BMW is using ideas from an automotive design class at Detroit's Center for Creative Studies to create a youthful image for one of its cars.
The school selected 17 students to redesign the exterior and interior of a Z3. The car that resulted has eggplant-colored paint, interior enhancements such as a surround-sound audio system and glow-in-the-dark floor mats. BMW, Johnson Controls Inc. and Michelin were among the companies that donated money, time, materials and personnel to the special project. PPG Industries Inc. and ASC Inc. cooperated on installing a neutral-gray windshield designed to complement the car's flashy interior.
Michael McFadden, a student involved in the project, said students looked in fashion magazines, consumer electronic catalogs and other market indicators to determine what design would attract younger buyers. What they came up with, says McFadden, 'resembles a sanctuary-like atmosphere' that will give young-spirited buyers a sort of 'soothing oasis' from the everyday rigors of a career.
The car made its debut at the Detroit auto show in January. BMW is considering showcasing the Z3, which was renamed OHM by the students to reinforce the sense of serenit (as in the mantra 'om'), at auto shows.
BMW purchasing manager Rainer Hentschel says, 'Being involved in projects like this is an opportunity to showcase new technologies without direct involvement in overall project development.'