Children in the UK are for the first time being given the chance to help design the cars of tomorrow.
The Meriva and Zafira – the clever family cars from Vauxhall – are launching a search for seven children in Britain to give them the low-down on life "from the back seat".
Forget the Famous Five – the Flex 7 children’s panel will be solving the motor company’s riddle about what kids really want in the cars their parents drive.
The Meriva and Zafira are setting up the panel after their own research shows that 70% of British children aged between 10 and 15 are now asked for their opinion in household decisions, and nearly two-thirds would like more of a say about the family car that their mum or dad drives.
Vauxhall chairman and managing director Kevin Wale said: "This is a first for Vauxhall and the UK motor industry. Statistics show that children spend up to 20 hours a week in the family car and no-one has yet asked them their opinion.
"The Flex 7 Panel is indicative of how Vauxhall plans to develop their cars in the future. If our customers are listening to their children when choosing to buy a family car then we must too, otherwise we’re missing an important trick in the future of car innovation.
"Driving can be exciting and not just for the driver. This initiative will help us put even more excitement into driving for all and allow our designers to combine style with practicalities as identified by young passengers."
The panel will discuss and debate motoring issues that most affect kids, such as what technology they would like to see in the back of the car and how they think car companies could be more environmentally aware.
Actor Ryan Lee – one of the stars of Vauxhall’s ‘Little Dads’ ad campaign which shows kids in the driving seat of family life – urged other youngsters to get involved and have their say.
He said: "We spend a long time being driven by our parents so why shouldn’t we have a say in what they are driving. A family car should be about what the whole family wants and it’s great that Vauxhall is now giving kids a voice even though we can’t drive yet."
The Flex 7 Panel will meet at the Vauxhall car plant at Ellesmere Port in October and its first report will be launched at the end of the year.
Children aged 10 to 15 who want to take part in the Flex 7 Panel need to complete the following statement in no more than 20 words: If I ran Vauxhall for the day I would…
They need to send their answer along with their name, age, address and daytime telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Vauxhall Flex 7, 5th Floor, Holborn Gate, 26 Southampton Buildings, London, WC2A 1BP. The seven best entries as judged by Vauxhall will be selected to join the Flex 7 Panel.
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