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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.
This year marks 30 years of sales for the Toyota Camry in the US, and in that time, it has amassed more than 10 million sales. In its first year on the market, the Camry sold 52,651 units, but it has gone on to become the best-selling car in the US for the last 11 years.
Toyota says that "virtually all" current Camry models sold in the US are made here, and three-quarters of all Camry contents are domestically sourced. Scroll down for the official press release from Toyota, and be sure to check out our gallery of images showing every model year and bodystyle of the Camry since it first went on sale in 1983.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is not long for this world. According to the manufacturer's own fleet website, the rugged FJ will be discontinued after the 2014 model year, with the companies final orders due in June of next year.
Toyota first launched the FJ Cruiser in 2006 as a 2007 model, and aside from minor year-over-year changes, it has not been substantially updated. The FJ is the modern successor to the original FJ40 Land Cruiser that Toyota produced from the 1960s all the way up through 1984, when the automaker decided to better focus on its larger, four-door Land Cruiser line. Currently, it uses a 4.0-liter V6 engine with either rear- or four-wheel drive, and is available with either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Interestingly, word of the FJ's demise comes not long after Toyota's US boss, Bill Fay, reaffirmed his company's commitment to body-on-frame trucks in late July.
Also of interest, Toyota's fleet website states that the 2014 model year Prius range will have "minor updates," though it's unclear what those are as of this writing. When Autoblog reached out to confirm these developments with Toyota, spokesman Curt McCallister reminded us, "As is our corporate policy, we don't discuss future products beyond the present or upcoming model year."