The Gamification of the Auto Industry

One of the issues that is often raised among people who work in the auto industry is that young people are not as interested in cars as they once were—or as interested in cars as those who are talking about the present disinterest were when they were young.

One of the issues that is often raised among people who work in the auto industry is that young people are not as interested in cars as they once were—or as interested in cars as those who are talking about the present disinterest were when they were young.

As more than one person has put it, “Back in the day cruising drive-ins was the way to connect with friends; now it is a matter of touching a few virtual keys on the face of an iPhone.” When you hear designers and engineers saying something along these lines, you also see the wince in their faces.

One of the ways that car makers are trying to connect is through getting their cars into video games. Young people may not want to deal with the hassle of a physical car, but there is nothing like throwing a digital version around on tracks and streets that they will never see with little downside except, perhaps, a bruised ego.

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Chaparral 2E

PlayStation is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Gran Turismo. As part of its festivities, it asked car makers to provide a look at the future of automotive design.

One of the cars that changed the face of racing was the Chaparral, which roared out of Texas in the 1960s. Chaparral Cars worked with Chevrolet Research and Development to develop awesome cars like the Chaparral 2E, which appeared in 1966.

It could be argued that racing is gaming in the real world.

Anyway, GM’s Advanced Design Studio, with input from Jim Hall, one of the cofounders of Chaparral Cars (back in 1962), designed the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept that will be revealed next Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept is under that cover.  It will be revealed November 19

Ed Welburn, head of GM Global Design, said of the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept, “It will serve as an example of what our designers are capable of when they are cut loose, no holds barred.”

He described it as “A fantasy car in every sense of the word.”

And it will be part of an online update for Gran Turismo 6.

What’s interesting about this is the fact that concept cars of the “no holds barred” variety are becoming few and far between. Most “concepts” at shows are just a bit this side of near-production designs.

But it is just as well that Sony contacted OEMs like GM and asked for something that would show what the future of cars—at least of a racing variety—might look like.