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Students at various Malaysian institutes of higher learning showed that when it comes to designing cars, creativity is not lacking at all. This was clearly evident in the quality of entries for the ‘Ford of the Next Millennium’ Design Contest which was run at the end of last year by Ford’s Malaysian distributor, AMIM Holdings Sdn Bhd, and endorsed by the Malaysian Design Council.

The winning entry was a concept vehicle called the Ford Salamander, a futuristic 4WD vehicle equipped with a black-box system and smartcard technology. It was the brainchild of four students from Universiti Teknologi MARA.

The students, led by group leader Ahmad Nazrin bin Hamzah, are third year students and are currently pursuing an industrial design course at the university in Shah Alam, Selangor, They got the idea for the vehicle from the salamander, an amphibian which can adapt itself to different living environments.

“Like the animal, the Ford Salamander is also adaptable, but to different driving situations,” said Ahmad Nazrin. “With hydraulic suspension fitted to the vehicle, the height of the vehicle can be adjusted according to individual driving needs.”

The other team members included Syarul Amizul bin Azizan, Rozaya bt Munsidik and Mohammad Aidil Farizal bin Nazeri, all of whom will share an all-expenses paid trip to the Ford Design Centre in Melbourne, Australia, as well as a cash prize of RM3,000.

Other teams from UiTM also won the second and third prizes. The second prize was awarded to the group that conceptualised the Ford Willy, a two-seat vehicle aimed at solving the problem of limited parking space in the future (it’s a problem we already have now!).

“Land will be scarce in the future and as such, we designed a vehicle with a narrower but longer body-size which requires less parking space,” said Farah Suhaiza bt Saaya, the group leader. “The Ford Willy makes use of an anti-magnetic system with a larger wheel at the rear end. It is designed for urban usage and requires a special track to run on.”

Farah Suhaiza and her group, comprising Norzita bt Mat Nor, Afnand bin Mohamad Nasir and Mior Ahmad Rozaini bin Idris received gift certificates worth a total of RM2,000 and a total of RM,6000 cash.

Ford Twins, the ‘City Car’ of the new millennium with a hybrid system, won third place. The team comprised Che Mohd Ujang bin Che Mohd, Mohamed Izhar bin Mohd Zain, Amran bin Mamat and Sunizah bt Hj Ali, and received certificates worth a total of RM1,000 and a total cash prize of RM4,000.

More than 160 students and individuals between 17 – 25 years of age took part in the contest which was held over a period of four months. 47 submissions were received out of which 46 were group efforts and one was an individual submission. The group efforts came from institutes of higher learning such as the LimKokWing Institute of Creative Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Petronas.

Commenting on the submissions received, Richard L. Canny, Managing Director of AMIM Holdings, noted how it was clear that Malaysia did not lack automotive design talent. “We are confident that some of the participants have the talent to become world-class designers in the future,” he said.


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