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Students Take Auto Interior Design Into Their Own Hands

Penton’s WardsAuto and College for Creative Studies to Unveil Finalist Designs in Student Competition on April 17 at SAE World Congress


SOUTHFIELD, MI — How can vehicles meant for families be designed and manufactured to make them a better fit for a growing family’s tight budget?


This is the challenge being posed to College for Creative Studies (CCS) students participating in the fourth annual "WardsAuto Interiors Student Design Competition" sponsored by International Automotive Components (IAC) and Lear, with support from SAE International.

The competition criteria asks students to envision a new vehicle interior that integrates the comfort and family-friendly features of large vehicles such as minivans and SUVs into a sedan or hatchback. Students are also encouraged to consider the "lightweighting" trend in auto design and engineering by selecting materials and features to help reduce weight and make overall design choices that achieve this vital automaker objective.


This exclusive WardsAuto initiative reflects Penton’s company-wide commitment to promote professional education and workforce development as cornerstones of competitive industrial markets.

Designs for the competition will be on display at the SAE World Congress (April 16-18, Cobo Center, Detroit, MI) in Ward’s booth M-1307.

Finalists will be unveiled during a ceremony at the Ward’s booth on Wednesday, April 17 at 4:30 pm. The finalists will then be honored at the WardsAuto Interiors Conference (May 22, 2013, The Henry Hotel, Dearborn, MI), where the grand prize winner will be announced, along with recipients of special awards from IAC and Lear.

The Lear Innovation Award will be awarded to the student whose work includes a specific design or technological innovation the judges deem particularly creative and forward-thinking. The IAC EcoBlend Award will go to the student whose design or concept best embraces green mobility or utilizes lightweight renewable/recyclable materials and other Earth-friendly innovations.


"We’re proud to be involved in the development of tomorrow’s designers," said Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of WardsAuto World. "Design students are so full of fresh ideas, and it’s rewarding to help them focus those creative energies on solving challenges facing auto makers. In fact, students from our last several competitions caught the attention of OEMs and suppliers through their work for this contest, and were hired because of their designs."

The student entries can be seen at Finalists will be posted to the site following the April 17 unveiling, and the winners will be celebrated online following the May 22 WardsAuto Interiors Conference.

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