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Michelin Challenge Design:Two Renault Concepts to Detroit

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

DETROIT, Dec. 10, 2002 -- The Renault Vel Satis and Koleos concept cars will join an impressive lineup of four full-size vehicles, 10 scale models and 17 two-dimensional drawings displayed in Michigan Hall, the Michelin Media Center and on the main floor of Cobo Center at the upcoming North American International Auto Show as part of the first official Michelin Challenge Design.

The Michelin Challenge Design was established in 2002 as a way to bring forward and display significant design work that would not normally have the opportunity to be displayed at a major international auto show. At the 2002 NAIAS, works based upon the theme of Italian design were displayed during press and public days. The theme for the 2003 NAIAS brings together works representative of the past, present and future of French design.

"You can't talk about French Design without including Renault," said John Grimaldi, president, Passenger and Light Truck Tires OE Worldwide for Michelin. "Challenge Design gives Michelin an opportunity to display and facilitate our company's passion for design and we're excited to have Renault be a part of this year's competition."

Renault's Koleos concept car makes its North American debut at the Michelin stand on the main floor of the North American International Auto Show. Renault designers dreamt up a concept vehicle that is neither a traditional sedan nor an off-road vehicle, but an intelligent blend of both. Koleos combines the on-the-road qualities and comfort of a top-range sedan with the off-road capability of a 4X4.

Styled to evoke power and strength, the concept car also offers prompt response and driving pleasure, with a hybrid power unit that combines a two- liter 16-valve turbocharged gas engine with an electric motor and Michelin 240/800R560A Heracles PAX(TM) System tires. Off the road, the Koleos holds its own alongside a traditional 4X4, thanks to variable-height suspension that affords similar capabilities. Koleos also places a major emphasis on technology: the vehicle's essential functions are controlled via a screen with voice activation, and the headlamps feature an innovative fluid optics concept.

The Renault Vel Satis concept car first debuted at the 1998 Paris Motor Show and will make its North American debut at the Michelin exhibit at the NAIAS. The Vel Satis is an elegant 4-seat Coupe, "avant-garde" in both concept and design. It combines a respect for the "traditional values" of top-range models with a spirit of anticipation, a freedom of expression, and a refinement which is French and very Renault.

The Vel Satis offers a forward-looking combination of the architectural features of the one-box form with a unique back end, a contemporary interpretation of the values handed down from the tradition of the great automotive body-builders. It combines interior space with four full-size seats. Its 3-litre V6 24V engine provides smoothness and flexibility, with deep-lunged power and is equipped with 226/690R540A Pax(TM) System tires. The Vel Satis draws inspiration from the Renault bonnets of the pre-war period, such as the 40CV.

Michelin Challenge Design will display the works of 17 individuals and companies representing 13 countries including Argentina, Australia, China, Colombia, England, France, India, Monaco, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, The United States and Venezuela. A six-person international jury reviewed more than 125 entries from 40 countries to select the finalists for display at the North American International Auto Show.