First introduced at the 2002 North American International Auto Show, the Michelin Challenge Design program now celebrates its 10th year. The program has seen dramatic growth in its first decade and will celebrate this milestone by returning to the Auto Show with an exhibit displaying various forms of design innovation and examples of the partnerships necessary to make this kind of program a long-term success. 

Created to recognize and support design by providing an opportunity for designers from all over the world to present their most interesting works at one of the world’s premiere auto shows, the program has seen dramatic growth in its first decade.

Michelin Challenge Design has received nearly 3,000 entries over ten years.  Participants have represented 98 countries. In the first year, 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 Michelin Challenge Design has doubled the works displayed, the number of submissions has increased by over 700 percent.  Pre-registration has started for the 2012 Michelin Challenge Design, and initial feedback indicates another record year is in store. 

Repeat jurors, including Freeman Thomas, 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 Michelin Challenge Design jury has included 40 judges from all over the automotive industry.  Among the more than 20 organizations represented have been BMW Designworks, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan.  Newcomers for 2011 included Phil Zak, Hyundai Americas Technical Center; Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla; and Anne Asensio, 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.  Stewart Reed, Chair of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design, participated first as juror and then as jury chairman, has been a part of every Michelin Challenge Design jury.

“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,” said John Moloney, vice president of original equipment marketing, Michelin North and South America.

Michelin Challenge Design helps drive awareness of the growing importance of the role of design in vehicle development and the challenges that face the discipline.

In the first NAIAS display, Michelin Challenge Design 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: Brave + Bold.

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

A strong history of inspiring themes led to the 2011 Michelin Challenge Design theme “Plus 10: The Best is Yet to Come.”  For Michelin, the first ten years of the Michelin Challenge Design program are just the beginning.

The theme for 2012 announced at NAIAS is “City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity.” In honor of Michelin’s tradition of innovation, 2046 was chosen because it is the 100th anniversary of the radial tire.

The 2012 Michelin Challenge Design participants are asked to present their vision of city transportation for Paris, Shanghai, Mumbai, Rio or Los Angeles for the year 2046.  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.

Registration for the 2012 Michelin Challenge Design opened to the strongest response in Challenge’s history.  From the first week, submissions have exceeded the record-setting 2011 Michelin Challenge Design.  

Participants in the 2012 competition will choose between Los Angles, Mumbai, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, or Shanghai and to design a personal, ground-based vehicle capable of transporting between two and ten people.  In selecting a city, the vehicle proposal must provide a solution to the transportation issues unique to that city. 

Pre-registration and entry submission information is available at


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