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World - Africa

Libya unveils futuristic vehicle worthy of 007

September 7, 1999
Web posted at: 10:58 p.m. EDT (0258 GMT)

TRIPOLI, Libya (CNN) -- With sleek styling and 21st century looks, a new five-seat passenger car threatens to rival any "Pocket Rocket" that ever rolled off the assembly lines in Detroit.

But this brand new vehicle, worthy of super spy James Bond, was actually developed and built thousands of miles away -- in Libya.

It's called Saroukh El-Jamahiriya or "The Libyan Rocket." Besides being the brainchild of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, it's being touted as the safest car on Earth.

Unveiled Monday to international journalists covering the summit of the Organization of African Unity and the 30th anniversary of the revolution that brought Gadhafi to power, the metallic green automobile sports tinted windows and aerodynamic lines.

Dukhali al-Meghariel, chairman of the Libyan Arab Domestic Investment Company, manufacturer of the prototype, hailed it as an unprecedented step in automotive history. He said the safety ideas were conceived by Gadhafi.

"This is the safest car produced anywhere, any place in the world," Meghariel said.

According to a company statement, the Rocket was designed around the need to protect passengers.

"The rocket-shaped ends of the car have been designed to greatly reduce fatal head-on collisions," said the press release. An intricate network of sensors activate crumple- zone protection and prevent rolling.

When questioned about the 007, high-tech look of what is intended to be a family car, Meghariel said it was "for all men and women ... all James Bonds."

The company plans to open a factory in Tripoli next month and begin production.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Organization of African Unity
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