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Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Mon, 03 Dec 2012 18:31:00 EST
Judges for the World Car of the Year Award have narrowed down the finalists to just four vehicles. Out of a total of 42 entries, only the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT-86 and Volkswagen Golf remain standing. For Volkswagen, this marks the second consecutive year the company has had an entry among the finalists, and the fourth time since 2009. In order to qualify, a vehicle must be on sale on two continents during the span of time between January 1, 2013 and May 30, 2013. A panel of 66 journalists from 23 countries then vote on the finalists.
Three vehicles have made the cut for the last round of voting on the 2013 World Performance Car as well, with the Cayman/Boxster and FR-S/BRZ/GT-86 running against the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Meanwhile, the Renault Zoe, Tesla Model S and Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid are duking it out for the World Green Car Award. Finally, the World Car Design of the Year Award is up for grabs between the Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar F-Type, and the Mazda6. Check out the full press release below. Overall winners will be presented at the 2013 New York Auto Show.
Part of the festivities that encompass the LA Auto Show is the annual LA Design Challenge. This year's winner was the Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept, or SHARC. It envisioned automated, zero-emission highway patrolling.
The 2012 edition of the challenge was to envision the future of highway patrol in the year 2025. The goal was to conceptualize a vehicle that would account for the needs of "dynamic urban environments." In addition to Subaru's participation in the contest BMW, General Motors, Honda and Mercedes-Benz, all took part in the challenge.
The SHARC is essentially a law enforcement land-drone. It is entirely automated and runs on renewable energy. Subaru envisioned a future where the Hawaiian Islands are connected to each other by a large highway system. Such an expansive area would require considerable manpower to patrol. The concept of an autonomous patrol vehicle would eliminate the need for a good number of full-time personnel.
Participants in the annual LA Design Challenge always manage to come up with edgy, wacky designs for future vehicles, but with a theme of "Biomimicry and Mobility: 2025" this year's crop of cars might be the quirkiest we've ever seen. As usual, automotive designers from around the world participated in this year's competition, and all the designs will all be unveiled next week during the LA Auto Show with a winner being announced on November 21.
Chinese automakers made a strong showing with Qoros, SAIC Motor, JAC Motors (the company responsible for the Ford F-150 clone) and Changfeng all bringing interesting takes on the biology, human intelligence and sustainability theme. One of the more innovative ideas among these automakers is the Qoros Silk Road System allows autonomous vehicles to drive in packs similar to how ants travel. Speaking of ants, the SAIC Motor Mobiliant (shown above) gets its design from the shape of an ant's body, and, like the insect, it can climb building acting as a personal elevator as well. The JAC Motors design also merges vehicle and building design, while the Changfeng LaBrea inspired by the design of muscle fibers.
Other entrants include Subaru and US-based design teams for BMW, Toyota and Mazda. BMW's duo of concepts mimic plant and animal life. The LA Subways concept acts as a submersible, single-person vehicle to take advantage of the LA river, with a shape similar to an Ocean Sunfish. The Sustainable Efficient Exploratory Device (SEED) imitates the shape of a seed pod, and uses propulsion methods inspired by a shark, dragonfly and a water bug. Mazda's Auto Adapt might be the most car-like concept of the bunch, while the Subaru Suba-Roo and the Calty-designed, Toyota e-grus are the most mind-blowingly awesome.