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Students Get Schooled on Automotive Design

October 2, 2014

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FCA US Design and Engineering employees participated at the ninth annual auto showcase, “Where Innovation Meets Design” inside the Utica Center for Science and Industry in Sterling Heights, Mich.

In the next decade, design jobs are expected to grow by 10 percent due to the increase in demand of design firms, advertisers and publishers according to ArtBistro.monster.com. And, product designer is listed as one of the top ten fastest growing careers. So, if you’re creative and interested in pursuing a career in design, then the odds are in your favor that you’ll land a job in one of these areas!

Product design can open the door to many opportunities such as graphic designer, interior and fashion designer, animator and art director. It can also inspire a career in automotive design.

  • Chrysler showcased more than a dozen vehicles for students from the Utica Community School system.

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    Students swarmed the SRT Viper throughout the day.

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    Joe Dehner, head of the Ram Truck and Dodge design studios, talks cars and careers with a Utica (Mich.) student.

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    Nearly 1,000 students attended the June 4 event.

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    Students from the Utica Community Schools look over the HEMI® V-8 in the Dodge Challenger 1320 concept car. Photos by Mike Cattone, Product Design Office.

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    The Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser was a big hit at the show.

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    A student tests her skills in the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack configured as a video game driving simulator, complete with working controls and an active driver seat.

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    A student tests his skills at the ninth annual auto showcase, “Where Innovation Meets Design” inside the Utica Center for Science and Industry in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Two dozen members of the FCA US design staff were on hand to answer questions and perform demonstrations hoping to inspire students from the Utica Community Schools district in pursuing careers in automotive design and engineering at the ninth annual auto showcase, “Where Innovation Meets Design” inside the Utica Center for Science and Industry in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Nearly 1,000 students had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel and get up-close and personal with 15 FCA US vehicles such as the new 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger, Dodge SRT Viper, Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser and Jeep® Renegade, along with concepts such as the Jeep Wrangler MOJO and Ram Truck Rumble Bee.

The auto industry has a growing need for designers and design engineers, according to Joe Dehner, head of the Ram Truck and Dodge exterior design studios and leader of the Utica car show effort for FCA US .

“Hopefully we inspire them. If we help guide them into certain things when they graduate, that would be awesome.”

The car show is one way to show teens that car design is a viable career, and these shows become more important as schools around the country deal with smaller budgets and cut back on arts programs, Dehner said.

Sitara Merali (left) and Cameron Gudobba check out the Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser.

Sitara Merali (left) and Cameron Gudobba check out the Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser.

Chrysler had many tools and displays to spark their interest. Students were able to virtually test drive a 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack configured as a video game driving simulator, complete with working controls and an active driver seat.

The students like Sitara Merali, ninth-grade student of Shelby Junior High, enjoyed seeing and meeting the people behind the cars.

“You don’t usually see these kinds of cars on the road so it’s cool to be able to go inside of them and then talk to the people who made them,” Sitara Merali said.

Inside the school, students saw the tools used in car design studios, including clay models and a computerized sketching system demonstrated by Tim Doyle of the FCA US Advance Design studio and Rimon Ghobrial of the Dodge design studio. Some students got the chance to try their hand at computerized sketching, and each student left with a Chrysler Design branded sketch pad to exercise their imagination.

Not surprisingly, another display with a constant crowd was the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack configured as a video game driving simulator, complete with working controls and an active driver seat.

Video games are one of the main ways that teens discover cars today, and are an important tool for getting them interested in a career in the industry, Dehner noted.

The best advice Dehner had to give to aspiring automotive design and engineering students was to be a “sponge.”

“Dive into it,” Dehner said. “Do your research, ask questions and become an expert.”

The car display and sound of the 1963 Chrysler turbine-powered car attracted crowds of students. With the engine revving and the sun reflecting off of the bright blue exterior, the 2013 Dodge Viper SRT was also a crowd favorite.

“The Viper is my favorite because I used to have a Hot Wheels car just like it,” Cameron Gudobba, ninth-grade student of Eppler Junior High, said.