UM-Dearborn students in competition with schools around the world 'to create a revolutionary global vehicle for today'

May 12, 2008

DEARBORN / May 12, 2008---A team of students from the University of Michigan-Dearborn will compete against four other universities from around the world “to dream big and create a Model T concept for the 21st century.”

The competition, announced by Ford Motor Company executives at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn on May 12, challenged the students “to create a revolutionary global vehicle for today that shares the Model T’s attributes: simple, lightweight, practical, compelling–-and priced below $7,000.”

The competition is part of Ford’s celebration of the centennial of the Model T.

At UM-Dearborn a team of both undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science will work under the leadership of Prof. P.K. Mallick, director of interdisciplinary programs in the college.

The other participating schools are Aachen University in Germany; Art Center College of Design in Calif.; Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia; and Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

Each university received $75,000 in funding from Ford Global Technologies, LLC to support the creation of a vehicle concept through sketches, models, research papers and potentially even working models that deliver on the brief.

Students have until Sept. 1 to submit their proposals. Five judges from Ford Motor Company will critique each concept and the two concepts that best embody the Model T spirit, personify the Ford brand and meet the challenge criteria will each be awarded $25,000 for university scholarships. The winners will be selected in September and will be announced on the anniversary of Model T.

“The Model T was a true product of an engineering genius. Although simple and practical, it changed the way we live, work and play and met the needs of millions,” according to Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s vice president of engineering for global product development. “Through this challenge, we’re looking for the students to push the boundaries and deliver an alternative transportation concept for tomorrow-–and beyond.”

Ford challenged the teams to create a vehicle that is simple, durable and lightweight. Each vehicle must accommodate at least two passengers and offer solutions that address assembly, powertrain and sustainability. In perhaps the most challenging requirement, the vehicle must have a range of at least 200 kilometers (approximately 125 miles), and have a base target price of only $7,000.

“It’s not often we celebrate the centennial anniversary of an iconic vehicle, so we created the Model T Challenge as the perfect opportunity for students to conceptualize future transportation in a way that is unique to Ford,” said Bill Coughlin, president and chief executive officer of Ford Global Technologies. “To date, there has never been a vehicle that has left such an impact on the lives of millions, and Ford is challenging students to present an alternative that just might do so again.”

More than 15 million Model Ts were sold from the vehicle’s introduction in 1908 until May 26, 1927, when a ceremony marked the formal end of Model T production. Henry Ford called the Model T “the universal car,” a low-cost, reliable vehicle that could be maintained easily and could successfully travel the poor roads of the era. In 1999, the Model T was named “Car of the Century” by a panel of 133 automotive journalists and experts who began with a list of 700 candidates.

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CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: 313-593-5518
The Office of University Relations
Room 1040, Administration Building
University of Michigan-Dearborn