At the 1994 "Family Car" exhibition in Beijing, Mercedes-Benz presented a compact car concept specially developed for the future Chinese market, the "Family Car China" (FCC). The FCC, which was capable of being built in a variety of different versions, was part of an integrated motorization strategy for China which Mercedes-Benz presented to the Chinese government.
The main features of the FCC concept were its large interior space within compact exterior dimensions, coupled with highest standards of comfort, quality and environmental acceptability. "Above all the FCC offers superior standards of safety, reliability and adaptability," said Jьrgen Hubbert, Board of Management member of the former Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for the Passenger Car Division.
The "Family Car China" was radically different from conventional passenger car designs in this class. The body, with its pioneering one-box styling, presented an integral appearance similar to that of a modern people carrier. This had practical benefits: the driver, front passenger and up to three rear-seat passengers enjoyed standards of spaciousness which went well beyond what was previously the norm in the compact segment, putting the FCC on a par with an upper mid-range sedan. Nevertheless the FCC was shorter than normal compact cars in its class, with an overall length of 3.56 meters and correspondingly modest road space requirements.
The Mercedes-Benz FCC concept was equipped with a state-of-the-art 1.3 liter 40 kW (55 hp) gasoline engine with three-way catalytic converter. This gave the FCC a 0 - 50 km/h time of less than six seconds, offering good performance around town, a theoretical top speed of close to 150 km/h and fuel consumption of approximately four liters per 100 km.