Global Vehicle Players Show Progress in Transport

16 September 2002

The global automotive industry will show delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development its progress since the Rio de Janeiro conference of 1992 in achieving sustainable mobility.

Volkswagen is one of the most active participants among the main global car makers at the world summit. The focus of its effort is a technology exhibition which will be opened officially in Midrand tomorrow.

Among the other car makers at the summit is General Motors (GM), which holds 49% in Delta Motor Corporation of SA. GM will report on its sustainable mobility programme on September 1.

BMW will have two exhibitions covering technology and social responsibility. Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan, which is now the majority shareholder in Toyota of SA, will form part of the Japan exhibition pavilion displaying two hybrid technology cars. DaimlerChrysler SA is an official transport partner for the event and has run a media workshop on sustainable development. While Nissan and Ford are not involved, Ford has said it would have delegates at the summit to monitor events and trends.

Volkswagen's Midrand exhibition will show work being carried out on power train and fuel technologies that make efficient use of energy and reduce pollutant emissions.

The exhibition will include Volkswagen's ""one-litre"" car, which has been dubbed the world's most economical car. It will be the vehicle's first appearance in SA.

Volkswagen SA MD HansChristian Maergner said that the vehicle, which can reach 120km/h, gets its name from its ability to cover 100km using only one litre of fuel.

The 290kg car could be the first of a new family of cars. These include a car capable of covering a 100km distance on three litres of fuel, a hydrogen fuel-cell and electric-powered vehicle, as well as a car with a light aluminium body.

The one-litre car is licensed for road use. Since the concept calls for a reduced frontal area to minimise exposure to the airstream, the 3,65m-long body is narrow and low-built. Developed in a wind tunnel and built entirely from composite carbon-fibre reinforced material, it has a width of 1,25m and is just over a metre high. The body is made of magnesium with a reinforced plastic outer skin. The car is powered by a single-cylinder diesel engine.

Peter Hartz, a member of the Volkswagen board of management and the chairman of Volkswagen SA, and Klaus Volkert, president of the Volkswagen group's International Works Council, will represent the company in Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen also said the outcome of a study into the effects of foreign investment by German businesses on the living conditions in the respective developing and newly industrialised countries would be made public at the summit.

Volkswagen is involved in the analysis together with the German government and several other German companies and organisations.

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