Mazda Teams with Facebook to Find Designer of the "2018 Mazda3"

What will a Mazda3 look like in the year 2018? If you said something like "rotary-powered pinecone," you may have what it takes to win a new contest. Mazda's turning to Facebook to find new design talent as part of the Mazda Design Challenge. Contestants have to submit a 150-word description of their vision of the 2018 Mazda3, and an optional sketch. The winner will work with the counterintuitively American Franz von Holzhausen, director of Mazda Design in North America and his team to build a concept car that will debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November. Any ideas, oh peanut gallery of my eye?

Press Release:

WANTED: DESIGNER TO CREATE THE 2018 MAZDA3, LIVE ON STAGE AT THE LA AUTO SHOW IN A WORLD-EXCLUSIVE DESIGN CHALLENGE


IRVINE, Calif., September 27, 2007 - It's the ultimate assignment: tell Mazda what you think the 2018 MAZDA3 should look like. And better, if your design is chosen, you'll have the chance to put your talent where your mouth is at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, where you'll work with Mazda designers to bring your creation to life in front of more than a million anxious show-goers.

The "Mazda Design Challenge," launched today on Facebook.com (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7602701619), will enlist help from Facebook members across the United States to compete to design a future MAZDA3, Mazda's best-selling car globally. For the first time ever in the auto industry, the victor will work with Franz von Holzhausen, director of Mazda Design in North America, and his team, to bring the concept to life, live on stage at the 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show.

To enter, contestants must submit a 150-word description of their vision of the 2018 MAZDA3 including an optional sketch drawing. The Mazda Design team will then judge each entry, choosing 10 semi-finalists. Five finalists will be chosen by the Facebook community. Each of the five finalists will be paired with a Mazda designer to hone their concept, which will then be judged and voted on in a second round by fellow Facebook members.

Voting will take place over the course of a week, with the winning designer traveling to Los Angeles to hone their work with the Mazda Design team. Over the course of the ten-day auto show, the winner will bring their vision to fruition, ending with a full-scale model that represents their view of what the 2018 MAZDA3 will be.

"The 'Mazda Design Challenge' is an exciting, interactive competition that capitalizes on the power and influence of social networking," said David Klan, director of marketing, MNAO. "By inviting young voices into the highly classified and secretive design process, Mazda will prove it's a company involved in an active partnership with its customers."

"Usually the design ideas come from inside our studio, but this is a rare opportunity for my team to look at design through our potential customers' eyes," added von Holzhausen. "Never before has any other automaker built a concept car on the show stand, in full view of show attendees. The pressure's really going to be on all of us - especially the contest winner - to get it finished in time for the closing weekend of the show."

Travel, accommodations, $1,000 spending cash and a new MAZDA3 to drive during their stay awaits the winner. In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to take the microphone to introduce the final concept at its unveiling on the final day of the show.

The contest is open only to residents of the United States, and begins on September 25 and ends on November 7, 2007 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Participants must enter by visiting Facebook.com.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts, accessories and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de México in Mexico City.