Vehicle: FCC (Family China Car)
Where: ‘Family Car’ exhibition, Beijing
What: Family car for the Chinese market capable of being built in a variety of different versions, e.g. as a people carrier, pickup or panel van
Drivetrain: Four-stroke three-cylinder petrol engine, 1.3 litre displacement, 40 kW (55 hp), front-wheel drive, manual transmission
At the 1994 ‘Family Car’ exhibition in Beijing, Mercedes-Benz presented a compact car concept specially developed for the future Chinese market, the ‘Family Car China’ (FCC). The FCC, which was capable of being built in a variety of different versions, was part of an integrated motorization strategy for China which Mercedes-Benz presented to the Chinese government.
The main features of the FCC concept were its large interior space within compact exterior dimensions, coupled with highest standards of comfort, quality and environmental acceptability. ‘Above all the FCC offers superior standards of safety, reliability and adaptability,’ said Jürgen Hubbert, Board of Management member of the former Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for the Passenger Car Division.
The ‘Family Car China’ was radically different from conventional passenger car designs in this class. The body, with its pioneering one-box styling, presented an integral appearance similar to that of a modern people carrier. This had practical benefits: the driver, front passenger and up to three rear-seat passengers enjoyed standards of spaciousness which went well beyond what was previously the norm in compact cars, putting the FCC on a par with an upper mid-range sedan. Nevertheless the FCC was shorter than normal compact cars in its class, with an overall length of 3.56 metres and correspondingly modest road space requirements.
The Mercedes-Benz FCC met high standards in the field of safety, too. This was achieved mainly by the underfloor location of the compact engine/transmission module, which slid under the floor in the event of a frontal impact. Further occupant protection was provided by airbags, front belt tensioners and head restraints on all seats. The occupants were also well protected in a side impact, due to the higher seating position.
The Mercedes-Benz FCC concept was equipped with a state-of-the-art 1.3 litre 40 kW (55 hp) petrol engine with three-way catalytic converter. This gave the FCC a 0-50 km/h time of less than 6 seconds, offering good performance around town, a theoretical top speed of close to 150 km/h and fuel consumption of approximately four litres per 100 km.
The FCC was capable of being produced in a variety of different versions, from the five-door five-seater base version and a people carrier version with three rows of seats and capacity for seven passengers to a five-seater pickup with a small cargo area for bulky loads or a two-seater panel van with plenty of carrying capacity.
Something Mercedes-Benz excels at, as it has demonstrated on many occasions, is developing vehicles as part of a larger mobility strategy. The Family Car China is one such example, one which also shows that compact exterior dimensions can be perfectly compatible with large interior space and highest standards of comfort, quality and environment-friendliness.