Mazda's taking a line out of Peugeot's playbook and enlisting the help of budding automotive artists to design the 2018 Mazda3. The "Mazda Design Challenge" is turning to the Facebook community to send in a rendering and a 150-word description of their concept for selection. Ten semi-semi-finalists will be selected, and over the course of a week Facebook users will be asked to vote, narrowing down the selection to five semi-finalists that will spend time with a Mazda designer to hone their vision.

From there, a second round of voting will commence, with the winner getting a cool $1000 and a flight to Los Angeles for the LA Auto Show, where they'll spend time with Mazda's N.A. design team, headed by Franz von Holzhausen, where the concept will be rendered live during the show.

For those of you too good for MySpace, you can head on over to Mazda's Facebook page, check the rules and enter your design. Good luck!

Mazda's full press release is posted after the jump.

[Source: Mazda]



PRESS RELEASE

Wanted: Designer to Create the 2018 MAZDA3, Live on Stage at the LA Auto Show in a World-Exclusive Design Challenge

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- It's the ultimate assignment: tell Mazda what you think the 2018 MAZDA3 should look like. And better, if your design is chosen, you'll have the chance to put your talent where your mouth is at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, where you'll work with Mazda designers to bring your creation to life in front of more than a million anxious show-goers.

The "Mazda Design Challenge," launched today on Facebook.com (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7602701619), will enlist help from Facebook members across the United States to compete to design a future MAZDA3, Mazda's best-selling car globally. For the first time ever in the auto industry, the victor will work with Franz von Holzhausen, director of Mazda Design in North America, and his team, to bring the concept to life, live on stage at the 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show.

To enter, contestants must submit a 150-word description of their vision of the 2018 MAZDA3 including an optional sketch drawing. The Mazda Design team will then judge each entry, choosing 10 semi-finalists. Five finalists will be chosen by the Facebook community. Each of the five finalists will be paired with a Mazda designer to hone their concept, which will then be judged and voted on in a second round by fellow Facebook members.

Voting will take place over the course of a week, with the winning designer traveling to Los Angeles to hone their work with the Mazda Design team. Over the course of the ten-day auto show, the winner will bring their vision to fruition, ending with a full-scale model that represents their view of what the 2018 MAZDA3 will be.

"The 'Mazda Design Challenge' is an exciting, interactive competition that capitalizes on the power and influence of social networking," said David Klan, director of marketing, MNAO. "By inviting young voices into the highly classified and secretive design process, Mazda will prove it's a company involved in an active partnership with its customers."

"Usually the design ideas come from inside our studio, but this is a rare opportunity for my team to look at design through our potential customers' eyes," added von Holzhausen. "Never before has any other automaker built a concept car on the show stand, in full view of show attendees. The pressure's really going to be on all of us -- especially the contest winner -- to get it finished in time for the closing weekend of the show."

Travel, accommodations, $1,000 spending cash and a new MAZDA3 to drive during their stay awaits the winner. In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to take the microphone to introduce the final concept at its unveiling on the final day of the show.

The contest is open only to residents of the United States, and begins on September 25 and ends on November 7, 2007 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Participants must enter by visiting Facebook.com.