Automotive Design Studios Envision the 1,000 lb. Car

By La Auto Show, PRNE
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Winner of the 7th Annual LA Auto Show Design Challenge to be announced Nov. 18

LOS ANGELES, October 20, 2010 - With consumers seeking to minimize consumption of the earth's resources,
auto manufacturers and designers are challenged to meet these growing socio-
and economic trends with style, while adhering to government and safety

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This year's Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge asks design studios to
envision a 1,000 lb., four-passenger vehicle that is both comfortable and
safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing
the styling consumers' demand. The entries range from vehicles made from
organic materials and powered by compressed air, to futuristic models relying
on the latest high-tech advancements.

For the last six years, the Design Challenge has been focused on the
Southern California automotive design community. For the first time,
Mercedes-Benz studios from Germany and Japan will join the competition to add
an international perspective. The winning design will be announced Nov. 18
during the Design Los Angeles Conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Judging criteria is based upon not only meeting the weight constraint
(1,500 pounds maximum with occupants), but also for the artistic beauty,
comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance
and user-friendliness of the vehicle.

2010 Design Challenge entries include:

General Motors Advanced Design California - The Cadillac Aera (Aero +
Era) takes an innovative and stylistic approach to ultra-light weight vehicle
design. A 1,000 lb., 2+2 touring coupe, with a range of 1000 miles utilizing
alternative fuel. Aera's highly advanced body structure utilizes a
polyhedral, 3D lattice, mono-formed frame with a flexible pressurized polymer
skin for body panels and glass, optimizing weight, aerodynamics and safety.

Honda Advanced Design Studio, Pasadena, CA - The Honda Air concept is a
vision of the future of lightweight and alternative fuel performance
vehicles. Inspired by the modern roller coaster, as well as skydiving
wing-suits, the Air is powered by a compressed air and pneumatic regulator
system. At just under 800 lbs., the powerful anthem of pneumatic propulsion
exemplifies Honda's concept of fun to drive. The pow[air] of dreams.

Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Japan: Advanced Design Center
Japan - Leveraging values of the classic "Jin-Riki-Sha" (human powered
rickshaw), the MAYBACH DRS "Den-Riki-Sha" (electric powered rickshaw)
embodies the attributes of a radically new car culture in the near future.
The result: A futuristic composition of ultra light construction with a
unique luxurious exterior and interior expression. Powered by a self
balancing electric drive unit and controlled by an onboard computer plugged
into a mega city's transport infrastructure, the MAYBACH DRS delivers a
smooth, luxurious journey cross town.

MAZDA Design Americas - With each component in the MX-0 redesigned to
carry out the functions of several MX-5 components, a multitude of parts have
been replaced with fewer, simplified ones, using innovative lightweight
materials. With its ultra-light mass pushed by high-torque electric motors,
the MX-0 delivers impossible acceleration and instant cornering. It's more
like flying than driving.

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.: Advanced Design
Center California - The Mercedes-Benz Biome utilizes technologies from nature
to achieve ultimate light weight and seamless integration into the ecosystem.
Grown in the ecologically sustainable Mercedes-Benz Nursery, each vehicle is
grown from two seeds. One seed, the front star, grows the interior of the
vehicle from Mercedes-Benz DNA, while the seed capsule creates the vehicles
exterior. Both seeds grow together and are genetically engineered into
customer's specifications.

Nissan Design America - The Nissan iV is a super-lightweight sports
tourer that showcases "organic synthetics," a revolutionary and sustainable
manufacturing technique in which automotive parts are cultivated like
agriculture. Every detail of the Nissan iV is engineered toward renewable,
lightweight strength. Derived from fast-growing ivy and re-enforced with
spider silk composite, the biopolymer frame is flexible and ultra-light, yet
extremely robust.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Germany - The Smart 454 is manufactured by
incredibly high tech robots that look as friendly and cuddly as our
grandmothers. The Tridion-frame (chassis), knit by "Smart Granny Robots"
(otherwise know as SGRs), creates complex shapes and forms out of carbon
fibre, enabling the geometry to be optimized in strength and weight.

Calty Design Research, Inc. - The NORI concept presents the idea that the
body and chassis are one as a PODULAR form; that is designed to be strong,
light and beautiful. Created using "nori," (the Japanese word for seaweed)
combined with a carbon fiber weave for strength, the NORI not only reduces
weight and the number of parts while capturing and generating energy, but
minimizes the impact on the ecosystem.

Volvo Car Corporation: Monitoring and Concept Center VMCC - Minimizing
weight and complexity, while maximizing driving enjoyment, is the philosophy
behind the Volvo Air Motion Concept. Thousands fewer components are employed
than in a traditional car thanks to the powerful, yet simple, compressed air
motors. The Volvo Air Motion demonstrates the beauty and purity of
Scandinavian design and delivers a guilt free, raw driving experience.

Entries will be judged by Tom Matano, director of Industrial Design at
San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Imre Molnar, dean of Detroit's
College for Creative Studies; Stewart Reed, chairman of Transportation
Design, Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and Clive Hawkins, president
of Aria Product Development.

About the Design Challenge

The Design Challenge is part of the Design Los Angeles Automobile
Designers' Conference that is held during the Los Angeles Auto Show Press
Days, November 17-18, 2010. Each year, for the past seven years, a new Design
Challenge theme is chosen and the major automotive design studios showcase
their talents, competing against each other to flex their creativity and
further explore new ideas in automotive design. The Design Los Angeles
Conference also gives designers access to design industry leaders and
provides the opportunity to address common industry issues.

The competition has received rave reviews from journalists and extensive
media exposure throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. For more
information, including images, visit

Jessica Schmidt, The Rogers Group, +1-310-552-4177, LAautoshow at

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