Report: Bangle urges auto design shakeup, says industry not innovating

Filed under: BMW, Design/Style

LA AUTO SHOW

Controversial designer Chris Bangle, the man behind the notorious E65 BMW 7-Series “Bangle Butt,” has some rather sharp criticism for the current crop of automotive designers in an upcoming full-length interview with Automotive News Europe. The preview, posted on Automotive News, details parts of the interview, with the always vocal Bangle lamenting the state of modern automotive design.

“Even concept cars today simply anticipate the next production model coming down the line. Is this innovation? No. And at the end of the day this is what’s preventing car design from moving into a new era.” Controversial as Bangle’s design philosophy may be, we can’t help but think he has a point. His so-called “flame surfacing” at BMW and other stylistic elements had a huge influence on modern automotive design, although as the years have passed, there hasn’t been much innovation on the same scale.

Interestingly, Bangle also mentions that he’s been courted by a few manufacturers that wanted to install the American as the head of their design teams. He’s flatly rejected them, telling ANE, “It’s not something you can do part time, you have to do it with all your heart and soul or you’re going to get it wrong.”

The full interview with Chris Bangle will go live at on Automotive News Europe’s website on Monday, September 2.

Bangle urges auto design shakeup, says industry not innovating originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Lincoln ‘not true luxury’ yet, says Ford design chief

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Lincoln, Design/Style, Luxury

2013 Lincoln MKZ front three-quarters

Lincoln is “not true luxury,” according to Ford’s design boss, J Mays. His statements come from a story in The Detroit News that saw candid language on the issues facing Ford’s troubled premium brand. Notably, there’s a need for a strong character, with Mays saying, “Every brand needs to have a DNA and a unique selling point and things in the vehicle that make you think, ‘That’s that particular brand.'”

With a range of rebadged Fords, it’s not hard to see why that DNA is missing. Mays hinted that a full recovery for Lincoln will be a ten-year process, that’s been kicked off with the MKZ sedan. While that car is still largely a Ford Fusion under its extremely pretty wrapper, it’s the first Lincoln in some time to inject its own unique take both through the exterior styling and through interior features, such as the vertical, pushbutton gear selection.

Some analysts weren’t so certain about Mays’ 10-year estimate. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics thinks it’ll be more like 30 years before Lincoln can show a true return to form. The issue, as Hall explains it, is that, “luxury has a degree of exclusivity,” that Lincoln just doesn’t have. Michelle Krebs from Edmunds adds, “it’s definitely a wanna-be luxury brand,” comparing the troubled American brand with Infiniti and Acura, two other brands that have struggled to find their place in the luxury market.

From the language Mays is using, though, it seems that Ford is still rather committed to Lincoln. The MKZ, while plagued by production issues, has been a steady seller, although not enough to prevent an overall drop in 2013 sales for the brand. The eventual arrival of the Ford Escape-based MKC could be a boon to the brand, provided its as unique as the MKZ. Lincoln is also preparing to go on sale in China, a market that has traditionally loved brands unloved by Americans (see Buick), so while Ford’s luxury brand might be down, it’s probably nowhere close to out.

Lincoln ‘not true luxury’ yet, says Ford design chief originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Petersen Museum undergoing stunning design overhaul [w/video]

Filed under: Classics, Etc., Videos

Petersen Automotive Museum exterior renovation plans

If you were alarmed when the Petersen Automotive Museum starting selling off large and significant parts of its venerable collection, fret not: the museum isn’t in trouble. In fact it’s about to embark on what could be its most ambitious rebirth since the late Motor Trend publisher Robert E. Petersen and his wife Margie founded the museum nearly 20 years ago.

The plans announced at Pebble Beach this past weekend revolve principally around an architectural renovation of the former department store that houses the museum by the corner of Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax in Los Angeles. The project is being undertaken by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (no relation) and calls for flowing bands of stainless steel enveloping three sides of the red structure, giving the building a fresh look without requiring any structural changes. The steel ribbons will be backlit by LEDs day and night, and remind us of a blend between a hot rod flame job and cartographical topography. But the renovation isn’t just a facade: the project will also add another 15,000 square feet of display space inside, with new galleries and digital displays focusing on cars and car culture in South California and around the world.

The overhaul will also encompass a “refined and upgraded” collection as well as rotating displays, although few details were given at this point as to what exactly that will entail. Scope out the video clip and the press release below for more.

Continue reading Petersen Museum undergoing stunning design overhaul [w/video]

Petersen Museum undergoing stunning design overhaul [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: LaFerrari design secrets explored at Ferrari museum

Filed under: Concept Cars, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Ferrari, Design/Style

For every finished vehicle design we see, there are probably hundreds of drawings and models that have long since been discarded. Housed in its own room inside the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, the LaFerrari has a unique exhibit that shows off some of the car’s design evolution, and Autocar caught up with Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni for an even deeper look at what went into creating this hybrid supercar.

In addition to the final product, the LaFerrari exhibit also reveals some of the designs that didn’t make the cut – two of which made it to the full-size scale model phase, though. The display shows off five different designs (three from Ferrari and two from Pininfarina) that were in the running to become the final LaFerrari.

The interview with Manzoni even adds in some juicy bits of info, including news that one of the potential LaFerrari designs has been locked away and could resurface as a special, one-off model. Manzoni gets in a couple of good quotes while voicing his opposition of the current retro design language currently being used by some automakers, as well. Check it all out in the video below.

Continue reading LaFerrari design secrets explored at Ferrari museum

LaFerrari design secrets explored at Ferrari museum originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota USA gains increased design control

Filed under: Etc., Toyota

2011 toyota tundra

2011 Toyota Tundra – Click above for high-res image gallery

The product development cycle at Toyota can be frustrating. More specifically, the process can be frustrating for North American executives who don’t have total control over vehicles specifically marketed to their country. Engineers, developers and executives all have a say, but the final decisions have been made in Japan. Until now.

According to a report from Automotive News, Toyota has changed its product development process for North American vehicles. An example of such a vehicle is the Toyota Tundra. That pickup caters to the desires and needs of the U.S. car-buying public, and now Toyota USA will be given the leeway needed to make sure it meets those desires and needs.

The Japanese automaker says it has always listened to its U.S. counterparts. However, the process was stifled due to the requirement that decisions be finalized in Japan. Now, this process can flow more freely. Expect to see the effects of this change beginning with the next generation of the Tundra.

Toyota USA gains increased design control originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: BMW Group design boss von Hooydonk talks 328 Hommage

Filed under: Concept Cars, Classics, Convertible, Performance, Europe, Videos, BMW, Misc. Auto Shows, Luxury

BMW 328 Hommage Concept

BMW 328 Hommage concept with Adrian von Hooydonk – Click above to watch the video after the break

While at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este (yeah, we’re roughing it here) we grabbed BMW Group chief of design Adrian von Hooydonk for an interview about his team’s latest two-person open-top concept car, the 328 Hommage.

The 328 Hommage marks 75 years since the launch of the gorgeous 1930s icon, the 328, and carries on the tradition of that car in its lightness. While the 328 six-cylinder was underpowered on paper in its day, it kicked butt on the race circuit due to its very light weight and superior dynamics.

The 328 Hommage frankly looks more like an homage to the 1950s sex-tastic 507, but at least the concept gets the open sides, leather straps, and wingnut wheels fairly correct. And we like that the tall kidneys on the grille make a modern return.

Von Hooydonk admits that the 328 Hommage isn’t proportionally much like the 328 of old, but, he says, “Any sports car today needs to be wider and lower anyway.” We, however, harken back to the 2006 Mille Miglia coupe concept, which simply blew one and all away. That car also went directly from its public unveiling into the BMW museum in Munich, never to be seriously driven.

Click through to the jump to continue reading and to watch the video.

Continue reading BMW Group design boss von Hooydonk talks 328 Hommage

BMW Group design boss von Hooydonk talks 328 Hommage originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lamborghini Aventador gets first aftermarket tune from Oakley Design

Filed under: Aftermarket, Coupe, Performance, Lamborghini

oakley design lamborghini aventador lp760-2

Oakley Design Lamborghini Aventador LP760-2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Oakley Design is one automotive aftermarket tuning firm that often gets things very right. Rather than turning to outrageous, over-the-top styling touches, Oakley Design realizes it’s working with something that’s already special and simply turns the knob from 10 to 11. We saw the firms take on the Ferrari 458 Italia, and now we’ve learned that the Lamborghini Aventador is set to be tweaked.

If you read the photo caption closely, you may have thought we incorrectly called the car an Aventador LP760-2. Normally, you’d expect to see that written LP700-4, which means the car is a (nearly) 700-horsepower, all-wheel-drive monster. Not this one. The mad-minds at Oakley Design are pushing out more power, and they want it all being sent to the rear wheels. The goal is 760-horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque, and it will be achieved through an ECU remap, larger airbox and intake setup and a lighter titanium exhaust system.

Besides performance upgrades, Oakley Design is adding subtle exterior updates to the Aventador’s appearance. Signature Oakley Design wheels sit at all four corners (19-inch front/20-inch rear), and are wrapped in the Aventador’s standard Pirelli PZero tires. Oakley design nabbed the rollers thanks to its partnership with HRE Wheels.

This upgraded Lambo also has wider side sills, larger side vents, a deeper rear diffuser and carbon fiber on the side mirrors, roof and engine bay. See it for yourself in our high-res image gallery, and check out the press release after the break.

Continue reading Lamborghini Aventador gets first aftermarket tune from Oakley Design

Lamborghini Aventador gets first aftermarket tune from Oakley Design originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 May 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 Ford Taurus design points the way for next Falcon, Mondeo

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Sedan, Wagon, Ford, Australia, Design/Style

2013 Ford Taurus

2013 Ford Taurus – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you’ve been wondering exactly what Ford has in mind for the next-generation Falcon, look no further than the recently revealed 2013 Taurus for a few clues. Ford design guru J Mays has officially made it clear that the look of the sedan will be transposed onto several of the automaker’s other products, including models like the Mondeo and Falcon. The crew from Go Auto spoke to Mays at the New York International Auto Show last week where the designer said that the corporate look will still allow each model to flex its character.

Mays said that the design was heavily influenced by vehicles like the Audi A6 and that the new trapezoidal grille design on the 2013 Taurus will allow the vehicle’s face to be easily applied to a range of products. Even so, don’t expect to see exact carbon copies across the dealer lot. Mays made it clear that the design can be modified to deliver everything from an aggressive visage to a more subdued look.

Gallery: 2013 Ford Taurus

2013 Ford Taurus2013 Ford Taurus2013 Ford Taurus2013 Ford Taurus2013 Ford Taurus

[Source: Go Auto]

2013 Ford Taurus design points the way for next Falcon, Mondeo originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Apr 2011 18:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New York 2011: Every new VW Beetle will be a second-generation design

Filed under: Coupe, Volkswagen, Design/Style

2012 VW New Beetle on display in New York
2012 Volkswagen Beetle – Click above for high-res image gallery
Volkswagen made a big deal about having the original Beetle in the studio when the designers went to work on the 2012 Beetle, so at the 2011 New York Auto Show, we spoke to Rainer Michel, vice president of product marketing and strategy for VW of America, about why that decision was so important.

“What we did in ’98 was the right car for that time,” he said, “but this one is more true to the design of the original,” a design philosophy that is apparent in items like the decreased rake of the A-pillar and the flattened line of the roof that descends further back and more cleanly into the bumper.

And Michel said that the next time they redesign the Beetle, they’ll again return to the source. “We went back to the original and did a design based on that, and when we do the next one we’ll go back to the original. Maybe we’ll go in a different direction, but it comes from the original.” The idea is that the third generation of the New Beetle won’t be a redesign of the current car, it will be another modernized version of the original.

As to the increased masculinity of the 2012 Beetle, Michel said, “The last car was about 60/40 female to male.” He intimated he’d be happy with a 50/50 split, but what was more important to him was getting away from that concern at all. “We wanted a car with good interior space, more shoulder room and head clearance, a car which accommodates passengers nicely and has a range of powertrains,” he said. “The car shouldn’t depend on any demographics.”

Gallery: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle: New York 2011

2012 Volkswagen Beetle2012 Volkswagen Beetle2012 Volkswagen Beetle2012 Volkswagen Beetle2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

New York 2011: Every new VW Beetle will be a second-generation design originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2012 Volvo S60 and XC60 R-Design get slight boosts in power

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Crossover, Volvo

2012 Volvo S60 R-Design

2012 Volvo S60 R-Design – Click above for high-res image gallery

While the R-Design packages for the Volvo S60 and XC60 add a measure of visual flair to the Swedish family-haulers – as well as some suspension tweaks – the one thing they’re lacking is a commensurate boost in power. The Volvo R-Design models are closer to an AMG, M-Sport or S-Line appearance package than an actual Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW M or Audi S or RS performance model. But Volvo is out to fix that with a pair of revised offerings for 2012.

Bearing the same R-Design nomenclature, the sporty versions of the S60 sedan and XC60 crossover will now benefit from an extra 25 horsepower and 29 lb-ft of torque coming out of their turbocharged six-cylinder T6 engine, bringing it up from 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque to 325 hp and 354 lb-ft respectively.

The rest of the parameters carry over from the existing R-Design models, but the increased output ought to make Volvo’s warmed-over range that much more enticing. Unfortunately, the upgraded engine does not appear, however, to be available on the V60 R-Design sport wagon that bridges the gap between the S60 and XC60 models.

Follow the jump for more details in Volvo’s official press release, and click the thumbnails below to scope out the fresh batch of images released with the announcement.

Gallery: 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design

[Source: Volvo]

Continue reading 2012 Volvo S60 and XC60 R-Design get slight boosts in power

2012 Volvo S60 and XC60 R-Design get slight boosts in power originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Apr 2011 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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