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So you’re vegan and have this passionate love of food. You would like to pursue this passion further, but you’re not sure what the vegan cooking school options are out there. Happily, there are plenty! There are quite a few schools that focus on plant-based meals, and many that aren’t exclusively vegan can be geared toward you, so you won’t find yourself chopping chickens and preparing fish if you’re not into that.

There are many casual plant-based cooking classes around the world if you’re looking for something just for fun without any fancy certification. In this article, though, I focus more on professional programs that have varying degrees of intensity. Some require only a little time and money if you don’t want to be a professional chef; others will take you the full distance to running your own kitchen.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here’s a list of some popular schools around the world, with some information about each.

Living Light Culinary Arts Institute
Where is it? Fort Bragg, California
What do they offer? 100% vegan and raw food instruction
When do the programs run? Multiple times a year, depending on the program
Website: rawfoodchef.com

The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute is located in a small coastal community on the Mendocino coast. If you love the ocean, temperate weather, and raw vegan cuisine, you’ll love this school. Run by Cherie Soria, the “mother of raw food”, this is THE raw foods institute. This is the one that draws people in from all around the world and produces top-of-the-line celebrity chefs of all kinds.

There are several types of courses, including a Gourmet Chef Certification Series (6 weeks), Advanced Instructor Training Certification Series (4 weeks), Raw Food Nutrition Educator Series, and the full-out Professional Chef Series, which runs almost an entire year, including a 250-day internship at the school.

Many of the well-known raw food chefs around the world went to Living Light for their training, including Chad Sarno and Jennifer Cornbleet.

The Natural Gourmet Institute
Where is it? New York, NY
What do they offer? Public classes and professional chef training that are plant-based and vegan-friendly
When do the programs run? Inquire by e-mail on their website
Website: naturalgourmetinstitute.com

The Chef’s Training program they offer is an intensive, professional course which can be taken part-time or full-time, but runs 619 hours. This school does teach people how to prepare seafood, chicken and eggs, but if you’re vegan you can opt out of that. This school teaches a wide range of cooking styles, including how to ferment, prepare raw foods and macrobiotic foods, and even Chinese medicine and medicinal cooking. The emphasis is on whole, plant foods.

The Natural Gourmet Institute offers a fun Friday night dinner, where the people enrolled in the school prepare a fine-dining experience for the general public at big, communal tables (with candlelight!), so if you’re in the area, you could swing by and see what it’s all about.

The Matthew Kenney Academyformerly the 105 Degrees Academy
Where is it? Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
What do they offer? Chef certification program in raw foods
When do the programs run? Monthly, or several times a year for the more advanced classes
Website: kenneycuisine.com

Matthew Kenney offers very small and personal raw food chef’s training classes (typically 4-8 people). It’s designed for beginners and chefs alike.

There are two 4-week training sessions – Level 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, and Level 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine. The Level 1 courses run every month and is Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm. The Level 2 course runs 4 times a year and is the same hours as the Level 1 classes.

Cordon Vert School
Where is it? Altrincham, Cheshire, UK
What do they offer? Vegetarian leisure classes and workshops, a diploma program for professional chefs only
When do the programs run? Several times throughout the year; programs are short
Website: cordonvert.co.uk

The Cordon Vert School offers classes at their Vegetarian Society headquarters, and they even have rooms for lodging. They have a variety of vegetarian courses, ranging from 1 to 2 day workshops, classes for leisure, and professional classes. Their professional diploma class, a week in duration, is only available to professional chefs. However, their workshops and leisure courses are open to the general public, and occur frequently throughout the year.

Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
Where is it? Austin, Texas
What do they offer? Full professional chef program that is vegan-friendly, public classes
When do the programs run? Begins every August and February
Website: naturalepicurean.com

This school specializes in vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic and raw food preparation and cuisine. They offer a full 900-hour professional chef training program. All of the training takes approximately a third of a year, if you jump straight from training into internship. This is an intensive course that will fully prepare you to work in a natural kitchen.

They also offer public classes, though they’re sparse and seldom due to the emphasis on the professional chef training program.

The School of Natural Cookery
Where is it? Boulder, Colorado
What do they offer? Professional training as a foundation course, with the option to go further
When do the programs run? Most are in the Fall and Spring
Website: naturalcookery.com

The foundation course at the School of Natural Cookery is a 16-week diploma course where you learn fundamentals, bread making, gastronomy, nutrition and more. If you achieve a very high mark in this course, you may take a 4-week personal chef course or teacher training course. However, in order to pursue the teacher training course, you must have finished their classes as well as have five years experience with natural food.

Courses are typically offered for a spring semester and a fall semester and run the duration of a typical school semester.

Vegan Culinary Academy
Where is it? Anguin, California
What do they offer? Online courses and a 1000 hour professional apprenticeship
When do the programs run? Anytime
Website: veganculinaryacademy.com

There are two major highlights of this school – first, someone who is looking for a professional apprenticeship opportunity will find it here, and it can be completed in six months to two years depending on how much you work, and second, they offer a distance learning program. The online program requires only that you have a camera and a computer with internet, and each student gets personal attention from the instructors in addition to all of the class materials and lessons. The apprenticeship is geared toward those who are already chefs, dietitians or food service directors.

Heaven on Earth Vegetarian Institute
Where is it? Hamilton-Stoney Creek, Ontario
What do they offer? A vegan, macrobiotic and ayurvedic 3-module program
When do the programs run? Mid-October to mid-March for all 3 modules
Website: heavenstudio.ca

This institute offers a Holistic Health Consultant & Cooking Certification program that runs in 3 modules and goes far beyond cooking. It delves into many aspects of holistic health, including yoga, pranayama, diet and lifestyle changes for preventing diseases, and of course healthy food preparation. All of the cooking is vegan with the exception of one class, where fish is included.

Natural Kitchen Cooking School
Where is it? Mercerfield, New Jersey, Haddonfield, New Jersey and New York City
What do they offer? A natural chef training program
When do the programs run? October to May, one weekend each month
Website: naturalkitchenschool.com

This school has several locations and occurs during weekends, making it more accessible. The class sizes are kept small (12 or less) so personal attention and assistance can be given.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does cover the major vegan-friendly cooking schools out there. Every year, more and more small classes pop up in different cities, so if you’re just looking for some basic instruction and have no interest in pursuing a career in cooking, check out what your city (or nearby city) has to offer. If you are looking to get serious with preparing that awesome vegan food, there are a few great choices on this list that could help you achieve your dreams.

Sumerians were the first culture to quit hunting and gathering food and begin cultivation. Like many other inventions that Sumerian culture gave to the world, they also contributed in farming and food. Sumerian food consisted mainly of barley.

The raw material of most of Sumerian food was barley, barley cakes and barley paste were accompaniments of all major meals. Wheat and millet were other raw materials used in Sumerian food. Farming yielded vegetables and fruits, chickpeas, lentils, beans, onion, garlic, leeks, cucumbers, cress, mustard and fresh green lettuce was all part of the early Sumerian food. Sumerians were the first culture to settle down and leave the earlier nomad lifestyle. With settlement they began domesticating animals for food and labor. Goat’s milk and meat, eggs, pig; wild fowl, deer and venison were an integral part of the Sumerian’s food as well.

Everyday Sumerian food was probably barley cakes with onions and beans washed down with barley ale. Fish that swarmed in the rivers of Mesopotamia were a major food source too. Over fifty different types of fish are mentioned in the early texts dating before 2300 BC and the fried fish vendors had a thriving trade in the city of Ur. Food stalls also sold onions, cucumbers, freshly grilled goat, mutton and pork. Meat was more popular and common in big cities as compared to sparsely populated towns as they would spoil in the heat. Cattle were only slaughtered for consumption when they were nearly at the end of their working lives.

Information about Sumerian food can be gathered from archaeology and written records on cuneiform tablets. These sources also indicated the importance of barley and wheat cakes as the staple diet together with grain and legume soups, onion, leeks, garlic and melon. Besides farmed vegetables, Sumerian food also included fruits. These were apples, fig and grapes. Several culinary herbs and honey and cheese, butter and vegetable oil have also been mentioned in later Sumerian food records. Sumerians drank beer often and sometimes wine too. Preservation of foodstuff had also been evolved with meats being salted and fruits conserved in honey. Various other fruits including apples were dried to preserve them and a fermented cause is also mentioned in the Akkadian texts.

Rice and corn was unknown in ancient Mesopotamia, thus barley and its flour was the staple Sumerian food. Their bread was coarse, flat and unleavened, though an expensive version was made out of finer flour. Pieces of this bread were found in the tomb of Queen Puabi of Ur, left there for sustenance in afterlife. Breads were enhanced with butter, milk and cheese, sesame seeds and even fruits and their juices. Later records show truffles being made as well. With the advent of irrigation canals lush fruit and vegetable farms with fruits like mulberries, pears, plum, cherries and pomegranates were found in abundance. The most important food crop in southern Mesopotamia was the date palm. Goats, cows and ewe were domesticated for milk; geese and ducks for eggs and some 50 varieties of fish were a staple Sumerian food. Meats were cooked by roasting, boiling, barbecuing or broiling and preserved by drying, smoking or salting. 

During the Renaissance period, the rich and more prosperous members of a town, city, or region often wore elaborate and highly-decorated clothing that was hand crafted from a variety of rich and expensive fabrics and finishes. In fact, the wealthier a family was the more ornate and expensive their Renaissance clothing was. Your attire was was one of the primary methods of indicating stature and wealth during the Renaissance era.

The history of Renaissance clothing is one of rich and ornate design. There are a number of elements that can help one to identify this period in history and the fashion of that time. One can still see the influence of this era in today’s fashion.

Where the men are concerned, one of the most important pieces of clothing worn was the codpiece. This was used to cover the area that is known as the fly in trousers. This piece was sometimes exaggerated so that it will become the center of attention. There were different fastenings that were used to keep this area closed.

Today it is a big part of heavy metal and pop rock bands. In these modern performances it is usually made of leather. Unlike the period from which it originated from, it is not used to accentuate this area as much, but to draw attention to the design itself. There are many male performers in other genres who have worn the codpiece as well.

For women, the corset became popular during this time period. It was used to create a slender figure and to fit the acceptable ideal of the time. There are some people who think that this was uncomfortable due to the myths that they have been told. But, in many ways it was useful, especially for those who have back problems.

Today there are many variations of the corset that are worn in wedding dresses and other types of formal wear. Female entertainers wear them as well on certain occasions. Corsets can also be found at costume parties. There are some women who wear the corset so that they can create a smaller waistline.

These are just two of the most important items in the history of Renaissance clothing. It was a period of extravagance and this is mostly seen by the rich who took advantage of the luxurious fabrics that were available to them. Today one can still see the influences of this time period in the fashion world.

Some people think that automotive fasteners are only useful in automotive industries because of its name. However, such items are also depended upon by aerospace, petrochemical, waste processing, pharmaceutical and even machine industries. Typically, a fastener is derived from materials most specifically metals like iron, aluminum, brass, nickel and stainless steel.

Automotive fasteners are defined as mechanical components in order to hold two or more structures together. They are classified further as nuts, screw, rivets, studs, pins and tie rods. Each of these classifications has its own distinct characteristics. More facts on some of these types of fasteners are discussed in detail through the succeeding paragraphs.

Automotive nuts

Nuts are examples of fasteners used in order to secure a bolt or screw to a certain surface. Depending on the application where it is to be utilized, the nut is classified. Some examples of nuts are also classified depending on its shape and design. In this regard, subcategories include hex nuts, wing nuts, cap nuts and t-nuts. Lug nuts, plate nuts, jam nuts and self-locking nuts are also popular in a lot of automotive industries.

Automotive bolts

These are generally classified as threaded automotive fasteners with threaded pins or rods. Typically, it is easy to detect a bolt because it contains a head on one of its end. Bolts are offered in the market in different sizes and may only be placed depending on the hole’s size where it is to be used. The most common types of automotive bolts are wheel bolts, U-bolts, mounting plate bolts and hub bolts. Rod bolts, lug bolts and radiator bolts are also included in the list.

Automotive washers

Just by hearing the term washer, one may not be able to comprehend well about why it is classified under the list of auto fasteners. Well, automotive washers are those that have small and flat dishes containing holes on its center and are used to hold a load of automotive bolts. It is often found below the nut or the joint in order to prevent leakage as well as distribute pressure. Common examples of automotive washers are bolt lock, hardened, cylinder head, lug nut and radiator washers.

Other types of fasteners

Aside from the three types elaborated above, there are yet other forms of fasteners offered in the market. Studs, for instance are those that have double-ended features and are fastened at both ends. These fasteners are classified according to where they are used and the material utilized to make up such industrial products. Other automotive fasteners are rivets, screws and tie rods.

According to the dictionary, the avant-garde current it is an artistic current which fights against the already known and accepted forms and traditions, suggesting a revolutionary formula. In other words, this avant-garde may be regarded as an artistic innovative movement, which came out from a spirit of negation and revolt against certain traditionalism. It has become a synonym of innovation, progress and rebellion.

In fashion, the avant-garde style is defined through its personality. Many designers have been asked to define this style and they all added a certain term to define it: sophisticated, mysterious, intimidating, intriguing, striking.The accessories have to be very modern, unusual, but elegant. All clothes should be matched with hats, belts or shoes in the most unusual shapes.

The models may intimidate because what they wear is beyond a normal image. Avant-garde fashion means a little bit of theatre. Most of the time, the clothes cannot be worn in the street because they belong to a flamboyant style. They are very innovative and can be a bit shocking. Somehow, this style does not refer only to fashion. It means a mixture between fashion and art.The avant-garde fashion teaches women to have a certain attitude.

Avant-garde clothes mean unusual ones, which catch the eye and does not let you fade in the crowd. In fact, when we discuss about avant-garde fashion, we should not talk only about clothes. In the end, the result of the avant-garde has to be a whole form. For this reason, the make-up has to go hand in hand with the clothes.

The make-up has to express something new, unexpected, and even exotic. A niche for the avant-garde style in fashion was connected to men and the items designed especially for them.

At the beginning, women were the perfect models to underline these innovative ideas. Little by little, the designers extended upon men. First of all, they wanted to surprise through their clothes, later on every little detail mattered. One example may be the boots designed especially for them. A mixture of styles, the first tendency towards rejection and then the craziness of wearing them are some of the reactions encountered.

Not unlike other businesses, hotels have been forced to step up their game as people travel less and, when they travel, their budget is smaller in a still lagging economy. While the goal is always full occupancy and high occupancy rates, all hotels have unoccupied rooms that need to be filled. Hoteliers realize that their hotel are each one among many and that consumers have a variety of hotel options to choose from. Hotels realize that part and parcel of maintaining their occupancy rates is offering the right amenities at a competitive rate in order to attract new guests and retain returning ones. In the lodging industry, hotels must be ahead of current trends in order to better their occupancy rates which means being mindful of hotel supplies guests prefer as the mind their budgets.

Hoteliers start with the premise that most hotels offer the same basic hotel supplies and amenities such as complimentary toiletries, durable ice buckets and functional hangers. They offer the basics in an effort to make a guest’s stay comfortable by offering the conveniences of home. While the definition of “basic” hotel supplies will vary depending on the hotel class, most hotels provide drinking glasses, either plastic, an ice bucket of either shatter proof plastic or faux leather and an iron with ironing board. Hotels compete with one another for business. The amenities they offer are part of that competition which is why guests find many hotels in the same general area and price range with the similar amenities and hotel supplies.

Depending upon the sophistication of the hotel itself, guests may define ‘basic’ differently. Absorbent towels, bed linens with higher thread counts, bowed shower rods, and heavy duty wooden luggage racks become basic, expected hotel supplies in mid-grade hotels. Because they’re constantly competing for guests in order to maintain their occupancy rates, hotels are constantly striving to best their competition. This is truer the more sophisticated the hotel as they know consumers have a wide variety of options and the standards such as drinking glasses and coffee service are no longer enough. Instead, hotels must study what the new basic is and add it to their repertoire of hotel supplies and amenities in order to impact their occupancy rates.

5 Star hotels and resorts are on a unique plane in every way from the level of guest services they offer to the list of available conveniences and amenities offered to attract guests and increase occupancy rates. Microfiber bathrobes and slippers, monogrammed glass tumblers, video game systems and fog free shaving mirrors are among the high quality hotel supplies offered to guests at resorts and luxury hotels. They hope, and the numbers tell them, that by offering amenities that are above and beyond the basic hotel supplies provided by their competition they’ll not only attract and retain wealthier guests but increase their occupancy rates as well.

It’s a given that hotels, regardless of their rating and price point, want to please their guests by offering the best possible hotel supplies and amenities. However, when hotels are reviewing the amenities they may offer guests, deciding which specific hotel supplies they’ll offer will depend in part on their budget and what prior hotel guests have indicated they’d like to see or be likely to use. Hotel supplies are an intrinsic part of the hotel experience and their impact cannot, and should not, be under estimated as they can affect occupancy rates. All else being equal, the right hotel supplies can make or break a guest’s experience.

Market segmentation is widely defined as being a complex process consisting in two main phases:

– identification of broad, large markets

– segmentation of these markets in order to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.

Everyone within the Marketing world knows and speaks of segmentation yet not many truly understand its underlying mechanics, thus failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation exam and start with a narrow mind and a bunch of misconceptions such as “all teenagers are rebels”, “all elderly women buy the same cosmetics brands” and so on. There are many dimensions to be considered, and uncovering them is certainly an exercise of creativity.

The most widely employed model of market segmentation comprises 7 steps, each of them designed to encourage the marketer to come with a creative approach.

STEP 1: Identify and name the broad market

You have to have figured out by this moment what broad market your business aims at. If your company is already on a market, this can be a starting point; more options are available for a new business but resources would normally be a little limited.

The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate if the market you have just identified earlier is not too narrow or too broad for you.

STEP 2: Identify and make an inventory of potential customers’ needs

This step pushes the creativity challenge even farther, since it can be compared to a brainstorming session.

What you have to figure out is what needs the consumers from the broad market identified earlier might have. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.

Got yourself stuck in this stage of segmentation? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what could possibly trigger a buying decision? Answering these questions can help you list most needs of potential customers on a given product market.

STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets

McCarthy and Perreault suggest forming sub-markets around what you would call your “typical customer”, then aggregate similar people into this segment, on the condition to be able to satisfy their needs using the same Marketing mix.

Start building a column with dimensions of the major need you try to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide if a given person should be included in the first segment or you should form a new segment. Also create a list of people-related features, demographics included, for each narrow market you form – a further step will ask you to name them.

There is no exact formula on how to form narrow markets: use your best judgement and experience. Do not avoid asking opinions even from non-Marketing professionals, as different people can have different opinions and you can usually count on at least those items most people agree on.

STEP 4: Identify the determining dimensions

Carefully review the list resulted form the previous step. You should have by now a list of need dimensions for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a determining power.

Reviewing the needs and attitudes of those you included within each market segment can help you figure out the determining dimensions.

STEP 5: Name possible segment markets

You have identified the determining dimensions of your market segments, now review them one by one and give them an appropriate name.

A good way of naming these markets is to rely on the most important determining dimension.

STEP 6: Evaluate the behavior of market segments

Once you are done naming each market segment, allow time to consider what other aspects you know about them. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what triggers it. You might notice that, while most segments have similar needs, they’re still different needs: understanding the difference and acting upon it is the key to achieve success using competitive offerings.

STEP 7: Estimate the size of each market segment

Each segment identified, named and studied during the previous stages should finally be given an estimate size, even if, for lack of data, it is only a rough estimate.

Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by offering a support for sales forecasts and help plan the Marketing mix: the more data we can gather at this moment, the easier further planning and strategy will be.

These were the steps to segment a market, briefly presented. If performed correctly and thoroughly, you should now be able to have a glimpse of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.

This 7 steps approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most marketers. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should take a look at computer-aided techniques, such as clustering and positioning.

Nowadays, there are many different means of travelling which include airplane or ships or trains or buses etc. you can choose your medium by keeping in view your interest, your priorities and of course your budget. Lets have some general over view of different means of travelling.

AIR: Air travel is the most recent means of moving from one place to another. Since its first usage, it has become so popular due to its many advantages that it is now the most used mean of travel by people for long routes. It is taken as an expensive choice although there are many air lines that are offering air flights quite cheaply but over all it is an expensive but most quick mean of moving from one place to another.

SEA: Sea is one of the oldest means of travelling. Ships were used for roaming even by Greeks and Egyptians. It remained the main source of travelling for quite a long time but after the invention of aero planes, it has somehow lost its place. Nowadays moving from one place to another by sea is rarely done and even when done it is mostly through large ships which are built for luxurious cruising for the more privileged people. Middle and lower class people can’t really enjoy in those huge and luxurious vessels.

TRAIN: Moving from one city to another by means of train is considered as the most reliable and affordable mean of travelling. Trains now for long have remained a top priority of people for travelling. Travelling by train has all the ingredients that it takes for a perfect travel as it is quick and reliable and cheap mean of travelling.

People often ask us the same question: “What’s the best way to advertise my Home Improvement business and gather leads?” We’ve compiled a handy list of the 10 most useful tools to advertise your business and see results.

1. Build a Good Online Presence

For what may seem like an obvious necessity for most, some companies still don’t value the importance of a good website. While most companies do have an online presence, it may not be attractive or user-experience optimized. A good website should convey the businesses’ goals, experience, qualities, and services in an easy to read way. There should be a blatant call to action, and sufficient information for the viewer. If the potential client can glance at your page and get all the important information needed, you are that much closer to reeling them in.

 

2. Search Engine Optimization

Many people think that SEO is solely related to building links and advertising your website link. A large part of search engine optimization is related to the way your page is set up. Are you taking advantage of meta keywords and titles? Are you using headers properly? Does your site have a large amount of unique content optimized for targeting certain keywords? These are all important things to consider.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is a great way to advertise your services. You can hire a designer to create a small ad for you to embed into your Craigslist post, or simply use HTML to format a nice, easy to read, eye-catching advertisement. Re-post as per Craigslist’s guidelines and keep your business’s name out there.

4. Adwords

Google provides a great PPC (pay-per-click) advertising system which will target related websites that use Google Adsense to display your ads. You can target your chosen demographic, choose how much you’d like to pay for every click, and modify the appearance of your ad. They offer text ads, image ads, and rich media ads (flash, animation).

5. Social Media

These days social media is becoming the leading the way for advertising and creating a “friendly” relationship with your clients and fans. Create a Fan page on Facebook, establish a Twitter account, or create a blog. these are all great methods to attract your customers.

6. Blog Commenting

Find blogs related to your industry. Search them out, and post meaningful, relevant comments in the comments section. Be sure to add a link to your website, with a keyword that you’d like to target in the search engines. Slow and steady is the key to seeing results; keep at it on a daily/weekly basis and in due time you’ll see results.

7. Local Advertising

If your business is based locally, an ad in a local magazine or newspaper is a great option. Some companies provide direct mail advertising, which allows you to localize your advertisement in a demographic of your choice.

8. Content is King

Creating and publishing unique content will provide your website visitors with an interesting read, a potential link-back, and will improve your chances at getting picked up by the search engines. Google is beginning to heavily penalize websites with unoriginal content, and content of poor quality. Don’t get cut by the search engines. Keep your content interesting, unique, and greatness will follow.

9. Word of Mouth

Sometimes in these technological days we forget the importance of word of mouth! Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good recommendation. Treat your customers with respect and handle their job with excellence and you just might get the good word passed on.

10. Physical Ads

Physical advertisements such as billboards, bus benches, and other sign-age are often expensive, but they are generally high-profile and attention-getting. If you have the marketing funds available, give it a shot and see how it works. Create a marketing campaign and if the results are lower than you expected or needed, try another route.

While there are many methods that businesses use to market themselves, these are the top 10 ways to achieve positive results in this ever-advancing technological age. Try these steps for yourself and watch your business rise to success!

Introduction to the Topic

Australia is one of only a few countries with the capabilities to design cars from scratch and manufacture in significant volumes. Car sales in Australia are also an important factor of the Australian Automotive Industry and the Australian Economy in total.

The Australian Auto Industry (A.A.I. in short) can be divided into two interrelated sectors, the Production ( Manufacturing) sector and the Car Sales (or Import-Sales) sector, both equally important for the total performance of the A.A.I. On one hand, the Manufacturing sector refers to the market conditions under which Australian Manufacturing businesses compete, by producing vehicles and related products, with the main aim of maximizing profits. On the other hand, the Sales sector refers to the market conditions under which car representative sale businesses compete, by the sale of cars and related products, having the same aim with businesses within sector one.

It is very important to state the distinction between these two sectors within the A.A.I., as we will be talking about two different market structures, business strategies, competition conditions, e.t.c. In order to analyse these market structures it would be appropriate to develop two economic models, one for each A.A.I. sector.

1.1-Analyzing the Manufacturing Sector

There is only one market structure that can best describe the market conditions in the Manufacturing sector if A.A.I., this is Oligopoly. As there are only two organizations that produce cars in Australia, and these are Ford and Holden, the competition methods and pricing strategies are based between these two organizations. The following economic model shall help define the competition and economic conditions for the Australian Automotive Manufacturing market.

The first important characteristic of Oligopoly that needs to be stated is that prices between competitors tend to be “sticky”, which means that they change less frequently than any other market structure. This statement will be explained in more detail later on, when we will be developing the Game-Theory model, as it is a very important concept of competition. The second most important characteristic is that when prices do change, firms are likely to change their pricing policies together. These two characteristics can boost up competition within the market. Firms will either try to match rivals’ price changes or ignore them. This is depended on the Game-Theory that is explained bellow.

However, the recent market conditions for the Australian Automotive Industry and the actions of the Australian Government have worsen the competition conditions and possible pricing options available for firms in the market. The production and maintenance costs for a manufacturing business in Australia are already high and rising, mostly due to lack of economic resources and advance of technology. That is, as Holden and Ford try to compete each other, given that prices tend to be “sticky”, they are forced to focus on technological advantage and marketing. Both of these business sectors produce high costs. Furthermore, the Australian government has made it clear that is unwilling to further subsidize automotive organizations in the market. All these factors stated above produce a negative effect on the competitiveness of both firms. In other words, rising costs alongside with decreased revenue push firms in experiencing lower and decreasing levels of profitability.

Profitability and the level of competitiveness are highly interrelated in an oligopolistic market structure, being the two most important factors, alongside with product differentiation, in the competition policies that the firms follow. When we say that the level of competitiveness of a firm is very low, we mean that the firm cannot react effectively to any price changes or competition changes or even changes in production costs. This may leave the firm depended on its’ competitor’s pricing and competition actions, not being able to affect the market competitiveness at all. The firm is then exposed to external danger and can be pushed out of the market, or even worse to shut production and declare bankrupt.

1.2- The Game-Theory Model for Oligopoly

The Game Theory model is used to explain the pricing and competition policies of firms in an oligopolistic market structure. Furthermore, it can show the few different competition policies based on pricing that the two firms can follow, that is High and Low as stated above. All firms in this market structure follow a Game-Theory model, although it is surely more detailed than our example, in the process of trying to forecast competitors’ pricing and competition movements and also keep track of the competition levels in the market and market share. But how does this happen?

For example, let’s say that there are four different fields, each divided in half. These fields represent the pricing strategies that Holden and Ford may use in the process of competing each other. Field A and C represent a High-Pricing policy for Holden, while fields A and B represent a High-Pricing policy for Ford. Lastly, fields B and D represent a Low-Pricing policy for Holden, while fields C and D represent a Low-Pricing policy for Ford. When both firms decide to follow a High-Pricing policy they share a profit of, let’s say, $12 million. If Holden decided to move to a Low-Pricing policy it will experience a maximum of $15 million profit, while Ford’s profitability will fall to $6 million. The exact opposite may also occur, while if both firms decided to follow a Low-Pricing policy they would realize a maximum of $8 million of profit.

What we can identify from the above example is that firms in an oligopolistic competitive market rarely change their pricing policies because this may produce a negative effect on their profitability levels. However, Holden and Ford, being the only two firms in the Australian Automotive Industry, they will focus on competing through product differentiation and marketing. That is, they will try to compete by differentiating their products, for example by producing vehicles with different features, or even base their production on technological advantage. Marketing plays an important role here, as it is the main tool that delivers and connects the customer with product. For example, if Holden introduces a new driving technology that improves driving experience and safety and produces this technology alongside with a newly designed vehicle, it is quite likely that Holden will effectively differentiate its newly designed vehicle from a relative vehicle of Ford and lure more customers in the store. Holden may also use marketing techniques to deliver this technology to the public, in the form of knowledge; hence try to boost sales without changing its pricing policy. However, it is important to state that this new technology may produce higher production costs, if not evaluated properly; hence Holden can only rely in increasing its market share to gain greater profitability. The sales part, however, will be analyzed in more extend within the next chapter of this report.

The Game-Theory is not just a theory for the Automotive Industry in Australia, it’s a fact. It shows us that auto manufacturers in Australia have based their competition strategies on all the factors stated above and as much as they possibly can on pricing strategies. They may advertise that they have low prices, but in fact their prices are very stable. If we have a close look at Holden’s or Ford’s websites, we will identify that there is a huge variety of products and each firm competes in that. However, the new market conditions stated before have greatly changed the way auto manufacturers think of the future and this in turn may change their pricing and competition policies, or even determine their existence in the market.

2.1- Analyzing the Import/Sales Sector

While the auto manufacturers are considered to be operating in an oligopolistic market structure, importing and selling vehicles or relative products is a different story. The import and sale of vehicles is the second and equally important business sector of the Australian Automotive Industry. There are many different car selling businesses and we shall only consider first-hand sales, as second-hand sales in general are not included in economics and more specifically in GDP measurements. To enter the industry hard at all as there are not many barriers to entry, however someone who is interested needs to consider of the high costs in setting up an automotive dealership. All businesses in this market are mostly based on product differentiation to compete and while prices are not “sticky”, pricing competition is set up by the market mechanism and tends not to be considered a regular phenomenon. Lastly, cost analysis and cost management play a very important role. All of the above characteristics refer to the Monopolistic Competition Market Structure. In this market structure we will focus on two phases, the short-run phase and the long-run phase, each with different competition characteristics and outcomes.

An important factor that we need to state here is that when the costs of developing a vehicle in the manufacturing sector rise, then the cost for selling the vehicle for a dealership may rise as well. This is always depended of course on if the vehicle was produced in Australia and if it was produced overseas, under what economic conditions was it produced. Price might be “sticky” for manufacturers, however prices will change much easier in this sector if needs be. Here firms will change their pricing policies if costs either rise or fall and this is always depended on the market mechanism. The amount of competitiveness along with the amount of price elasticity of demand will depend on how many rivals the monopolistic competitive firm will have to face.

In such market the following situation is very common, a situation that helps us distinct between short-run and long-run:

Stage One

In this stage the firm experiences economic profits. However, this fact will draw new firms in the market causing the profits to be competed away.

Stage Two

The economic losses indicated in this stage will cause many firms to exit the market, as they cannot keep selling under these market conditions.

Stage Three

In the final stage, the market clears-up, or reaches equilibrium point. As all firms that needed to exit the market have done so, the market mechanism comes to the point where no economic profits/losses are realized by the firms. This is the point where the market is most stable.

Studying the situation above we can identify one very important fact for any monopolistic competitive firm in the Australian Automotive Industry/ Sales sector. That is that in this market structure, in the long run, firms will realize only normal profits and the market mechanism will eventually reach an equilibrium point. Hence, in the long-run firms will compete mostly through product differentiation. However, in the short run firms may experience economic profits or losses and this is what causes firms to enter or exit the market and “shows” firms how to compete and when to apply pricing competition policies.

Conclusion

The Australian Automotive Industry may be experiencing rough market conditions, mostly because there is no more government support; however competition and profit maximization is still possible. Thinking of moving overseas is not always a good option for the manufacturing businesses, as the Australian Economy needs the manufacturing sector, as it represents a reasonably big part of GDP.

Market competition conditions are well defined for every manufacturer or car dealership, hence any business in the market ought to use the available to them competition strategies and achieve higher market share and profitability level or stabilize its profitability levels. Either way, these are the main goals for almost every profit-motivated business in any market type under any market structure. However, every business ought to define the market structure that is operating in, so that it can then clearly define its goals, strategies and policies. The market mechanism is in all cases responsible for all the above strategies and most of the cases responsible for setting up pricing policies or indicating pricing and marketing strategies.