With 33 million visitors to the website and more than 119,000 ideas submitted, the "People's Car Project" (PCP) launched in China eleven months ago has far exceeded all expectations. Three of the vehicle and technology concepts created by users of an online platform and further developed by Volkswagen are currently on show at Auto China 2012: These concepts are the "Hover Car", the "Music Car" and the "Smart Key".
With the "Hover Car", an environmentally-friendly two-seater city car which hovers just above the ground, Volkswagen is presenting the study of a zero-emissions vehicle that could in future travel along electromagnetic road networks. "The creative ideas from the ‘People's Car Project' give us a valuable insight into the wishes of Chinese drivers", Simon Loasby, Head of Design at Volkswagen Group China, said. "The trend is towards safe cars that can easily navigate overcrowded roads and have a personal, emotional and exciting design."
The "Music Car" expresses the wish of many Chinese for individual automotive design. Equipped with organic light emitting diodes, the exterior color of the vehicle changes with the driver's choice of music. More than ever, the car thus becomes a means of self-expression and a fashion statement for young drivers.
The "Smart Key", also developed under the PCP and currently on show in Beijing, takes up the trend towards the stronger integration of online technologies in vehicles: The slim 9-millimeter key has a high-resolution touchscreen which keeps the driver up to date on the fuel situation, climate conditions and the car's security via the 3G network. The driver can also monitor the vehicle from a bird's eye perspective through real-time satellite transmission.
"The ‘People's Car Project' in China marks the beginning of a new era in automobile design", Luca de Meo, Director of Marketing, Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, commented. "We are no longer just building cars for, but also with customers and at the same time initiating a national dialog which gives us a deep insight into the design preferences, needs and requirements of Chinese customers", de Meo said.
Due to high demand and the exceptionally good quality of the contributions, the PCP, which was originally scheduled to run for one year, has been indefinitely extended. In addition, a new project phase will be launched during the coming months, when users will not only be able to submit their design, personalization and connectivity ideas for tomorrow's mobility, but will also be able to contribute suggestions about the environment. The drafts will first be evaluated by the entire user community. In a second step, experts will then assess the concepts and award prizes to the winners.
"In a long-term context the findings of the ‘People‘s Car Project' will influence Volkswagen's product strategy", de Meo explained. "The design of our models will, however, continue to reflect the tradition of the Volkswagen brand. If at some time in the future we are to produce a vehicle from the ‘People's Car Project', it will be a combination of customers' opinions and brand tradition", de Meo added.