Tag: car design

By on June 1, 2017

2017 Mini Countryman, Image: MiniIn Oliver Heilmer, BMW Group’s Mini brand will finally have a design chief after being rudderless for much of the last year.

Anders Warming, Heilmer’s predecessor, resigned the post last summer. The 42-year-old Heilmer, who makes his way up the corporate ladder from BMW Designworks in California, won’t actually undertake his new role until September.

“With his design expertise and experience, Oliver Heilmer combines continuity with the freshness and vision Mini stands for,” Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, said in BMW’s official statement. In other words, Heilmer is both an insider, as part of BMW Group Design for 17 years, but also an outsider, as the BMW Designworks boss who previously held a post in interior design at the BMW brand.

Regardless, Heilmer has his work cut out for him. In the hugely important U.S. market, Mini sales in 2016 fell to a six-year low, and sales are declining further in 2017. (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2017

BMW Air Curtain, Image: BMW

Mike writes:

Sajeev,

I have noticed something on newer cars, and it’s been bothering me for awhile now. Perhaps you, with your deity-like omniscience (and access to inside information) will be able to provide some clarity.

As you can see from the picture below, a new Toyota has this vertical flat area around the wheels. And it’s not just this particular model of car — nearly every modern car I see on the road today has a similar design feature, though they vary in the width of the flat area around the wheel arch. Contrast this the Clinton-era Toyo at the bottom, where the body lines follow a graceful curve all the way to the fender opening.

(Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

2017 Porsche Panamera Volcano Grey - Image: Porsche

The first second-generation Porsche Panamera I ever spotted was missing its front end. It was still distinctly more attractive than the first-generation Porsche Panamera ever was.

My house is near the CN Autoport in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. Dozens of stevedores drive mostly European-built new vehicles off Wallenius Wilhelmsen ships to parking lots near a main road, incidentally known as Main Road. Typically, if I time my drives past just right, I see long lines of new cars, such as the British-built Honda Civic Hatchback or the Volvo V90, weeks before a single one arrives at your local dealer.

Ever so slightly closer to my home than the Autoport itself is a smaller building where the damaged vehicles go. Today, there’s a Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, sans rear bumper, parked outside. A few months ago, mere seconds before feasting my eyes upon a line of second-gen Porsche Panameras, I saw the aforementioned damaged Panamera. “Maaaaaan, that car is pretty.”

And then I remembered the old Panamera, vomiting a bit in my throat at the thought. And then I saw Porsche’s April 2017 U.S. sales figures. Scroll down, scroll down, there it is: Panamera. 1,098 sales.

Double its typical monthly output. 26-percent better than its previous best. Triple April 2016’s volume.

And proof people prefer pretty. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Redline Edition - Image: GM

After a long eight-year run for the second-generation Chevrolet Equinox, General Motors finally dropped the third-generation 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in September 2016. The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox might not be your cup of tea — I like the look, and the diesel option — but we learned late last month that it could have been downright awful.

How bad was it? It looked too bulky, too odd, too underwhelming, according to focus groups. The Equinox’s chief engineer, Mark Cieslak, said, “What we have on paper we felt was not going to win.”

So GM went back to the drawing board.

But seriously, how bad was it? We want to know, as does Autoweek, which tweeted last Saturday, “We really want to see what the abandoned version looked like.”

GM’s executive vice president for global product development, the Twitter-affable Mark Reuss, responded just 10 minutes later. And, uh, my guess is they really don’t want us to see the first third-gen Equinox. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

1

Car shows take Vellum Venom down a psychotropic styling journey: elaborate displays with brilliant interior design elements, dazzling lighting, stunning product specialists (if you’re into that gawking thing), free top-shelf crap everywhere and perfect machinery refreshed by an army of detailers. Many years passed since my last auto show, but I had to come back to get the latest bits of car design. And interior design. And architecture.

Those three in mind, the Hyundai section was a remarkable letdown: the architecture brilliantly absorbed Cobo Center’s impressive amounts of negative area, marred by the mediocrity of a bland-toned Accent occupying prime real estate. Why ruin my Architectural-Digest worthy photograph?

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2016

1985 Lamborghini Countach, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

I stood face-to-fascia with a childhood dream, thanks to a tangential connection to Houston’s 2016 Lamborghini Festival. And yet, like all designs born pure and modified to remain relevant, the original Lamborghini LP400’s purity of form is sometimes absent in this time capsule, all-original LP5000. 

But please believe that, LP400 or no, it took every fiber of my being to avoid the typical auto journo blather on this sheet of vellum. (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

As I exited the grocery store this past Sunday night thronged by late night shoppers, the expressions on the faces of those who walked past the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback LX, parked right in front of the store, were not difficult to discern.

Then, as it became obvious I was the “owner” of said Civic, previously repulsed glances shifted toward me, now full of pity. Can’t say I was surprised. The exterior design Honda foisted upon an otherwise excellent car is downright horrifying.

I wanted to shout across the grocery store parking lot, “It’s not mine.”
(Read More…)

By on October 25, 2016

ND Mazda MX-5 Miata Closeup, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

I had the distinct non-privilege of sampling an ND Miata at a Mazda event for the general public, which was also covered by one of TTAC’s sister publications. A gaze at the hood bulges at (slow) auto journo track speeds netted a surprise: there was an urgency to get this cab-backward profile on the Vellum.

It’s no different than being a design student; visions quickly sketched on vellum (lower case) were crucial. Today’s urgency isn’t for my GPA, but for Vellum Venom’s readers (all 51 of you) and for my soul. It’s been too long.

(Read More…)

By on June 7, 2016

7072

Jeremy writes:

I’d love to know your thoughts on the proliferation of plastic cladding on pretty much every CUV/SUV on sale today. I’ve noticed that pretty much everyone does it now – Toyota, Mazda, Ford, Jeep, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, the list goes on.

(Read More…)

By on April 7, 2016

Porsche 928 Brown Interior

TTAC commentator Windy writes:

Sajeev,

I just started the once-every-few-years process of shopping for a new car. When I ordered my Mini 12 years ago, I was able to pick from a vast selection of colors and options. Since then, automakers have dwindled down and constrained their available colors. I’ve played the configurator game with many marques, and the choices in color were frankly dismal for most cars.

(Read More…)

By on April 5, 2016

allfordmustangsdotcom

Jeff writes:

Sajeev:

I have a question that I don’t believe you have answered before in your talking about design features, and that is the weird obsession car makers have with exhaust outlets.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

cover

One of my CCS Design professors had a saying: it’s all about Proportion, Proportion, Proportion. Just typing that makes me cringe. Perhaps it’s a popular phrase for car design wonks, or a riff from the restaurant business.

However, the theory is valid: Imagine if the Pontiac Aztek was proportioned a la Range Rover Evoque. It’s a fair notion. If that were the case, the Aztek may not have been bound for every “Top 100 Ugliest Cars” list since 2000.

Proving the theory is this 1988 Jaguar XJS. It’s a beautiful grand touring coupe because the proportions are right. (Read More…)

By on January 1, 2016

1961_AMC_PRfoto_Designers

Today, TTAC’s editors present their annual round-ups for 2015. Sajeev brings you his winners and losers in the highly subjective field of design.  (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2015

 

i479036

Don’t put those two together…

Lowell writes:

Sajeev,

I thought you might know: What’s up with so many recent cars incorporating an oversized, black plastic, gaping maw in place of what’s been normal-sized grilles on cars? Lexus comes to mind first, with a visage that any Predator could love. But also, Hyundai Veloster, the revamped Yaris, various Audis, and so forth.

Is this related to some Euro pedestrian law, compliance with which mandates some high percentage of very breakable plastic up front? Darned hard to explain otherwise. At least for me. So I thought I’d ask.

(Read More…)

By on July 16, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 10.59.27 AMFuture Fords may have decorative exterior molding or body panels with built-in lights, Carscoops.com (via FocusRSClub) has uncovered in patent filings.

The filings detail luminescent panels and moldings that would light up to accent portions of some of Ford’s vehicles.

Or you know, the stuff aftermarket shops have been offering for years now.

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States