Next Autoworks

Next Autoworks, nee V-Vehicles, recently hired CEO Kathleen Ligocki to shepherd its planned 2012 car through to production. The design of the car itself was overseen by Tom Matano, who helped design the original Mazda Miata and oversaw the design of the 1993 RX-7. Matano recently shared some of the compact car's details with Automotive News, which describes it as a "utilitarian five-door hatchback... a cross between a Nissan Leaf and a Lada Niva."

The car's build sounds just as intriguing: a spaceframe with non-load-bearing body panels attached. Countering a build process that is pricey by segment standards, costs are kept down by interchangeable door panels and taillight assemblies. Matano suggested he was after "an advanced concept car that would look like something by Ikea." It all sounds like it could go quite right or very wrong, but before it can build anything, Next Autoworks needs to have its request for funds from the Department of Energy approved.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]