Fisita World Automotive Congress Closing Ceremony concludes at Beijing

The 34th biennial The FĂ©dĂ©ration Internationale des SociĂ©tĂ©s d’IngĂ©nieurs des Techniques de l’Automobile (FISITA)World Automotive Congress was held at China National Convention in Beijing from November 27th…

The 34th biennial The FĂ©dĂ©ration Internationale des SociĂ©tĂ©s d’IngĂ©nieurs des Techniques de l’Automobile (FISITA)World Automotive Congress was held at China National Convention in Beijing from November 27th to 30th, 2012. Over 2000 engineers, scientists and managers associated with the automotive industry from around 40 different countries congregated to discuss future of automobiles and technology being developed on parallel lines. The theme of the convention was “Automobiles and Mobility in a Low Carbon Economy – China and the World”.

The basic premise of this convention was the critical need for a new technology to take care of mobility demands in the auto sector while keeping these advancements affordable, and at the same time taking into account fuel quality tolerance, rural infrastructure and urban congestion.

FISITA or FĂ©dĂ©ration Internationale des SociĂ©tĂ©s d’IngĂ©nieurs des Techniques de l’Automobile came into being over 60 years ago with the sole purpose of bringing engineering talent from across the globe together on a common platform to share and participate in bringing about advances in technological development in the auto industry to bring about better, cleaner, cheaper and for efficient expansion in this ever growing sector.


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.


FISITA, the world body for automotive engineers, has awarded its highest honour to two outstanding leaders of the automotive industry: Prof. Dr. Franz F. Pischinger, Chairman of the Board, FEV Motorentechnik GmbH; and Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Group. The FISITA Medal is awarded in recognition of particularly distinguished achievement and leadership in the global automotive industry.

The medals were presented in front of 500 guests from all over the world during the FISITA 2012 Gala Dinner held on 27 November 2012 in Beijing.

Prof. Dr. Franz F. Pischinger

Prof. Pischinger has held leading positions in the powertrain industry for most of his 50-year career and is the founder of FEV Motorentechnik GmbH, a company which now employs more than 2,000 people and is a leading provider of powertrain engineering expertise to the world’s top automotive companies.

Prof. Pischinger served as President and CEO until 2003 and through his work and achievements with FEV has made a significant and lasting contribution to improving the fuel efficiency and environmental performance of the combustion engine and vehicle powertrains throughout the world. In doing so he has helped the global automotive industry to conserve untold amounts of energy and reduce harmful emissions from generations of vehicles on every continent.

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn

Prof. Martin Winterkorn is a technology expert, but not a technocrat. The Volkswagen Group’s positioning has steadily improved under his leadership. Volkswagen is set to become the trailblazer for the automotive industry with environmental technologies such as BlueMotion and the Volkswagen One Litre Car: XL1.

His leadership saw the Volkswagen Group respond to the economic crisis with classic instruments: with top technologies, strong products, 12 independent brands and the right organisation.

Throughout his many roles, he has always championed engineering prowess and technology. His uncompromising devotion to quality, combined with his visionary management, has brought the Volkswagen group to the very top of today’s fiercely competitive global industry.

As Prof. Dr. Winterkorn was not able to attend the ceremony in Beijing, Prof. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management for Volkswagen, China accepted the medal on his behalf.

Previous recipients of the FISITA Medal include: Giovanni Agnelli, Dante Giacosa, Hans List, Francois Michelin, Shoichiro Toyoda and Carlos Ghosn.