By on April 18, 2017

A Class Concept Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz is showcasing its updated design language via its new Concept A Sedan. While many of its production cars have gradually adopted the new “no folds” philosophy, the Concept A Sedan and earlier AMG GT Concept are the premiere examples of the styling theory.

The flowing bodywork and absence of hard edges is likely a precursor to what Benz will roll out in the coming years, especially after the A Sedan arrived at the Shanghai Motor Show looking like the GT Concept’s baby brother.

Mercedes is definitely sticking to this aesthetic and, when it begins production on its next generation of small cars using the MFA2 architecture, expect gobs of similarities between those vehicles and these concepts. While 2.76 inches shorter and 1.18 inches lower than the present-day CLA, it’s the easiest car to parallel the A Sedan with. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the CLA reemerging with the concept’s more rounded shape and smaller headlamps.  (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

subaru emblem logo

Subaru is an automaker known for offering a highly specific brand identity and a quality product, but compelling styling has always been low on its list of priorities. While acknowledging the retro charm of its earliest Japanese models, it can be said that the company has never produced a particularly handsome automobile. The SVX was futuristic and interesting, but it wasn’t overtly sexy. And the visual appeal of the old bug-eye WRX or BRAT hinges entirely upon how oddball they were.

After 63 years in the business, Subaru finally wants to change that and place a stronger emphasis on design. However, despite having the least visually stimulating lineup in recent memory, the company could probably stay the course and still be fine. Subaru has done incredibly well in the United States. Annual U.S. deliveries hovered around 187,000 vehicles from 2002 to 2008 but grew fiercely in the following years. Subaru had a record-breaking 615,132 sales in 2016 and looks prepared to break that record this year.

So, why even bother changing anything when the current recipe works so well? (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

2014 Nissan cube

As it funnels its suit-and-ties over to Mitsubishi and rearranges its own departments like mad, Nissan is losing veteran designer, stylish dresser, and chief creative officer: Shiro Nakamura. Responsible for some of Nissan’s more radical designs, Nakamura oversaw the styling for the revamped GT-R and current 370Z, along with intentionally quirky models like the Juke, Leaf, and Cube.

Nakamura said his designs were purposefully modern and intended to express the “shock of the new.” The objective was to amend the company’s western image as a discount brand and give its vehicles unique personalities and character, which — love or hate it — the Juke has in spades.

Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s current design head, will be stepping in to take over for the retiring Nakamura as senior VP and Nissan’s styling overlord. Replacing Albaisa as Infiniti’s global design chief will be former BMW design boss Karim Habib. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2016 BMW 7 Series

BMW Head of Design Karim Habib is reportedly leaving the German automaker for the second time in roughly a decade, making him the third major departure from the group’s styling division in the last ten months.

Official confirmation from BMW is pending, but information from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport suggests that Habib may have already made his exit. This widens an already gaping hole in the group’s creative landscape. The company has yet to replace Anders Warming, the design boss for Mini, and Benoit Jacob, who styled BMW’s i-division. Both men departed the company in 2016, lured away by Chinese-financed companies.

This leaves BMW Group’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk, without a creative frontman for every brand but Rolls-Royce.  (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2013

car packard 2

Just who invented automotive styling is open to debate, that is if you can even really narrow it down to one person. A number of people certainly deserve credit. In the United States, Harley Earl, Edsel Ford, and Alan Leamy, among others, come to mind. However, there is one person in the early days of the automobile age who probably had more to do with the way cars have been designed than any other single individual. I like to call him the “Ur-Father” of car design. His name was Andrew F. Johnson and if you’ve ever enjoyed the way a car was designed, you should know about him. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2013

title

Here are a few books I consider required reading for Transportation Design students: The Reckoning, Rude Awakening, All Corvettes are Red and Car: A Drama of the American Workplace.  These show what it takes to make a car…to make a designer’s work come to fruition.

Sadly, during my (short) time at the College for Creative Studies, we focused on creativity at all costs: pay no attention to the business behind the curtain.  So while the Honda Crosstour is a curious stylistic exercise, does this dog hunt in the real world? (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2013

When Chevrolet’s seventh son generation Corvette was introduced, many purists reacted with horror over the fact that the new car no longer has what has been traditional on Corvettes since the C2 in 1963, two round tail lights on each side. “The new ‘Vette has Camaro tail lights!” more than a few said. Though if you look at both the 2013 Camaro and the 2014 Corvette rear lamps side by side, the main similarity is that neither one of them is round. The Camaro’s are trapezoids and the Corvette’s are more parallelogram shaped. Tom Peters is in charge of design at General Motors for full size trucks and performance cars. Something that  Peters talked about on the night of the C7’s reveal and now emphasized in a video he made for Autoweek, the three dimensional shaping of the new Corvette’s tail lights, has me thinking that it wasn’t the Camaro’s back end that influenced the new ‘Vette, but rather it was the tail lights of the current Mustang. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2012

The third worst thing about this car is the fact that it’s known as the “Tom Mix Duesenberg” though western actor Tom Mix had apparently had absolutely nothing to do with it. That was a ginned up provenance by a former owner of the car. The second worst thing would be that somebody thought that the car pictured above looked better than the Murphy built Beverly Berline body styled by Gordon Buehrig pictured here: (Read More…)

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