Thu, Aug 05, 2010 - Page 3 News List

DPP unveils its ‘Kitty Hawk II’ campaign vehicle

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

Next time you see a sleek black truck resembling a transformer pull into your neighborhood, hop on for a cup of coffee.

This was the message the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gave supporters yesterday as it unveiled a new 3.5-tonne truck capable of transforming into a coffee stand or a makeshift concert stage.

Costing about NT$2 million (US$63,000), the truck, which will be painted with election slogans, can hold multiple flat-screen TVs, speakers and coffee machines. It even has its own TV commercial.

At the press of a button, the top of the truck folds up, the two sides open out and unfold to reveal a 1m stage.

Volunteers working on the truck, known as the “Kitty Hawk II” — a play on DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nickname — will be wearing black uniforms. They will drive it around the country in the coming weeks to generate support for DPP candidates in the Nov. 27 special municipality elections.

The Kitty Hawk II is based on an earlier and much larger “Kitty Hawk I,” another election truck that was created by the party’s youth department.

However, the lease for that truck was not renewed after party officials recognized that the vehicle, which was more than twice the size of the Kitty Hawk II, was ill-suited to navigate the nation’s many nooks and crannies, especially in rural townships.

“At first, we had our doubts on whether the Kitty Hawk plan would work, but now it’s turning out better every year,” DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said.

Along with the truck, the DPP intends to use at least 60 small folding bicycles and four or five vintage vans for its fleet before the elections.

The total price tag for the cash-strapped party is estimated at NT$5.5 million.

Wu said the party paid for the new fleet by auctioning its previous fleet of folding bicycles, as well as through small donations.

“Everything added up,” he said.

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