Michelin engineering competition nets a decade of innovations

Jan. 1, 2020
First introduced at the 2002 North American International Auto Show, the Michelin Challenge Design program is celebrating its tenth year.
First introduced at the 2002 North American International Auto Show, the Michelin Challenge Design program is celebrating its tenth year.

“Through Michelin Challenge Design, we obtain the foresight to address potential transportation challenges and can use our research and development to better prepare everyone for a greater, sustainable mobility future,” notes John Moloney, vice president of original equipment marketing.

The program has seen dramatic growth in its first decade, having received nearly 3,000 entries in that time from participants representing 98 countries.

In the first year, 2003, 17 of 125 submissions were selected to be displayed in the exhibit. This year, 34 works were selected out of a record 970 entries.

While the challenge has doubled the works displayed, the number of submissions has increased by more than 700 percent.

Repeat jurors, including Freeman Thomas of the Ford Motor Co.; David Marek, Honda R&D Americas; Gecza Loczi, Volvo Monitoring and Safety Center; Frank Saucedo, General Motors Advanced Design, say the quality of the work submitted for judging has increased each year as well.



The jury has included 40 judges from all over the automotive industry. Among the more than 20 organizations represented have been BMW Designworks, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan. Newcomers for 2011 include Phil Zak from the Hyundai Americas Technical Center; Franz von Holzhausen of Tesla; and Anne Asensio from Dassault Systemes.

Interest from the design community that the program serves to support and encourage is evident by a 50 percent increase in the number of participating jurors from the 2003 to the 2011 juries, according to Moloney.

Stewart Reed, chair of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design who participated first as juror and then as jury chairman, has been a part of every Michelin Challenge Design jury.

In the first NAIAS display, the program focused on work from iconic and inspirational Italian designers. Then, the theme paid homage to Michelin’s home in France, as participants were challenged with creating design concepts that reflected the unique character of French design.

Later design challenges looked at a possible future for vehicles in China and the influence of German design. In 2009, participants expressed their vision of America’s iconic vehicle design under the theme of “Brave + Bold.”

Transportation and industry solutions explored through the challenge have included alternative powertrains; vehicle-to- vehicle safety issues; fuel-efficient, smaller vehicles and at the future of electrifying vehicles.

This year’s theme is entitled, “Plus 10: The Best is Yet to Come.” The concept for 2012 is “City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity.” Participants are asked to present their vision of future urban transportation for Paris, Shanghai, Mumbai, Rio or Los Angeles. Each of these cities has a specific set of challenges, and “disruptive innovation may be what each needs to get transportation from the formula in use today to that of 2046,” says Moloney.

For more information, visit www.michelinchallengedesign.com and www.michelin.com.

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