Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spark a new year revolution.

Today is the last day of work for Sparks till next year.  Wowee.

And before I end the year, I'd like to thank you guys, oh-eyeballs-from-all-over-the-world, for your keen support for this blog and for listening to my blahs for as long as you did.  Really, thank you.

Twenty twelve promises some changes which will bring new challenges for Sparks.  Honestly, I'm not sure if I'm ever good enough for those challenges.  I have my doubts too.  But.  Well, life comes life goes, what the heck, let's just do it.  Sometimes life is as such... if you wanna get somewhere even if you don't know where, it's essential to make the move first.  Even God can't steer you if you do not first start the engine and step on  the gas right?  Unlike some of my friends who have very clear vision of where they want to be, what they want to do, what they want to see achieved; truth be told, I don't.  My vision is... kinda hazy.  I know what drives me and what I enjoy doing.  I am just not sure if I could so clearly state what I want to achieve in the next year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now.  Yes, I am aware that I'm a planner.  And double yes, I'm well aware that this statement doesn't provide strong stakeholder confidence to my employer.  But oh well.  It's my blog :)

Next year, I want to spark a revolution.  Honestly, I don't know what, when and how.  Enough of resolutions, let's look at bigger things.  Let's look at not just what one can do on their own but what one can change for a few, a group, a community of people - or dare we even think, the world.  Hell yeah, I'd like to do that.  There will be minor changes in my career path which I probably won't share till it's a lot more concrete but it will be a good year.  Every year is, no?  Even if shitty things had happened, they happened for a reason and the important thing is they teach you how to shrug it off, do a 'plft' at it and run along to something better.  Nope, no regrets.  I don't think I made the right choice all the time but I'm also quite glad that these experiences took me to the bottom of the pit to see darkness.  Because I got tired of it and started  to miss the light.  I forced myself to climb out of the pit.  And when I finally did, I embraced the light as though I have never seen it before!  And hey what do you know, I now have muscles!  Awesome innit?

Anyway, to all of you who know me and who don't know me, allow me to share a simple prayer (or a heartfelt wish, if using the word prayer disturbs you greatly) - I pray/wish that you will find fulfilment in your career where you realize that you're always always in a position to serve others, that you will find the courage to love in the truest, most respectful, most responsible, most unbelievable, warm-fuzzy-feeling inducing form (because true love that drops from the sky is an urban myth and you know that right?), that you will appreciate everyone around you and be blessed with the creativity to think of ways to reconnect to them that may bring you closer to one another, that you will live a life that is noble, sincere, responsible, caring, forgiving; that's filled with peace, love and joy.  Have.  A very happy new year.  See you in twenty twelve.

Yours truly.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Professionalism versus compassion.

We've always touted professionalism to be one of if not the most important quality anyone should bring into any working environment.  Professionalism towards work, towards your colleagues, towards your bosses, towards your client.

Professionalism as defined by Merriam Webster is the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.

Professionalism can be achieved when we are objective about things.  Funny thing is if you really think about it there's no black and white rule of what you should do or shouldn't do to be professional about things.  Then how did all these professionals learn?  Hmm.  Where do you draw the line between being professional and being compassionate especially if you are in leadership?  That's a tough one isn't it?  The only time 'compassion' is mentioned in an organisation is probably in the employee's hand book - the stated amount of 'compassionate' leaves one could take to attend to matters related to the death of a family member.  So does that mean, compassion is only called for when it's a life and death situation?

I don't have an answer for this, really.  And I wonder if you could tell me instead.  What's it really.  Where do you draw the line?  I imagine all these big wall-street kind of corporations in America where money and results rule everything under the sky.  Well, no doubt... when you run a tight ship you'd wanna make sure resources are optimized and returns are calculated and accounted for.  But life was never so complicated before.  Rewind twenty years ago, life was a lot simpler and slower even.  Today, we have so many facades of life; diseases and sickness are rampant and sudden, relationships are volatile and unpredictable, crime rates are soaring and there are a hell lot more accident-causing idiots on the road than before - where I'm getting at is really the fact that life, is becoming more and more unpredictable.  Gone are the days where life was about bringing the bacon home.  Sorry to burst your bubble but the Truman Show is really, just a show.  How could we expect people to go to work and bring the same level of professionalism with them all the time, 24/7/365?

There's no hard and fast rule, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that work groups are evolving to become a support group for individuals.  Because of social media and the obscene amount of time we're spending with one another at work, it's difficult to treat one another as just colleagues anymore.  Well, of course, I am aware that by saying so here stems many office affairs as well.  Now, that's not professional.  Or is it?  Is it so bad to have a relationship at your work place?  (Arr, provided both are single, I mean why not if it doesn't affect work).  But still...  We've been working for so many years now, and I realized that there are things which are simply just grey.  The do's and don'ts in a work environment.  It's all about what we're comfortable with, ain't it?

Personally, I feel that life in general is really becoming a lot more complicated than before.  Vying for bread on the table isn't the only reason anymore.  People are finding self-worth and improvement in other areas where traditionally it was solely defined by family relationships.  People now have an attention span of two seconds where they stop spending quiet time with their loved ones, prefer to be 'working on something' and punching on their stupid smart phones.  People are so much more well-connected to one another and strangers that opens up a different can of wriggly distasteful possibilities.  Life in the 21st century is one hell of a complicated ride man!  And it's becoming a tougher and tougher battle out there.  And for this very reason, I feel that we should always be ever ready to be compassionate at work.  Empathize not sympathize.    Sorry not pity.  If we're just colleagues, then we remain as acquaintance.  But if we're 'war buddies' for having gone through so much with one another, we will and should always have each other's back.  Always.  And that itself is compassion.  No questions asked.

Yup, it's a tough world out there.  So let's try to be more compassionate to each other.  Because really, you never know when you'll need it too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sparks' Open Library Project: BOO - The life of the world's cutest dog - J. H. L...

Sparks' Open Library Project: BOO - The life of the world's cutest dog - J. H. L...: In Malaysia, we will start by exclaiming 'wah lao eh'. What does it mean? It's a phrase you use to display extremity of feelings towar...

Let the most wonderful things come from your heart this year end.

Tis' the season to be jolly, tis' the season to exchange heartfelt wishes.

I will always remember the one jolly day when I asked a particular creative icon, "I'm so in awe of your creative work.  How do you create all these amazing ads?".  To which Yasmin Ahmad replied, "I don't know either.  I guess I just write from the heart".  And so it's stuck in me ever since.

Always let the words depart from your mouth even though sometimes harsh, with the most well-meaning intention.  Even if it's not taken well immediately, you know in time it will be understood.  The words from the mind may be logical and convincing, but those from heart are sincere and leave a lasting presence.

For advertising, and for everything else.

And let this last week of 2011 preps us up to aim for the stars in 2012.  Not just being ambitious about things, but also be appreciative.  Yesterday, I just totally realized that there's a huge difference between 'having' and 'appreciating'.  It's such common a sense that you'd think I'd know but... What do you know, I don't.  For more than quarter of my life, I don't.  Maybe I do.  Just that it never really illuminated if you get what I mean.  I realized that you can have things without appreciating them.  You can have parents, siblings, friends, a partner, you can have everyone and anyone but it doesn't mean you appreciate them.  You can have a car but it doesn't mean you appreciate getting somewhere.  You can have chicken but it doesn't mean you appreciate dinner.  Nope, I'm not trying to be holier than thou.  But that thought really struck a chord in me.  Cause I don't think I'm appreciating enough.  And I would like to appreciate more even if that means having less in 2012.

Well, merry Christmas everyone and have a very happy new year.  And Sparks wishes you peace, love and joy to you and your loved ones.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Good Samaritan Shop.: A colourful Christmas in an orphanage :)

The Good Samaritan Shop.: A colourful Christmas in an orphanage :): Dear all, Mission accomplished! Today, we dropped off the bedsheets to Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram and lo' and behold! It transforms...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

mcgarrybowen meteoric rise.

In 2002, John McGarry and Gordon Bowen left their big employers to set up on their own with only four staff and no client.  Today, mcgarrybowen employs over 700 people in New York and Chicago, boasting 20 clients, 65 major brands, and billings in excess of $10 billion.

Which means to say, within 10 years, on average per year mcgarrybowen hires approximately 70 people, gaining 2 new clients that bring in 3 to 4 brands per client which provides approximate billing of millions per year.

Dentsu Utama is in its 6th year now.

Don't mean to self-hurt.  But.  Sometimes, you know.  It's frustrating.  No one knows why and no one wants to talk about it.  But if you look at benchmark numbers, it's crystal.

Really frustrating.

*mcgarrybowen is part of Dentsu Group.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What is competition?

You know, good teamwork and competition are like the opposing poles of the same magnet.  How do you instil competition within the team and ensure good teamwork?  Competition means outdoing your opponent, but how do you manage that when your opponent is also your team mate?

Even if it's not so, no one will disagree that good sportsmanship will ensure competition remains constructive and positive.  That's just so ideal isn't it?

But then again, maybe it isn't that much of a myth.  Maybe that can be created?  After all we were once kids.  Look at how kids compete and you will know what I mean.

Nothing inspired this post as much as watching the grand finale of the 'Junior Masterchef' of Australia.  I'm telling you those little people are simply amazing and the things they whipped up?  They whip my ass anytime!  But above and beyond the dishes, just observing how they work and respond to pressure really taught me a lot about organisation management.  Also if you've watched the adult version, you'd realize there's a lot of difference when it comes to team challenges.  Somehow, somewhere along the way we kinda forget we were all once kids.  When kids are put into team challenges, they are highly focused on doing the best they can.  As much as they are highly supportive of one another - when interviewed singularly on camera, you could sense their positivity even though they may be disappointed with the outcome.  And they're always thinking what is it that I have done and haven't done and how can I improve in the next challenge so that I don't get eliminated.

Whilst the adult Masterchef is so different.  Maybe it's the editor's fault.  He's the chef of drama, and could be snipping intentional scenes that are spicy for ratings.  But whatever it is, you could see people bickering.  And it's always about how you are not doing your job.  You are not improving and you are a bad order-taker, bad leader, bad whatever.  What happened guys?  Whatever happened while we're growing up?

Competition amongst kids is always (almost) a clean one.  The equation is simple.  You put your best effort in, you listen to your coach, you tap into your creative energy and then you spur daringly into the battle, you give your all and may the best man wins.  But for adults - c'mon, especially to those of us who are in work organisations, this is all too familiar.  Competition is dirty.  Dirty as a dish rag.  It's political - what you say on and off the record, who you say it to, when you say it.  It's at times a personal attack - at some point, people stop focusing on doing the best they can but they're more interested in pointing out what others are not doing.  It's critical - to any lengths if the battle must be won, it must be won, at all cost.

Today, I look at these kids with greatest admiration.  I've not met a lot of people in my life, but I've certainly met some whose maturity does not even come close to what these amazing kids have.

It also taught me to look at an entirely different perspective of leadership.  Leadership is at times an iron fist, at times a pointer, at times a beacon, at times a reminder - depending on the need of the situation.  Having taught kids myself, they are sometimes so much better in deciphering intention than an adult.  Well, I've to thank this TV program for teaching me management skills :) And who says watching TV is no good?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's that time of the year again - appraisal time ;)

Appraisal time.  The moment of truth.  Have you got enough ammunition or does the very thought of it send jitters to your spine?  Or worse.  You are oblivious to it?  It doesn't excite you, doesn't spook you, to you it's just another piece of paper, another meeting, another session of nonsensical but mandatory chat session.  It. doesn't. mean. anything. to. you?

Well if I hit a nerve there, then I'm really worried for you.  Because it shows that you have no accountability to what you do.  A job is a nine to five routine that you trade for some dough to basically eat and drink to stay alive before your time ends.  You have no love in what you do.  You don't care about the bigger picture.  You don't care about your boss.  You don't care about your clients.  You don't care about your colleagues.  You. just. don't. care.  Or do you? C'mon, get a grip.

Last mid-term, I had a moment of truth.  Appraisals are done annually, but we have a practice here to touch base with the team every 6 months just so, we are not just on the same page but are on track - you know, the usual - motivation, goals, $$$, things-we-love-most-about-you-which-you-should-continue-doing and things-you-do-that-we-hate-so-much-we're-using-all-our-might-to-refrain-from-...

And my moment of truth came after speaking to about 10 colleagues.  People, are generally hungry for feedback.  I always thought that perhaps, Malaysians being non-confrontational tend to shy away from these kind of open discussion, especially when it's their performance that is put under the microscope and scrutinized.  But such is not so.  They generally want to know if they have done well, met expectations, hoping you could give them feedback which they failed to see in the mirror.  And me being me, I'm the last person on earth to be appointed to candy pills, I'm quite surprised that the team takes facts - good or bad - with good strides.  And the best part is?  No satisfaction is bigger than to watch people grow.  In the next 6 months, you see them change.  You see them really working on the issues which we've identified and agreed upon.  Albeit they're not perfect, but the point is you do see them working on it and you do see results.  Sometimes the result is tangible, other times it's not.  Sometimes it's surprising even.  But of course, you get a lemon now and then.  And unfortunately OR fortunately for us, the person almost always leaves the team before the term ends.

I always get the jitters when it comes to appraisal time.  Not so much my own - I have one of the nicest and most encouraging bosses eva and I almost always get away with a lot of things - on paper or no (haha!).  Woops.  Too much info.  But anyway, it's the appraisal time with the team that gives me the chills.  We made a point that it'll be an open discussion, a two-way traffic.  So as much as the person is reviewed, I supposed I'm also getting reviewed indirectly as a senior colleague.  If you've been put in charge to lead, it's hard not to feel responsible for the person whom you are leading.  C'mon, if one of your staff is in Timbuktu, SURELY there must have been a smart alec who may have mentioned 'going to Timbuktu' at some point?  I'm not sure whether everyone feels the same or just the fact because I'm the fairer gender (hence I'm more emotional, more feely weely, more blah blah blah), I feel responsible when one person does not hit their KPI.  It's strange.  It feels like you've not been guiding enough.  It feels kinda like a guilt-trip.  You get what I mean?  And almost always, with extremely great difficulty for the words to spew out from my mouth, I will ask them for feedback on my leadership.  That's when the butterflies don't just fly, the explode in your gut because it's your turn to strip naked and go under the microscope.  I know my colleagues withheld a lot of comments (haha!) seriously.  Because I know them and because I know I could be better.  And I thank them for... being extremely considerate about my feelings :) No, seriously.

It's quite ironic, that being in a communication industry, ad people rarely talk to each other.  They play cool and they hardly get in touch with their emotions when it's this very same business that should be stirring emotions, creating new feelings.  If you're doing appraisal with your team right about now, take some time off and really... communicate with them.  It's not about talking, but about understanding.  Yup, the pressure is always gonna be there when there're numbers put in place as goals but it's gonna be good.  The second most satisfying thing about working here, in Dentsu is to be able to see your team grow.  Not just in the business sense, but as people.  You see them become empowered and you see them try and challenge themselves and you see them stretch.  Well, fireworks are inevitable along the way because we are... at war, but nevertheless it will be pretty at the end of it and it will be all worth the trouble.

To my awesome team, I'm really fortunate to have you guys.  No, seriously.  I may not LOOK like it (dood, it's tough to look like it every day.  I am after all a human being) but I sure mean it.  Somehow, this appraisal thing?  Makes me more aware of myself too not as a staff to my boss but as a colleague, a person, a leader, a guide, a friend, a lamp post, a torch light, whatever you wanna call it, you know what I mean :)

Here's to our realignment and an awesome 2012!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The all-new Beetle, the all-new kid on the block.

Not really new new, but new.  Watch out guys, the new Beetle comes with power (and it ain't the flower kind), attitude and vengeance.

Yeap, no more Mr. Nice Guy :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Gap Long and Lean jeans.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Gap Long and Lean jeans.: Another donated item, this is a pair of straight (slight boot-cut) jeans from Gap. It has some 'torn' details and washed-out look, nice ;...

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Help needed at Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram!

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Help needed at Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram!: Today I called Mr. Praveendran from Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram which is basically an orphanage which houses about 45 children, age 2 to ...

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Marni bag charm.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Marni bag charm.: Marni prides its Italian heritage and focuses on European bohemian details with a contemporary twist. Its design inspiration include 'fu...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The new Porsche 911. The best ever.

The new Porsche 911 was launched in the Tokyo Motorshow, making it the best ever 911.  With about 53,000 Porsches on Japanese road with almost half dedicated to the 911s, obviously Tokyo is one of the most important locations to launch the maker's pride and joy.  The Carrera spews 350hp and Carrera S has 400hp on the tap, going from zero to hundred in just 4s.  FOUR. FREAKING. SECONDS.  Equivalent to a sharp 7 minutes 40 seconds sprint of one lap in Nürburgring circuit.  

It's true when they say there are no Porsche customers.  There are only true Porsche fans.

This is the Panarama S Hybrid.  It isn't just about a supercar anymore.  It's a full package.  When you're in a sports car, it doesn't have to feel like you're rocking in a cave with a roll cage criss-crossing all over.  The interior should give you a sense of luxurious escapism while you throttle on and leave your worries behind.  Best still, with your sleeping baby in the back seat, unperturbed by your speed (though I'm not recommending that you should be an irresponsible parent!  But you get my drift!).

The Panamera GTS - Now THAT'S my kind of family car :)


And of course, the icon itself, 911.

Hear it cry.

Watch its birth.  You should know that buying a Porsche is not buying a car.  You're buying a labour of love ;)

And the next time you see an idiot who double parks or dumps his Porsche on the curb side obstructing traffic, you know that he may be rich but he's definitely not worthy of luxury.  Him being rich is of face-value which obviously comes with no substance or whatsoever because he has no respect for not only other road users but more importantly for the engineers who painstakingly created the vehicle with their bare hands and every waking hour.  If I was an engineer, I'd make sure these aspiring owners take an aptitude test to prove that they are worth the Porsche badge.  And not just because he's got a million dough to throw away.  But because he is respectable and an appreciator of sports engineering.  And an appreciator does not dump his car at the roadside. Sigh.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Launch of the new Lexus GS series.

Lexus never seemed to be a really strong competitor to the Germans though it's definitely carved a class on its own.  Maybe it still isn't to the ranks compared to the likes of BMW and Mercedes Benz.  But to Audi, this is increasingly becoming one strong competitor.  Lexus has set its eyes to become a truly global premium brand, appealing to those who are not keen on ra-ra badges but understated, clean, substantial, impeccable craftsmanship.  Appealing to one who has Monocle for breakfast, if you get what I mean.

In order for Lexus to truly be a global premium brand, they truly need to separate itself from Toyota more.  Lexus has always unwillingly inherited its blood relation with Toyota.  How do you position yourself to be premium when you share the same technology as a global mass brand?  Bear in mind, the CT200h has the same engine and drivetrain as the Prius.  To pay premium, you'd expect a premium system as well, no?  A good start is for Lexus to separate itself entirely from Toyota, only to report directly to the President, Akio Toyoda (he is the heir of Toyota - in short - Mr. Owner).  Therefore, we should see a real dynamic change with its separation from the group - marketing, engineering, design and all.

Lexus launched the new GS series in the 42nd Tokyo Motorshow, which blueprint was inspired by its supercar LFA in terms of sweeping designs and agile drivability - I'd surely love to get behind the wheels of the GS350 F Sport and see what a slice of the LFA feels like.

Eat this, Audi ;)

And if you need more inspiration, let's not forget what the LFA could potentially do :)

Now that I got you all sweaty, here're some snapshots I got from Tokyo Motorshow.

New GS450h

LFA Nürburgring Package - emphasizes circuit cruising at a level higher than the standard specifications which is scheduled for production in 2012.  The maximum output has been raised to 571PS (just bout 10 horses extra) via higher compression.  Limited to only 500 units, orders have been closed in January 2010.  Woops.  Sorry dude, better luck next round.  Well next time, if you wanna ride a fast machine, you better be quicker than that :Pp

Beyond the interior, let's investigate it to the bone.  You should know also that the LFA is put together by 10-15 (can't remember how many) Master craftsmen, who are known as 'Takumi' which is equivalent to your 10th 'dan' black belt in automotive.  They painstakingly put your machine together by hand to ensure the highest L-finesse.  Read more about the Lexus 'takumi' here.

The heart that moves both driver and machine.

New GSのさらなる魅力を、あなただけに。


Just wondering, throwing you some questions.  Anyone knows...

1) All three GS (GS450h, GS350 F Sport and GS250) have got a D-4S engine - the one that's strapped on the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ?  I know the GS450h does, but not sure about the F Sport though I think it should be because both are a 3.5l V6 engine.
2) Lexus is the only rear-wheel drive hybrid?
3) Usually, in a line-up, fuel-engine models are more powerful than its hybrid variant.  But the GS450h has got about 20 horses more than the F Sport variant.  Hmm... now that's what I'm talking about; no compromise on performance.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BMW in TMS 2011.

BMW BMW BMW.  I enjoyed the presentation a 100%.  No show and dance, no presenter or performer, just pure solid information on the ultimate driving machines and their destination.  What I like is how they communicate their positioning is via solid facts.  Numerical data that they are so confident in (almost cocky) because they are unprecedented and unchallenged - the most sustainable automotive brand for 7 years in a row, the ActiveHybrid 5 Sedan that's most powerful and efficient in its class, the figures which show that BMW is the number premium brand in Japan.  No... football gimmick, only true vorsprung durch technik ;) Sorry I take that back.  That was below the belt.

BMW talked about two important aspects of where they are likely to take the brand to.  Evolution - optimising combustion engine and Revolution - pursuing sustainable technologies today.  Hence, the world premier of the ActiveHybrid 5 Sedan - a full-hybrid sedan that brings together a six-cylinder in-line petrol engine, an electric drive system, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a high-performance lithium-ion battery. As well as the BMW i concept - i3 and i8 sports - both set to be the world's first premium electric vehicles.

And I was looking all over... and there you are :)

Yeah.  Keep it simple.  The way a car should be.

Hello big brother :) Just something to note, the premium cars showcased in TMS this year, all sport a matte pearl finish.  Trend to come?

And of course, the 120 Sport (non-M).

Audi at TMS 2011.

As always, Audi's booth is the unmistakable gigantic white arch with its 4 silver circles in line.  I was excited to see Audi's line up because I remember back in 2007, during my first trip to the Tokyo Motorshow, they unveiled the 'Metropolitan Project' concept car which is known as the A1 today.  And I remembered the video they showed introducing it - it was pretty impressive and got stuck to me since.  So you have to understand I've got high expectations this time round as well.

In terms of the overall presentation, I thought it was a let down.  They had some really good dancing female footballers all right (yup, who could do tricks I know many guys can't), but... in an autoshow?  C'mon...  Also, they unveiled the 'Samurai Blue' which is basically a car for the Japanese football team (with two Japanese world champion female footballers who did the unveiling).  Do you get me now?  Like seriously?  -_-"  And then they unveiled the A1 1.4 TSI sportback which to me... was a let down.  I mean it's Audi.  While the world splits to go high on electricity or high performance on both fun driving and environment, Audi presented an... A1 Sportback.  Hmmm...

But the saving grace is the line-up of its famed S series.  Their equivalent luxury performance range which was sexy and sweet and all things nice :)~  Pictures below.

First up the S5.

And then the S7.

And then the A1.

Look ma!  No legs!

And the premier of the A1 sportback in... yellow bronze?  With the Samurai Blue behind (which I didn't bother).

And of course, the R8 GT behind the S5.

Tokyo Motorshow 2011 - Honda Press Launch.

I must have been mistakenly born as a girl.  The minute I set foot into the hall, seriously seriously seriously, I forget what bugs me.  I forget everything that bugs me.  Heck, I forget everything!  So I'm gonna take some time to post up the goodies and the sexies from TMS 2011, please bear with me for all-car talk for the next few days.

First up.  Honda (of course, where else would I be first right?).

This year, you can tell Honda is coming back albeit a tough year it has gone through with Japan's earthquake and the Thai flood.  Although its corporate direction maintains towards eco technology (hybrid, fuel cell, EV) but it has not forgotten its 'challenging spirit' roots.  And you can tell from its concept showcase today including the world premier of the EV open-top small sports, the EV-STER, that Honda had maintain its sports DNA albeit recognising the need to change how we manufacture and use mobility products for both the environment and future sake.  Today, Honda showcased 7 next generation Electromotive concept models.

This is the AC-X, a next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicle which offers a more comfortable and enjoyable time in the vehicle during all driving situations, from urban to long-distance driving. With the choices of an "engine drive mode" for more aggressive driving or an "automatic drive mode" for more relaxed driving, the vehicle broadens the joy of mobility.

And of course the much anticipated small sports EV-STER - an all-rounder performer in an exhilarating drive and environmental performance that literally takes your breath away (if you thought the CR-Z was cool enough...).

And then the world premier of N-concepts which N stands for New Next Nippon Norimono (the new next-generation of Japanese mobility).  They may look weird and boxy to you but they're hell popular in Japan's Kei car market.  Considering Japan's socio-economics, population trend and the fact that Japanese (after what they have gone through) are a hell lot more conscious about ecology, a lot of automotive manufacturers have to ensure they continuously produce products that can stay relevant with the needs of the time.  So it isn't just Honda that will be driving this change.  We see other Japanese makes ensuring their products are energy-efficient, possible zero-emission and compact in size.

There's also the Fit EV which will be on sale next year.  It has two plug-ins on both frontal side of the car.  Exterior wise, looks like good old familiar Jazz, now with a striking blue colour.

Interior sports a premium-feel sort of light grey fabric and finishing.  The information display wasn't lit up, so I couldn't tell how cool the meters are.  But you can see from here, it's simple and straightforward.

This is definitely interesting for me because under the hood, there isn't an i-VTEC engine.  Instead, it has a 92-kWh electric motor built-in with a lithium-ion battery pack that can take you up to 198km per charge of 240V outlet for about 3 hours.

And of course, completing the hybrid family, how can we not have Freed.  Design is similar with a bit of exterior modification.  But true to its hybrid DNA, it has a different multi-information display compared to the current Freed we have.


Last but not least, how can ASIMO not appear at Honda's booth in Tokyo Motorshow 2011.  As usual, he's an endearment to all :) He is now more dexterous and can utilize his fingers to open bottle caps to pour a drink.  This is a notable improved precision in Honda robotic technology.  Anyway, cute as ever :)

Will be spending some more time in Tokyo this week, so more information to come ;)