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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen has unveiled three space-age concepts at the 2012 Beijing motor show that were dreamt up by its Chinese fans and could shape the manufacturer’s future vehicles.

Volkswagen handpicked the trio of innovative ideas from more than 119,000 suggestions that were submitted to its People’s Car Project website, which it launched in China 11 months ago.

The first idea – and the most viable in the short term – is the Smart Key (above). Volkswagen says the slim, 9mm-thick key would feature a high-resolution touchscreen allowing the driver to check the car’s fuel level, climate conditions and security status. Drivers could also view a bird’s-eye perspective of their car at any time thanks to real-time satellite transmission.

Next up is the Music Car concept (top), which Volkswagen says expresses the wish of many Chinese drivers for individual automotive design. Covered in organic LEDs, the exterior colour of the Music Car would change with the driver’s choice of music, and could be personalised at any moment to make it a standout fashion statement.

The final idea is some way off yet, but remains high on the wish lists of Chinese enthusiasts as well as fans around the world.

The Hover Car concept (above) is a sci-fi-inspired two-seater. Volkswagen envisions its Hover Car will levitate a few inches in the air and will be propelled by electromagnetic road networks.

Volkswagen Group China head of design Simon Loasby said the creative ideas submitted to the People’s Car Project website gives the brand valuable insights into the desires of Chinese drivers.

“The trend is towards safe cars that can easily navigate overcrowded roads and have a personal, emotional and exciting design,” Loasby said.

The People’s Car Project was initially planned to run for only one year, but Volkswagen says due to its unprecedented popularity and high quality contributions it has now been extended indefinitely.




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