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The customisable youth car of 2020

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March 8, 2007

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March 9, 2007 If like us, you find it hard to picture what a mobile phone might look like 15 years from now, try to imagine the car our childrens’ children will drive. Graduates from Coventry University’s Automotive-Design MA course recently began a project to develop a such a vehicle for the year 2020. The aim is to create a vehicle that can be easily customised to reflect the individualism of its owner, or the style and values of a group. The premise is that trendy teenagers create their own fashion and deliberately try to stand out from their peers. The idea of customising their car appeals to these people and encourages a stronger bond between the owner and their car. It’s a common trend with personalised iPods, mobile phones and other gadgets, and is something likely to grow. More than just superficial graphics, the interior of the car will also be customisable, with a gaming or music theme and option package.

Coventry Automotive-Design graduates Kazanori Inomota, Edward Stubbs, and Mujammil Khan-Muztar, banded together to develop the customisable iconic youth car for the international market. With Scion in their sights, they intend to create a vehicle that can cross international cultural markets, and they will be presenting their design to OEM’s worldwide.

“We were exploring ideas for a future car,” says Edward Stubbs, “and the idea of separatism was something we wanted to explore.” It comes from the Japanese notion of ‘Harajuku’ gangs, where trendy teenagers create their own fashion and deliberately try to stand out from their peers. The idea of customising their car appeals to these people and encourages a stronger bond between the owner and their car. It’s a common trend with personalised iPods, mobile phones and other gadgets, and is something likely to grow. Mujammil continues, “It doesn’t have to mean crazy paint-jobs and stick-on flames; more likely people will want a ‘music-studio option’ or a ‘gaming experience option’, which represents what’s important in their life.”

They looked at Scion, which explored a similar cultural market in North America with great success, and Smart, to explore the long-term lifestyle implications of using our cars. Kazanori: “It’s entirely possible that in the future we can be using our cars as surrogate homes and offices, so we intend to explore the ‘liveability’ of the car.”

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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