In the fourth annual WardsAuto Interiors Student Design Competition, young stylists were challenged to create a roomy, practical family sedan aimed at first-time buyers in the year 2025. The sedan has to offer all the amenities of a minivan in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package.

Four finalists were announced at a special ceremony during the 2013 SAE World Congress: Johad Ellis; Merrill Mathew; Kirill Ponomarenko and Harrison Schillinger.

The finalists were selected by four top auto industry designers: Scott Strong, director of design at Ford; Klaus Busse, head of interior design at Chrysler; Ariel Choi, lead designer at Toyota; and Eric Clough, director of Cadillac interior design at General Motors.

Instructor Joann Jung, manager of global interior design strategy at Ford, guided the students and helped them keep their projects within agreed-upon boundaries.

The student projects will be on display at the WardsAuto Interiors conference May 22 at The Henry hotel in Dearborn, MI, where the grand prize winner will be revealed, along with the recipients of special awards from interior suppliers IAC and Lear.

The Lear Innovation Award is given to the student whose work includes specific design or technical innovation the judges deem particularly inspired and forward-thinking.

The IAC EcoBlend Award will go to the student whose design or concept best embraces green mobility or uses lightweight renewable/recyclable materials and other Earth-friendly innovations.

dwinter@wardsauto.com