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GM committed to its Expo role

2009. 18 April

by Yang Jian

( With GENERAL Motors will not change its plans for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo even though the financial crisis has hit it hard in North America and Europe, the head of its Chinese operations said yesterday when construction began on the Expo pavilion it is building jointly with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

GM, which is living off emergency funding from the United States government, regards the Expo as a "unique opportunity" to show the world that it is still a world leader in technology and innovation, said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China Group.

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 said.

GM, along with SAIC, is also a global partner of the 2010 Expo. It's an expensive sponsorship.

Wale declined to disclose GM's Expo budget but said the cost will be shared by the two companies.

Rong Wujie, chief designer of the SAIC-GM Pavilion, has told Shanghai Daily the cost of the pavilion is "sky-high."

The 6,000-square-meter bowl-shaped pavilion will be built alongside the Huangpu River on the Puxi side of the Expo site. The pavilion's theme is "The Road to the Future." It will present a vision of a safe, convenient and intelligent traffic system. Visitors will also see what vehicles might look like in 2030.

Future transportation will be petroleum and emission-free, Wale said. There will be no car accidents because vehicles will be able to "talk" with each other. Driving will be more fun and exciting.

The auto pavilions are always popular at Expos. At the Aichi Expo in 2005, visitors had to queue for up to seven hours to enter the Toyota's pavilion to watch a 30-minute performance of a robot band.

The SAIC-GM Pavilion will be the only one built by auto makers at the 2010 Expo.