QOTD: Volkswagen's De' Silva Says "Overdesign" Is Dead. Agree Or Disagree?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
qotd volkswagen s de silva says overdesign is dead agree or disagree

At the Japanese launch of the Volkswagen Up!, VW’s design chief Walter de’ Silva told a group of assembled journalists that “overdesign”, his term for the recent spate of flamboyantly styled vehicles is now passe, and that the future belongs to clean, minimalist design.

A blurb in AN quotes the legendary designer as saying

“It can’t be only for one or two seasons,” de’ Silva says. “People want to understand what they buy. There is a certain security in our design. When you know that it keeps the resale value, it’s important for a family. That’s our intention.”

Naturally, de’ Silva praised vehicles like the Golf for offering “timeless” design that endures through various trends. The AN article cites cars like the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and BMW 3-Series as examples of the current “overdesign” trend (though stops short of quoting de’ Silva as offering them up as examples), and while myself and much of the B&B likes these cars, the fickle nature of design and the auto industry’s penchant for rapid change makes it an interesting question; is the pendulum moving the other way?

From my totally uneducated perspective, design, especially for a global vehicle, seems to be governed first and foremost by the dreadful European pedestrian safety regulations; the blunt front ends necessitate the high belt lines, and stubby ass-ends, which in turn call for oversized wheels that look appropriate but add mass and degrade ride quality.

But what do I know? I leave the design critiques to Sajeev and pontificate about everything else. Is de’ Silva on the right path?

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6 of 100 comments
  • Theditor Theditor on Sep 25, 2012

    Agreed. Now bring back Der Phaeton to the U.S.

  • Jamez9k Jamez9k on Sep 25, 2012

    Toning it down a notch doesn't have to mean bland or generic. It only needs to mean making a coherent, proportionally correct and most of all functional design. Personally I find the current state of automotive design so bad right now that no matter how many people comment to me on how ugly the Juke or Crosstour are I really for the life of me can't see how they are any uglier than most other cars out there. For the record I drive a 2012 Mazda Pokemon special that I certainly didn't buy based on looks.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 25, 2012

      I drive an 05 xB, so I live in a glass house. But my next car won't be a box or a beige design like a Golf.

  • Johnny Canada Johnny Canada on Sep 26, 2012

    Still waiting for the front Fender Ventilation fad to die.

    • Srogers Srogers on Sep 26, 2012

      Sure, and are you going to take the blame when all those engines overheat and burn up? ; )

  • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Jun 21, 2013

    Can I have a car with angles, corners, and flat surfaces again? Screw European pedestrians, I like angular front ends.