January 17, 2005

Dodge and Volkswagen design studios win top honours in design contest

Los Angeles, California – The judges of the Los Angeles Auto Show’s Design Challenge have named the Dodge Superbee and Volkswagen Mobile Lounge as joint-winners of the first-ever automobile design studio competition.

As part of the auto show’s Design Los Angeles theme and automobile designers’ conference, studios were invited to create their vision of the “Ultimate LA Machine,” and each rose to the challenge, presenting a variety of 2-D renderings. The Los Angeles area has the highest concentration of automobile manufacturer design studios in the world, according to Truman Pollard, chief designer at Mazda Research & Development.

The Dodge Superbee, from DaimlerChrysler’s Pacifica Design Centre, is intended to reflect the California lifestyle, allowing owners to commute efficiently during the week and providing the ultimate tool to explore the Pacific Coast Highway on weekends. According to Brian Nielander of the Pacifica Design Centre, “It’s open and lightweight – almost a motorcycle on four wheels.”

Designer Reto Brun of Volkswagen/Audi Design Centre California said his studio considered two Los Angeles issues when designing the Volkswagen Mobile Lounge – an antidote to traffic and a better option for the area’s “limo-centric” entertainment culture. Whisper-quiet fuel cell technology whisks occupants towards their destination while electronically controlled tinted glass, an open living space and innumerable in-car amenities provide a supremely comfortable environment.

The entries were:

  • California Spyder: BMW Group DesignworksUSA

  • Dodge Superbee*: DaimlerChrysler’s Pacifica Design Center
  • Ford Scout 7: California Advanced Product Creation
  • Honda C2C: Honda Research & Development
  • Hummer Hr: General Motors’ 5350 Industrial Concepts
  • Hyundai NTT: Hyundai Kia America Design Center
  • Kia Kitsch: Hyundai Kia America Design Center
  • Lexus L500: Calty Design Research
  • Mazda Shinzui: Mazda Research & Design
  • Flugel Tue: Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America
  • Mini Canyon Carver: BMW Group DesignworksUSA
  • Mitsubishi Goku shin ka: Mitsubishi Research & Design of North America
  • Volkswagen Mobile Lounge*: Volkswagen/Audi Design Centre California

* Joint-winners

Judging the competition were Imre Molnar of the College for Creative Studies, Detroit; Nate Young of Art Centre College of Design, Pasadena; and Tom Matano of Art Academy University, San Francisco. Their decision was based on the criteria of spirit, road presence, “brag factor,” originality, “sex appeal,” function and features, and LA character.

“The contest gave designers the opportunity to venture into uncharted territory and think freely and creatively without real-world constraints,” explained Chuck Pelly, conference director and partner in The Design Academy, Inc. “The Design Challenge was a great outlet for the studios to really show their stuff and let their creativity fly.”

The entries can be viewed at www.LAautoshow.com.

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