A Chinese team from SAIC Motors has been declared winner of the Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, for its Roewe Mobiliant design.
Hosted each year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, design houses from all around the world submit futuristic and unusual vehicles based around a central theme. This year, judges deliberated on the most effective answers to the theme, "Biomimicry & Mobility 2025 - Nature's Answer to Human Challenges". Vehicle designs took inspiration from nature, as well as addressing some of the modern world's most pressing transportation issues--such as congestion, pollution, sustainability and safety.
Despite strong competition from the likes of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, Mazda Design Americas and Chinese rival Qoros, SAIC's Mobiliant vehicle was chosen by judges. Badged under the Roewe brand--whose production cars are developments of the old Rover models built in Britain--Mobiliant is described as a single-seat vehicle for urban public transit. The judges were impressed with its concept of "mutualism", taking inspiration from the "balance and harmony found in nature when two organisms of different species exist in a mutually beneficial relationship". Phew...
Judges also decreed SAIC's concept the most optimistic, beautiful, and best at mimicking a truly sustainable transport system. Other judging categories included the car's comfort, convenience, servicing, operation, and life cycle--and even the car's "personality".
While the car may not be something you'll see for several more decades--and as public transit, something you may not even use--it's also a sign of the increasing talent and ingenuity of previously-ignored Chinese automakers. Beating teams from some of the world's top automakers, even in a design competition, is no mean feat.