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The University of Sussex

 30 Aug 2001 

Cars of the future put under the spotlight at major new conference

A major conference to examine and challenge the latest ideas in car production will be held at the University of Sussex on September 18 and 19, 2001.

More than 200 car designers, manufacturers and developers are expected to attend the event, which will address themes such as:

  • How to keep pace with fast-changing fashions in car technology.
  • Car Engines of the future: petrol, diesel, hybrid, fuel cell or steam?
  • Gadgets and gizmos - how to match car design with customer expectations.
  • The skills gaps of engineers in the car industry.

Dr Peter Childs, reader in engineering at Sussex and the main coordinator of the first Total Vehicle Technology Conference, says the purpose of the event is to allow the engineers, managers, stylists and designers to debate and exchange ideas on all aspects of vehicle production.

"There is a realisation among some major players and commentators that current engineering design and business strategies are just not going to work within the projected automotive industry environment," he says.

The event, which is supported by the Automobile Division - Southern Centre of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), includes presentations by Jim Mason, business development manager for Worthing-based engineering consultants TWR, on how to win customers in a worldwide market, and Bernard Robertson, senior vice-president of engineering and technology of the DaimlerChrysler Corporation, on global technology.

Other speakers include Professor Fred Bayley, who will discuss the potential future for steam engine cars, and Chris Milburn, chief designer of TWR, on the importance of imaging and branding for car manufacturers. As Dr Childs points out: "Market research allows the companies to discover what customers want, but does not allow an advantage of one company over another. This is when brand reputation becomes important. The role of the designers is to style a car so that it fits the perception and aspirations of the customer."

 Notes for editors 

For further information, please contact Dr Peter Childs on Tel. 01273678793, email,

Or Jacqui Bealing, or Alison Field, University of Sussex Press Office, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or

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