The association “Les Z’enfants de l’Auto*” had the idea of organising a visit to the Stellantis design centre in Vélizy-Villacoublay, and to offer children and teenagers, sick or underprivileged, most of them car lovers, the opportunity to take the place of the modelers and designers! Except that the Stellantis design centre, where the Peugeots, Citroëns and DS of tomorrow take shape, is a top-secret place. A place where no one enters without a badge that drastically limits movement. A place where children are not allowed…
But, because there is always a ‘but’ in beautiful stories, this was without counting on the support of all the managers concerned at the ADN (Automotive Design Center). The director of the site agreed to do what was previously forbidden: welcome children under 15 years of age into the centre. The three design directors – Matthias Hossann for Peugeot, Thierry Métroz for DS and Pierre Leclercq for Citroën – were present and welcomed the children and answered their countless questions.
To carry out the operation, Stéphanie Cardine de Ruffray, from the design communication department, and all the designers and managers pushed the secret models of the future Stellantis behind the partitions (“you shouldn’t have bothered…”), to free up two huge spaces: the Peugeot design studio – which welcomed DS for the occasion with concept cars and a single-seater car (!) from the Formula E championship – and the Citroën studio.
The Citroën studio surprised children with the concept car featured in the Asterix film released eight days ago. In the Peugeot studio, in addition to the two DS concepts and the Formula E single-seater, the children were able to discover the Peugeot 908 Hypercar from the World Endurance Championship, the e-Legend and Fractal concept cars and a 508 PSE.
The two studios staged several very concrete animation workshops. Thus, several modelers were present with small-scale and 1:1 scale models. Their pleasure in communicating about their sometimes unknown profession was shared with enthusiasm by the children and teenagers. They literally rushed to these workshops. One of them showed himself to be quite excellent in this volume work and impressed the professionals.
A little further on, the designers left their current projects (“you shouldn’t have bothered…”) to draw numerous sketches each with their own method, while in front of the never-before-seen full-scale Clay model of the new Peugeot 408, the guests were able to realise the complexity of such a work weighing more than 2 tonnes. Some were even able to try their hand at applying the dynoc, the silver film that covers the Clay to give the model the effect of painted sheet metal.
The second visit to the Citroën studio was just as exciting. It was the first time that we saw one of the 1/1 scale models of the latest Oli concept car with some differences from the vehicle finally presented. Its exterior designer Raphaël Doukhan was present and the kids were surprised that he had started his young career by winning the competition on this project! This was enough to motivate them a little more? Of course, the tank from the “Asterix and Obelix, the Middle Kingdom” movie was present.
Next to it was the 2018 Citroën CXperience concept car, in which the children and teenagers were able to take their seats carefully as the host, Pierre Leclercq, subtly revealed to them the cost of such a vehicle. In total, they were able to climb aboard at least five of the most recent concept cars from Peugeot, Citroën and DS, a rare privilege. I did notice that the interior of this CXperience concept car had abandoned the yellow upholstery in favour of navy blue, proof that concept cars can be used in their lifetime for full-scale colour and material experiments.
Personally, I liked it in yellow… The opportunity in the Citroën studio was to meet the brand’s new exterior styling director, Julien Sarreméjean, who now works under the direction of Pierre Leclercq. Julien was previously a BMW designer as was Pierre Leclercq in his time. So, just a request from the design lovers: don’t copy the German manufacturer’s grills. Thank you…
It is thanks to the great will of all the ADN staff involved in this extraordinary event that the children and accompanying persons were able to navigate in total freedom in these two huge studios, and to take advantage of as many workshops to understand the different professions. The association “les Z’enfants de l’auto” would like to thank everyone once again.
*Les Z’enfants de l’auto” is a charity association founded in 2018 by professionals from the automotive world, managers, communicators and journalists. Its mission is to unite the players in the automotive and mobility sectors: manufacturers, equipment suppliers, service companies, media, etc., united by the same ambition. This ambition is to carry the dreams of sick or underprivileged children to offer them exceptional moments. https://fr-fr.facebook.com/leszenfantsdelauto. The photos in this report are from “Stellantis Design Communication” and “lignesauto.fr