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L.A. Auto Show: Nissan team wins design challenge

December 3, 2009 |  2:30 pm

The team from Nissan's La Jolla design studio took first place in the annual automotive design challenge at the L.A. Auto Show.

The task this year was to create a car that young people will want to drive in 2030 -- no small feat, given that market researchers spend billions each year trying to figure out what young people will want to eat, watch, listen to, wear or drive next week.

The Nissan designers came up with a suitably futuristic-looking, all-electric one-seater called the V2G (for "vehicle to grid") that would feel at home in an updated version of "Blade Runner."

Robert Bauer, a design manager at the studio, said the Nissan team was "trying to make [electric vehicles] fun and not just appliances."

The Nissan entry beat out submissions by designers from Audi, Toyota, General Motors, Honda and Mazda.

Trying to divine the future automotive desires of the planet's young people isn't an idle exercise. Recent surveys in the U.S. and Japan have shown a declining interest among many young people in owning cars -- a trend the Japanese media have dubbed "demotorization."

-- Martin Zimmerman

Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times