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August 24, 2009

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Future mobility on display at Expo's only auto pavilion

WHAT will vehicles look like 20 years into the future? How will we move around cities? What will our lives become?

At the 1939 New York World Expo, the General Motors Pavilion proposed the idea of super highways for the first time in its exhibition themed on "1960."

Sixteen years after the Expo, the world's first freeway system was completed in the United States, taking the mobility of mankind to a new era.

In 2010, the automaker will propose the same theme through Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp at the Shanghai World Expo - "Take a drive to 2030." The pavilion will again predict the new traffic systems and vehicles to be used 20 years into the future.

A future traffic system will relieve cities of traffic jams. Future vehicles will be unpiloted. They will be able to communicate with each other to avoid accidents. Cars will also "talk" with roads to choose the best route.

The SAIC-GM Pavilion will allow visitors a glimpse at a future that is petroleum and emission-free, a future that is congestion and accident-free, and a future in which driving is more fun and exciting than ever before, said GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale.

The pavilion in silver will resemble a huge metal bowl along the Huangpu River in the Puxi section of the Expo site. Its external spiral design will convey a sense of modernity.

The metallic design as well as the smooth and fluid lines of the pavilion's exterior will be evocative of an automobile body.

The pavilion will have four levels with a waiting area on the ground floor and a VIP area for visitors on the fourth.

A new traffic system for Shanghai that will make the city free of traffic jams and accidents will be displayed in both models and multimedia in the main exhibitions on the second and third floor.

A four-dimensional movie - the chairs will move according to the film's plot - will be another highlight in the main section. The theater will be quite unique allowing 400 to 500 people to watch the 12-minute movie together.

Another highlight will be a concept vehicle that might be widely used in the future. The electrical vehicle will be able to communicate with other cars and roads.

A 200-square-meter screen will be set up on the facade of the pavilion to show movies filmed by Chinese students about their prospects for the future.

Have you ever written a letter to yourself to be opened in 20 years or can you imagine the feeling you would get by receiving a letter from yourself written 20 years ago?

At the SAIC-GM Pavilion, visitors can write a letter to themselves or their friends to be kept and sent to the address 20 years later.

Visitors can write down their feelings after the visit as well as their hopes for the future to put into the "space-time mailbox," says Jin Qi, director of the pavilion.

He said the pavilion would collaborate with China Post to ensure people would get the letter.

Auto pavilions have proven popular at Expos. At the Aichi Expo in 2005, visitors had to queue for up to seven hours to enter the Toyota pavilion.

The SAIC-GM Pavilion °?°?°?°?°?°?°?will be the only one built by automakers at the 2010 Expo.

Moreover, the global financial crisis that hit General Motors in North America and Europe makes its Expo Shanghai pavilion again a world focus.

The company will not change its plans for Expo despite the financial crisis, Wale said.

GM regards Expo as a "unique opportunity" to show the world that it is still a leader in technology and innovation, he said.

China is important to GM, so the company will not only be committed to its Expo promise but also to its operating plans in the country, Wale added.

The pavilion expects 3 million visitors with about 60 percent booking though online reservation.


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