DatelineMSNBC: Crash Tests
First up is the Subaru Impreza on its maiden voyage down this runway.
‘¯?This is what we want to see ‘¯? the safety cage remaining intact, all of the crash damage confined to the front end of the vehicle,‘¯? says Brian O‘¯?Neill, president of the Insurance Institute, after viewing the crash test video.
O‘¯?Neill and his staff send the Subaru Impreza to the head of its class. Not only do they give it a ‘¯?good‘¯? rating, they make it a ‘¯?best pick.‘¯?
I’m a little skeptical of their methodology but I’m happy to hear it’s a very safe car.
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Fortune: Samsung’s Golden Touch
This is Japan’s worst nightmare. Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita, NEC, and Toshiba are all losing money. Sony has been limping along, barely profitable. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics, which started out in 1970 making cheap 12-inch, black-and-white televisions under the Sanyo label, is entering the top tier of the world’s technology companies. It’s no longer a copycat, making stuff designed by others. And it’s no longer emulating the Japanese corporate model by promoting and rewarding employees on the basis of seniority alone, or by propping up losers.
Instead, Samsung Electronics has become a truly innovative company, creating cutting-edge technology across a spectrum of product lines, including combined cellphone and handheld devices, flat-screen TVs, and ultrathin laptops. Last year it ranked fifth in the world in patents, behind IBM, NEC, Canon, and Micron Technology–but ahead of Matsushita, Sony, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, and Fujitsu. The company “can’t be classified as a replicator of other people’s technology” anymore, says Jonathan Dutton, head of equity research for UBS Warburg in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics made $2.2 billion in 2001, on sales of $24.7 billion–not its best year by a long shot, but not bad considering the times. It has built strong positions in memory chips (the world leader), thin-film displays (first, again), and wireless communications (fourth in handset production). At home it is the strongest of the four major chaebol. Hyundai (No. 2) is being split up among the sons and relatives of founder Chung Ju-Yung. LG (No. 3), the former Lucky Goldstar, has fumbled major investments and is losing money. Daewoo, the smallest, has suffered a spectacular meltdown, and founder Kim Woo Choong is in hiding abroad. With more than $100 billion in revenues, the Samsung Group is by far the largest corporate presence in South Korea, the equivalent of what a combined IBM-Intel-Citigroup-Caterpillar-Aetna would be in the U.S. And of the 25 companies that make up the chaebol, by far the most important is Samsung Electronics, which accounts for a quarter of the group’s total revenues and three-quarters of its total net income.
DatelineMSNBC: Crash Tests