Fast Company

From the Paris Runways: The Art of the Auto

Things may be teetering on the brink of the apocalypse in Detroit, but there’s an alternative automotive world going on in Paris, where the 2008 Motor Show is currently underway.


Paris is always a good place to pick up on global trends – whether they be food, fashion, or motorcars – and this year is no exception.  According to a story in the British design magazine, Wallpaper, manufacturers are all showing cars that embrace the idea of urban mobility. What does that mean? Well, smaller for one – parking is as much of a problem in Tokyo as it is in London or New York. Even Audi and BMW had mini-SUVs for those who need to haul stuff and still squeeze into tight spaces.  Wallpaper has mounted a cool slide show featuring the hottest designs.

Everybody had at least one non-fossil-fueled vehicle, but they didn’t necessarily trumpet their  ecological aptitude – more often, it was a case of lighter materials, less gadget-driven dashboards, and thinner seats.
Of course, this being Paris, it wasn’t all hair-shirt auto design. For those who still prefer old school luxury to the new frugality chic, there was a Lamborghini Estoque.  Asking price? A cool $226,507 at today’s exchange rate.  Perfect for the hedge fund king who managed to short the market before the Feds intervened.

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