It’s neither a commuter vehicle nor boring sedan. It is also not an undersized sports coupe or awkward, disproportionate hatchback. At the moment, the 2018 MAZDA3 is nothing more than a lump of clay on stage at the Mazda booth at the 2007 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show – and the vision of Mallory McMorrow of South Bend, Ind., the winner of the Mazda Design Challenge. By the time the auto show comes to a close, an exciting, life-size model will be unveiled for all eyes to see – and a talented woman will be one step closer to fulfilling her automotive design career dream.
A landslide victory, McMorrow’s entry was voted number one by Facebook members, as part of the first-ever program between Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) and the social networking site. To enter, contestants submitted a 150-word description of their vision of the 2018 MAZDA3 and an optional sketch drawing.
After weeks of voting – first by Mazda designers, then Facebook members – McMorrow was selected as a finalist, at which time she was paired with Mazda designer Jacques Flynn who helped bring her design to life on paper. “Jacques took everything I said and sketched, and put my thoughts and feelings on paper,” said McMorrow. “I was thrilled when I opened up the images of the final renderings. I’m proud to say that the end design was still definitely my car and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition on the show floor.”
Today McMorrow will begin working one-on-one with Franz von Holzhausen, director of design, MNAO, and his team to bring her concept to life, live from the Mazda booth at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. A formal press conference will be held at 12:50 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Mazda booth.
“The Mazda Design Challenge brought in a flood of cool, unique design ideas. The winning design concept is a fresh new way to look at the design of a vehicle,” said von Holzhausen. “This competition was a tremendous success, and the entire process was really beneficial to my team and me to understand what design means to our target buyers. Now the hard part comes – to see if we can actually build a full concept car on the show stand in ten days and in full-view of show goers.”
Auto show attendees can watch von Holzhausen and his team in action from 12 noon to 8:00 p.m. daily, as they mold, carve and smooth the would-be 2018 MAZDA3. The final clay sculpture of the concept will be unveiled at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24.
Mallory McMorrow – “Car Girl” by design
An Industrial Design major at the University of Notre Dame, McMorrow, 21, of Whitehouse, NJ, first heard of the Mazda Design Challenge from her professor, Paul Down. Dubbed “the car girl” by her classmates in the Industrial Design department, McMorrow, who discovered her love for cars at a young age, jumped at the chance to enter.
With a background in graphic and industrial design, most of McMorrow’s design experience to date has focused primarily on product design, including automotive cleaning and car products. “All throughout college, I’ve heard nothing but how hard it will be to get into the auto design world, how I should keep my options open, and even how I should ‘think about interiors (because) …women work on interiors,” said McMorrow. “Now, thanks to this contest, I have a completely refreshed feeling about pursuing a career in cars.”
Mallory’s 2018 MAZDA3– In her own words
“A decade from now, I want a car that doesn’t believe in falling into a category. A car that makes sure sedan and hatchback are no longer four letter words. A chassis made to handle every s curve that comes its way. Fast. I want a car with the body and soul of a sports car, but a car that knows that sometimes I want to bring my friends, my things, or my dog. I want a car that has a sunroof that’s actually a sunroof, not a sun-one-quarter roof. I want a car that causes heads to turn – even before the first rev of the engine. I want a car that went from concept to showroom without meeting muted for the masses – unapologetically. I want a MAZDA3 that gets me – the everyday sports car, the 5-door that makes me forget I own a 5-door.”
In addition to McMorrow, finalists in the Mazda Design Challenge included Christopher Chung, Silver Spring, Md.; Preston Gilliam, East Bend, N.C.; Andrew Kinomoto, Bothell, Wash.; and Danny Song, San Mateo, Calif.