2012-12-07 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) Friday afternoon Pope Benedict XVI received an early Christmas present, two new Popemobiles. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class have been specially crafted and fitted out with all the latest technology to allow the Pope to be close to the people he meets during his apostolic journeys, in complete safety and comfort.
Pope Benedict XVI will use the new Popemobile Saturday, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, during his traditional journey to the heart of Rome to pay homage to the statue of the Virgin in Piazza di Spagna.
Vatican Radio's Christine Seuss spoke to Thomas Zeeb, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart, Listen:
The new Class M Popemobile includes top-of the range air conditioning and lighting, as well as a communications system between the driver and the rear dome. The body of the car is, as usual, mother of pearl white and a few centimeters lower than the previous model, to allow easier air transport, which is essential in the many trips that the Pope undertakes.
The design of the new Popemobile began a year ago and it took a total of nine months to adapt the car to the needs of the Holy Father. The concept and production were carried out by the Mercedes Benz engineers with the support of external partners. The car runs on unleaded petrol, as with the previous models.
The Popemobiles at the end of their road-life, are housed in the respective museums of the Vatican City State and Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart.