January 20, 2015
SECU Blog from Abroad: Day 3
By: Torie Johnson
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)
Cars are a Big Deal in Torino (Monday, January 19, 2015)
The SEC exchange program with the Politecnico di Torino does not focus on automotive engineering, but as discussions here shifted to expansion beyond the mechanical area, Politecnico’s administrators took the opportunity to showcase the unique relationship between the institution and Italy’s cars.
Our delegation, which you’ll recall includes members of the Auburn University Education Abroad office and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, was treated to an entertaining session with several Politecnico students who design and build energy-efficient cars. The team, H2politO, has won numerous awards in the Shell Eco Marathon, a European competition involving more than 200 teams, and gave us a hands-on look at their almost lighter-than-air vehicle. (Auburn administrators hope their experience translates to similar Formula 1 racing competitions in which several SEC schools participate, making this exchange even more valuable.)
After visiting with the students, we walked across the street, but still on campus, to the Torino General Motors Engineering Center. There, we learned how Politecnico students and alumni are engaged with GM employees to develop fuel efficient diesel engines for drivers world-wide.
And in the final activity of the day, we received an insider’s tour of the Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli Plant, which will always be remembered as the Maserati place. Fiat makes two models of its luxurious Maserati in Torino and many Politecnico students are employed by the company. While on the tour, we learned how the Maserati is built, assembled and painted, and countless levels of safety and efficiency protocol.
According to our tour guide, it takes about six months from when a customer orders a vehicle until it’s delivered, and the U.S. is Fiat’s leading customer for the made-to-order autos. We didn’t get a certificate for a discount on the $100,000 vehicle, but we did get to sit in them!