'AfriCar' project leader sees key role for Sachsenring

Langen, Germany. Peter Mandos dreams of building a simple and robust budget car in South Africa for use in Africa. South Africans are to pay a maximum of 3,000 euros to fulfill their dream of mobility. In order to achieve an "African feel," art students from Johannesburg are working on design studies alongside specialists from Dessau.

Mandos introduced his project under the working title "AfriCar" at the Economic Forum in Kronberg, Germany. So far, all that's missing is the money.

For his feasibility study, the entrepreneur needs one million euros. Mandos hopes to use Sachsenring, the inactive Trabant plant, to further develop the project.

According to Elke Hoppe, co-founder of the Economic Forum, a further 6 million Euros are needed for construction of prototypes and testing. Phase three is the production of the vehicles themselves which would cost another 60 million Euros Mandos says. If investors can be found, he estimates that the car could be rolling off the production line in two-and-a-half to three years.

Sachsenring plays an important part in Mandos' plans. According to Mandos' plans, the Zwickau, Germany, plant would develop the vehicle concept, take care of factory planning and later help the South-Africans to procure the raw material. Also, the Saxons are going to train potential employees in South Africa and pass on their knowledge. The old Trabant two-stroke engine will not be used.

But before a modern two-stroke engine can be developed, Mandos said he can imagine the transitional use of a four-stroke engine from a Russian manufacturer to drive the vehicle.

Tags: Automakers

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