2004 Daihatsu UFE2 Hybrid Concept

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(from Daihatsu Press Release)  ‘Green’ car expert, Daihatsu, is to unveil a record-breaking concept car at ‘The Sunday Times Motor Show Live’ together with a host of eye-catching production models – specially customised for the show.

First seen at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the UFE2 hybrid has been verified as the world’s most efficient four-seater with the lowest ever recorded drag coefficient of 0.19 Cd.

Standing for ‘Ultra Fuel Economy’ – the aluminium and composite-bodied minicar weighs only 570 kg and has a pleasingly tapered, teardrop shape with twin gull-wing doors hinged in the centre of the roof.

The spacious four-seat interior is equally futuristic, with a central control unit housing all the major controls including a steer-by-wire system which replaces the conventional steering wheel.

Power is via a low-polluting three-cylinder 660 cc direct-injection petrol engine linked to a compact, lightweight generator and permanent electric motor.

The UFE2’s secondary batteries are advanced nickel-metal hydride and the gearbox is an automatic CVT (continually variable transmission).

Strictly monitored tests have recorded an astonishing 170 mpg-plus for the UFE2 – equivalent to travelling 60 km on one litre of fuel.

Daihatsu is also taking part in the ‘Taster Test Drive’ programme at ‘The Sunday Times Motor Show Live’ – 27 May to 6 June.

Any showgoer with a general admission ticket and a current driving licence can drive one of a range of Daihatsu models on a specially-devised city route within the grounds of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. Up to two passengers can also take part, with all drives being supervised.

Meanwhile, on Stand 5140, Hall 5, visitors can see the whole range of imaginative Daihatsu vehicles such as the new Copen sportscar, super-frugal Charade, YRV Turbo 130, Sirion supermini, Terios mini-4x4 and even the new Extol compact van.

In addition, many of the cars have been specially customised for the show with – in some cases – lowered sports suspension, bigger wheels and tyres and special leather interiors and paint treatments.

Daihatsu’s UK management will gauge public reaction to the striking exhibits before deciding on future special editions or accessory packs.

The West Bromwich-based importer’s first quarter sales are more than one third higher this year at 36.93 per cent up, while new dealer appointments have averaged one per week in the same period, with the network now standing at 104 outlets.

Daihatsu is also celebrating a dramatic improvement in the ‘J. D. Power and Associates 2004 Customer Satisfaction Index’ where it was ranked 7th overall out of 33 manufacturers – up from 11th in 2003.

Furthermore, Daihatsu was the most improved brand for ‘Service Satisfaction’ with a 62 point increase on last year, making it 3rd overall instead of 16th. Daihatsu ‘Ownership Costs’ showed an equally impressive 30 point improvement, giving it a 5th placing instead of 10th.