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 Michelin displays French design at the 2003 North American International Auto Show


Matra 75
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Renault Koleos

Renault VelSatis

Venturi Fétish

Dec 28, 2002 - At the North American International Auto Show, Matra will unveil its latest work, the Matra P75, a compact, versatile city car as part of the 'Michelin Challenge Design' display in Michigan Hall.

The Matra P75 is joining concept vehicles from Renault and Venturi as well as 10 scale models and 17 drawings selected from designers representing 13 different countries. Michelin will display the vehicles, scale models and drawings in Michigan Hall, and on the main floor of Cobo Center as part of this year's focus on the past, present and future of French design.

"We're glad to have Matra as part of this year's Challenge Design," said John Grimaldi, president, Passenger and Light Truck Tires OE Worldwide for Michelin. "It's a French company that had the audacity to come up with the Espace -– a revolutionary family vehicle – which was launched in Europe in 1984 and became the leader of the MPV market it created."

The Matra P75 is more than representative of French design – it's a working prototype. The P75 has an environmentally-friendly design. An electrical traction chain fitted under the floor affords exceptional interior space for passengers along with practical functionality. The P75 is outfitted with Michelin low-rolling resistance tires.

Renault’s Koleos concept car also makes its North American debut at the Michelin stand. Renault designers dreamt up a concept vehicle that is neither a traditional sedan nor an off-road vehicle, but an intelligent blend of both. Koleos combines the on-the-road qualities and comfort of a top-range sedan with the off-road capability of a 4X4.

Styled to evoke power and strength, the Koleos concept also offers prompt response and driving pleasure, with a hybrid power unit that combines a two-liter 16-valve turbocharged gas engine with an electric motor and Michelin Heracles PAX™ System tires. Off the road, the Koleos holds its own alongside a traditional 4X4, thanks to variable-height suspension. Koleos also places a major emphasis on technology: the vehicle's essential functions are controlled via a screen with voice activation, and the headlamps feature an innovative fluid optics concept.

The Renault Vel Satis concept car first debuted at the 1998 Paris Motor Show and will make its North American debut at the Michelin exhibit. The Vel Satis is an elegant 4-seat Coupé, “avant-garde” in both concept and design. It combines a respect for the “traditional values” of top-range models with a spirit of anticipation, a freedom of expression, and a refinement which is French and very Renault.

The Vel Satis offers a forward-looking combination of the architectural features of the one-box form with a unique rear end, a contemporary interpretation of the values handed down from the tradition of the great automotive body-builders. It combines interior space with four full-size seats. Its 3-litre V6 24V engine provides smoothness and flexibility, with deep-lunged power and is equipped with Michelin Pax™ System tires. The Vel Satis draws inspiration from the Renault bonnets of the pre-war period, such as the 40CV.

Also on the Michelin stand will be the Venturi Fétish. One of the few remaining independent brands in the world, Venturi has set its sights on the future of the French sports car with the Fétish. Originally debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland last year, the Fétish is 100 percent new and original in its concept as a “Grand Tourismo Light” or “GT Light” sports car with a deliberate emphasis on design.

The Michelin Challenge Design was established in 2002 as a way to bring forward and display significant design work that would not normally have the opportunity to be displayed at a major international auto show. At the 2002 NAIAS, works based upon the theme of Italian design were displayed during press and public days. The theme for the 2003 NAIAS brings together works representative of the past, present and future of French design.

Michelin Challenge Design will display the works of 17 individuals and companies representing 13 countries including Argentina, Australia, China, Colombia, England, France, India, Monaco, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, The United States and Venezuela. A six-person international jury reviewed more than 125 entries from 40 countries to select the finalists for display at the North American International Auto Show.

For complete information on Michelin Challenge Design, entry requirements, themes, news and details, visit


Copyright © 2002 Car Design News, Inc.
Last updated: Sat, Dec 28, 2002