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2008 North American International Auto Show Delivers Innovative Design and Green Technology

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DETROIT, Jan. 22, 2008 -- Innovative vehicle design and green technologies are major focal points this year at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Vehicles unveiled during the NAIAS 2008 Press Preview reinforced current trends toward fuel economy, environmental impact, sustainability and the impact of those movements on vehicle design.

"Manufacturers are definitely paying attention and adapting their designs to reflect the environmental concerns," said Carl Galeana, senior co-chairman of the NAIAS 2008. "We are proud that the NAIAS is once again on the forefront featuring the advancement of these important changes relative to the global automotive industry."

Preview Week featured several design events recognizing the integral part design plays in the automotive industry; events included the Eyes on Design awards, AutoWeek Design Forum, the Michelin Challenge Design, the "My Other Car Is..." student project and the PPG Design Challenge awards.

The Eyes on Design Awards, in its third year, was hosted by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO) on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The awards recognized the innovation and creativity of vehicle designs on display at the NAIAS. Winners include: Cadillac CTS Coupe for Best Concept Car; Chrysler ecoVoyager for Best Concept Truck; Cadillac CTS-V for Best Production Car; and the BMW X6 for Best Production Truck.

In addition, AutoWeek hosted its 14th annual Design Forum that celebrates design as the ultimate differentiating factor between products, the catalyst of passion and the primary force that drives consumers' interest and purchase decisions. Jesse James, star of Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage" and owner of West Coast Choppers, served as keynote speaker. Exploring the theme "Designed for Fun," the day-long forum brought together more than 700 students, car design professionals and allied designers. Attendees were treated to an outstanding lineup of speakers and a tour of the NAIAS show floor.

The Design Forum also featured the announcement of the Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice Awards. Winners include: Best In Show - Chevrolet Corvette ZR1; Best Concept - Cadillac CTS Coupe; Most Significant - Ford F-150; and Most Fun - Audi R8 TDI Concept.

"Every year we are amazed by the events and elaborate displays created by our exhibitors," said Joe Serra, co-chairman of the NAIAS 2008. "Innovation and design is what drives this industry, excites consumers, and gives us a glimpse into the future of the auto industry."

NAIAS 2008 marks the seventh year of the Michelin Challenge Design competition with a record 272 individual designers, teams, studios, and companies from more than 50 countries. Participants submitted full-size vehicles, scale models and/or computer-generated renderings in support of the central theme, "Safer. Smaller. Better."

Candidates of this annual international design competition were presented with the challenge of creating enhanced safety through design innovations in areas such as accident avoidance, enhanced driver controls, survivability and visibility.

Design students from Detroit's College of Creative Studies (CCS) and engineering students from the University of Michigan (U-M) showcased their talents in the "My other car is..." display in Michigan Hall at the NAIAS 2008. The students displayed steel skeletal structure models of these "other car' concepts.

In addition to CCS and U-M, Michigan Hall also features displays from Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Windsor. The MSU exhibit features the Formula Racing Team, which designs, builds and races their own cars. The University of Windsor's display features its Integrated Active Vehicle Safety System (IAVSS) and other highlights related to automotive research.

The student designs were created during the 19th annual American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) summer automotive design internship. Students at CCS joined engineering students from U-M to produce futuristic concept vehicles that targeted Generation X, Baby Boomers and the millennial generation. These concept vehicles embody leading-edge steel technology utilizing a flexible platform.

In its eighth year, PPG Industries presented the PPG Design Challenge Awards to the winner of its auto glass design competition at NAIAS 2008. The annual contest was established to provide transportation design students at CCS with real-life experience designing automotive concepts showing innovation glass applications. The winners were given scholarships of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place and a free pass to visit the auto show.

NAIAS 2008 Official Dates

Public Days are Saturday, Jan. 19 through Saturday, Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early access to the show is available for the disabled at 8 a.m. via the Oakland entrance.

  The North American International Auto Show
  Rod Alberts - Executive Director

Entering its 20th year as an international event, the North American International Auto Show is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world and is one of the largest media events in North America. The NAIAS is the only auto show in the United States to earn an annual distinguished sanction of the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, the Paris-based alliance of automotive trade associations and manufacturers from around the world. The NAIAS Web site can be accessed at Don't Miss It for the World!