The 34th biennial FISITA World Automotive Congress Closing Ceremony concluded proceedings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing.
More than 2,000 engineers, scientists and managers from 40 countries converged on the Chinese capital for what promised to be one of the year’s most important meetings on the future of the automobile and technology. Taking place from 27-30 November, the theme for the FISITA 2012 Congress was: ‘Automobiles and Mobility in a Low Carbon Economy – China and the World’.
Opening the Congress, FISITA President Ted Robertson said:
“The world urgently needs vehicle technologies that recognise the mobility demands of rapidly developing automotive markets, where the issues of affordability, broad fuel quality tolerance, urban congestion, and rural infrastructure are paramount.”
“FISITA was founded more than sixty years ago to share knowledge among the world’s automotive engineers and to contribute to the development of automotive technology world-wide. Nowhere has the collaboration and sharing of engineering and technical knowledge and skills been seen more clearly than in China.”
Keynote speeches followed from senior politicians including Prof. Wan Gang, Minister of Science & Technology of the Peoples Republic of China, who told delegates that a comprehensive strategy to support a globally competitive “New Energy Automotive Industry” in China was a high priority in the country’s twelfth five-year-plan.
This in turn was followed by a panel discussion featuring industry leaders including Dr. Jochem Heizmann (Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen & CEO Volkswagen China); Jon Lauckner (Vice President & CTO, General Motors); Xu Heyi (Chairman, Beijing Automotive Group); Tadashi Yamashina (President, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing China); Olaf Kastner (President & CEO, BMW Brilliance Automotive) and Zhao Fuquan (Vice President & CTO, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group).
Mr. Yamashina presented Toyota’s roadmap for energy diversification which he explained was based on the company’s belief that “Environmentally friendly cars can only contribute to society through widespread use”. He told the Congress that Toyota would continue to develop technology in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) because, “although HEVs alone cannot solve all the energy challenges we face today, they are still a vital stepping stone towards full electrification in the longer term.”
Mr. Kastner outlined the integrated approach of BMWi., the group’s new EV brand which will debut in 2013. He emphasised the need for a “unified infrastructure for electric vehicles,” and said that the BMW group would, “focus on making EVs which are affordable and which are not merely tolerated by customers, but which are capable of inspiring “joy” to the same or greater extent as today’s conventional powertrain vehicles.”
Dr. Zhao of Geely set out his company’s strategy to focus primarily on the safety performance of its vehicles, arguing that this was far more important for domestic Chinese brands than international brands due to existing customer perceptions.
“When we look at the Chinese market, the pie is certainly getting bigger and Chinese companies are working very hard for their share.”
The company believes that world-class performance in tests such as CNCAP will help Chinese OEMs improve their margins and take their place among the older, established global brands. Geely has even built its own dedicated safety test centre and crashes hundreds of vehicles a year to optimise the safety of its new products.
In all, more than 650 technical papers were presented by experts in all key areas of vehicle technology during the three day conference.
Other features of FISITA 2012 included:
- A major commercial exhibition of 16,000m2 with more than 120 global companies showcasing their vehicles, components and technology solutions
- Technical tours to important facilities such as Beijing Electric Vehicle Company; CATARC; Tianjin Lishen Battery Co and the Beijing Institute of Technology
- A Student Congress & FISITA Travelling Fellowship enabling young engineers from around the world to present their research work and visit R&D facilities in China.
The Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Ingénieurs des Techniques de l’Automobile (FISITA) was founded in Paris in 1948 with the purpose of bringing engineers from around the world together in a spirit of co-operation to share ideas and advance the technological development of the automobile.
FISITA is the umbrella organisation for the national automotive societies in 38 countries around the world representing 185,000 automotive engineers. FISITA provides a platform for the world’s automotive engineers to share knowledge for the advancement of every aspect of automotive technology. In this way, FISITA contributes to the development of efficient, affordable, safe and sustainable automotive transportation.
The biennial FISITA World Automotive Congress is recognised as the leading international forum for the exchange of knowledge in all areas of automotive technology, attracting thousands of engineers, scientists and executives.