DaimlerChrysler SA has come up with what it calls a world first for this year's Auto Africa Expo… The East London-based manufacturer will bring its passenger and commercial vehicle brands together on one show stand.

DaimlerChrysler SA has come up with what it calls a world first for this year's Auto Africa Expo… The East London-based manufacturer will bring its passenger and commercial vehicle brands together on one show stand.

Housed in a 1 950 m2 stand in Nasrec's Hall Six, this is the largest manufacturer stand since the show's inception in 1998.

"It's only fitting that visitors to the expo are treated to show stands that can challenge and surpass the best that Frankfurt, Detroit or Paris can offer," Guy Francken, DCSA's Auto Africa Project Manager, said.

"With six passenger car and four commercial vehicle brands, and almost 70 vehicles on display, the DaimlerChrysler stands will represent, under one umbrella, each individual vehicle brand's unique character," Francken continued.

Stand designer Andrew Botha described the creation as "without question one of the most important and exciting commissions in the automotive world this year. The scale of the stand will have showgoers losing themselves in this 'show within a show'."

Planning for the show started 12 months ago and Botha was briefed to create a stand giving individual brands their own identities, without detracting from DaimlerChrysler's role as the brand umbrella.

Finished in black duco, polished steel and light maple, the Mercedes-Benz stand will include Africa's first official public display of the McLaren SLR supercar. The awesome new CLS 500 will also be displayed, alongside the new A-Class subcompact. The Maybach 57 will also be showcased at the stand.

The Smart stand, inspired by the collaboration between Swatch and the Mercedes Car Group, promises to be fun and fresh with its liberal use of clockwork elements. The full range of Smart vehicles will be displayed, including the new ForFour and the oh-so-cute V6 roadster.

Expected to be launched here in 2005, the much acclaimed Chrysler 300C will head this brand's offering. The stand will also contain the Crossfire roadster and new PT Cruiser 2,4 Limited.

Jeep's Cherokee and Cherokee Limited will be displayed in a forest setting complete with rocks, sand and grass and a three-metre-high interactive waterfall used at Jeep's Paris Motor Show stand.

The Mitsubishi stand will resemble a Japanese home and will contain the Lancer Evolution VIII and the Dakar-winning Pajero Evolution. The stand's serene setting will be offset by the frenetic action of Playstation WRC simulators, while the Tarmac Spyder concept will offer something different.

The commercial vehicle stand in Hall 9 - supplemented by an outdoor display area - will include the full range of Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner/FUSO trucks and buses. The facelifted Freightliner Argosy and the extra-heavy Western Star off-highway trucks will be displayed. The Commercial Vehicle Division will also introduce four new FUSO models to the South African market.

Central to the display will be the ultramodern two-storey DaimlerChrysler construction. It will house the DC Collection boutique store on the ground floor, and a VIP and media area with an audiovisual centre, fully functional kitchen, bar and meeting rooms on the second floor.