By on March 1, 2017

BMW Designworks and Deere 1050k Crawler

This week, BMW Group proudly announced that its Designworks styling subsidiary had recently been honored with numerous awards… for its John Deere bulldozers. I had no idea that BMW had any ties — indirect or otherwise —with Deere & Company, let alone that they were absolutely killing it with some of the sexiest designed construction and forestry equipment on the planet.

However, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the flash-masters at Lamborghini started off building tractors and just about every major manufacturer has tried its hand in aviation, industrial equipment, military vehicles, or some combination of the three. Some of even started there. What makes BMW’s involvement with Deere stand out, however, is how much pride the company is taking in the accolades it received for the heavy machinery, even as the Group’s automotive sales took a nosedive last year. 

At the end of last year year, BMW Group was down 9.7 percent on sales of 365,204 compared to 2015’s 404,537. While the company’s flagship sedan raked in some accolades for its user interface and the 2 Series garnered praise for drivability in M trim, there wasn’t an overabundance of ballyhoo being thrown around for any single production model.

This was not true for the BMW Designworks collaboration with Deere. The 850K Crawler and the 1050K Crawler were recognized in early 2016 with the Red Dot Award for outstanding product design. According to BMW, the vehicles’ design was conceived “to communicate the two core features of these vehicles — robustness and strength” while “unifying elements such as the faceted exterior surfaces create a bold, no-nonsense expression.”

While I’m curious as to whether bulldozers currently on the market have a lighthearted or garish expression, I think can definitely get on board with the no-nonsense image of industrial-grade equipment.

The Crawler also received the highly prestigious 2016 Good Design Award for industry while the Ferrari 488 Spider and Audi A4 took the award for cars. Also honoring the 1050K was the iF Design Awards.

“Regardless of the industry, as we look to the future, we face more technological and digitalization challenges being balanced with a clean aesthetic appearance” said Designworks’ boss Oliver Heilmer. “As a part of the BMW Group, we strongly believe that design leadership can help answer some of these challenges. Through collaboration and cross-industrial knowledge exchange we are able to develop compelling product solutions — for customers and for business.”

I might not know anything about what makes for a good bulldozer, but I have a feeling that BMW might want to consider getting Heilmer and the rest of his team a little more involved in its automotive brand’s revamped design department.

[Image: BMW Group]

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