Group, market cap 186 billion euros, and its Watch division, said the same thing already a year ago, but the target is still the same. According to the CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot is aiming to become one of the leading watch brands in China and Greater China.

– We are focusing on China and Greater China markets. Our aim is to be one of the leading watch brands in China and Greater China, Mr Guadalupe said in the ComteamPUB+ interview on Thursday.

The company has not revealed the export figures, but according to Swiss Watch Industry information the China, Hong Kong and Singapore markets totalled nearly 30 % of the overall Swiss watch exports. In May the export totalled over 2 billion Swiss francs, growth 11,4 %. The biggest growth was in the premium & luxury watches, which are priced over 3000 francs.

The company is expecting a very strong growth for this year. The double-digit growth is said to continue “over the end of the year” according to Mr Guadalupe.

China is seen one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the future. In 2018 the Chinese consumers spent about 115 billion dollars on luxury items, which is one third of the global spending. And this is expected to growth in the future also so that by 2025 40 % of the world’s spending on luxury goods would be by Chinese consumers (McKinsey). So, it is not a surprise that Mr Guadalupe is talking about China.

Is luxury becoming more common?

This question is about the luxury spending and how the luxury markets are expected to develop in the future. But Mr Guadalupe has a point.

-Absolutely not for the real luxury, he says.

And he is referring for the real thing. Real luxury has always its prestige and value among its users. And this is also part of the demand for the vintage or retro luxury items in the markets at the moment.

For example financial markets are expecting the US company RealReal to be listed in New York. The company is an online marketplace for luxury products and according to the company info the trading of the shares are expected to start today, not yesterday as earlier estimated. The company raised 300 million dollars, at 20 dollars each, above the 17-19 dollars range earlier estimated. Sustainable, circular luxury is also entering the main markets.

Hublot and “Art of Fusion”

The clear sustainable standing point for Hublot is the materials. The company has been innovative and finding new ways to integrate different materials in the watch production over years. It is part of the company ideology of the Art of Fusion – the way the tradition of high-quality Swiss craftsmanship and innovation can be combined.

The material lists include magic gold, carbon, rubber, aluminium, ceramic, king gold, palladium, platinum, stainless steel, tantalum, titanium, tungsten, zirconium, osmium and aluminium. Hublot can say that it has clearly been the innovator in this area in the Swiss watch industry.

The company says that it is now also working with sustainable bags while the banning of plastic bags is already a trend in Europe.

Collaboration with Ferrari and FIFA

– The collaboration with Ferrari and our involvement in FIFA World Cup are our two main partnerships, Guadalupe says.

– This year we have two collaborations with Ferrari. The Classic Fusion Ferrari GT, which is an elegant and contemporary piece that draws inspiration from the “Gran Turismo” universe. And the Big Band Scuderia Ferrari 90 ans. This is a model that reflects the rich history and heritage of Scuderia Ferrari, he continues.

Japanese food and sea

But what does Mr Guadalupe do for the summer time? Japanese food and sea.

– Food can be compared to the watch industry in a certain way for their attention to quality, time and details. I like to spend my holidays in the Mediterranean, at Mykonos or Ibiza. Holidays is for me synonymous with relaxing, sport and good food, he concludes.

Hublot, which was founded in Switzerland in 1980, has made the journey with innovation and unique products. Watches like Big Bang have paved the way to new flagship collections like Classic Fusion and Spirit of Big Bang.

Picture: Hublot classic watches from BaselWorld 2017-2019

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Airbnb to offer luxury property rentals

The US property rental service & hospitality platform Airbnb said today that it has launched a luxury property service for its customers.

This new service “Airbnb Luxe” offers 2000 new listings from entire islands to castles and mansions and the prices range from 14000 dollars a week average to 1 million dollars a week for a private atoll near Tahiti with a staff of 50.

This new rental service include also VIP service. – From personal chefs to massage therapists, a local team of professionals has you covered, the company says.

According to the company the luxury rental property market has not offered security for high-profile and mega-rich clients before, Bloomberg News says.  This new service will include the total wellbeing.

The company takes a percentage of the cost of each booking and the company is valued at 31 billion dollars before the initial public offering, perhaps next year.

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Volvo V60 hybrid – nordic design

Have you thought to buy a hybrid? Here have you some thoughts to think about related electric car and the gasoline version.

I had my test drive with Volvo V60 T8 AWD with Business R-design. This design means that the car is integrated with several design elements related to interior design, materials and needed applications like CarPlay and Anrdoid Auto.
The car is with two engines, gasoline and electric. The electric range is about 50 km with good conditions, but I would say that 40 km is what is the normal with summertime and normal use.
First I have to say that this plug-in hybrid car was very easy driving due to the two power engines in it. The handling was also ok while the circle is small enough also parking in the city spaces. According to the company info the  united energy use for this model is 47 co2/km. This calculation is based on the new measuring method standard WLTP. My own expressions for the long journey driving was that the gasoline consumption was about 8-9 litres per 100 km after the electric range was used.
The car is integrated with intelligence with for example the settings for the driver seat and with the half automated pilot assist. Must say that the pilot assist is really helpful when you can rest your legs during the journey, or with driving the city limits.
The adaptive speedassistant to drive in que is a new thing and  so far we have very few experience of it. Maybe more later on when the car technology develops further.
To buy a hybrid is a good solutions for those, who can use the electric range for daily rutines like the distance between home-office or home-public transport. This Volvo is large enough for sporting goods and with small gadgets for the garden or for working. And the electric range is a positive plus for the sustainable driver.
The interior design is well-design and functional and the feeling of the Nordic design is present.
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