bonsai cactus

A few weeks ago I finally had the chance to check out the new Citroen C4 Cactus at a dealer. I sat in it and had a good look around. What an impressive car, truly excellent design from Citroen! I was shocked at just how small the car is from the outside. It really is tiny, smaller than even a standard C4 or DS4, but space inside is superb. The boot capacity is rather small thanks to a cute stubby rear overhang, and for my family it’s inadequate. The loading lip is very high and unsuitable for my dog. There are no rear quarter lights either. So maybe it’s not for me (shame because I really want to buy one) but it’s clearly one of the best new car designs for many years. The interior is truly special. The dealer I visited also sell Mercedes and I sat in the new GLA class crossover. Guess which car has more space and then guess which has the best quality interior materials and design? Yes the Citroen. Bravo! For less than half the price the little Citroen beats the Mercedes hands down. The door cards and door pulls on the Cactus are wonderful. The touchscreen centre console is much higher quality than the Mercedes. The front bench seat style cushion that stretches across the range topping Cactus I sat in feels so luxurious. I can’t praise this little car enough. Car of the year 2014 for me, without a doubt.

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Teaching Vehicle Design

Hello followers. This week I start my dream job, teaching vehicle design! Amazing news right? I’m a lecturer here LAMK in Finland. A lot more news about this will follow on this blog!

Bangle on form as usual

Another golden chance to hear what Chris Bangle thinks of current Auto design. Courtesy of Form Trends.

Bentley design bosses on video…

“this is the only thing I can do” regarding drawing. Luc Donckerwolke: Design Director at Bentley.

Citroen C4 Cactus design

Some of the design team talking about the C4 Cactus production design.

991 Targa

The original retro design, goes retro.

No idea why anyone would be shocked by this, as the 911 has been essentially a retro design since the 80’s. Same shape for 50 years! This one is really very nice indeed.

click, whir, brrrummmm (emotional design)

Emotional design is something that is difficult to define, or describe. It’s also a relatively new concept outside of the car industry. Apple have pushed technical products in this direction very recently, and Alessi have championed it in consumer items for some time. Fashion design of course feeds on our emotions, but on a superficial level. Car design has slowly and steadily evolved its own emotional and personal design relationships with us. We own cars, much like we own pets. Often we give them names, we lavish care on them, we clean them, “detail” them, customize them and therefore seem to form relationships with them! We have crazy terms like “that’s a woman’s car” or that’s an “old person’s car”. Do any of us go around saying that about for example a microwave? Oh you bought a Whirlpool dishwasher? That’s such a “girl’s dishwasher” we bought the more appropriate Bosch “man’s dishwasher”…

Anyway, so how do we make cars emotional? Many tiny factors are involved, all of them add up and influence us humans in very subtle ways. Here’s the awesome Peter Stevens talking about one emotional aspect of his McLaren F1 design. Link embedded in Peter’s picture!

Peter Stevens on the McLaren F1 engine sound

 

CX-5 + 12 = C-X17 (pt2)

CX-5 + 12 = C-X17 (pt2)

Rear view… comparison of Jaguar and Mazda design language for their crossover vehicle designs. Both look great, but so similar…

CX-5 + 12 = C-X17

CX-5 + 12 = C-X17

Comparison of just how close the Jaguar and Mazda design language has become recently… (both look great in my opinion).

the car industries coolest brand…?

I received this email from our co-blogger here, regarding a design talk given some months ago by current head of Advanced Design at Jaguar, Julian Thompson. It relates to the CX-17 crossover concept, and also gives us clues to the deep rooted changes in Jaguar management that have enabled the design-led (Apple like?!) resurgence of this great brand. Thompson and Ian Callum have fully vindicated the new management’s confidence in them, surely?

Julian Thompson at the talk pointed out that Jag were stuck in a rut. Ford had transformed the quality and reliability of the products but they had stuck to the same look. This was because Ford used ‘consumer focus groups’ where they asked the consumer, the customer, what they wanted. Even worse Thompson pointed out they did this in the USA as that was Jags biggest market at the time. So what did the consumer say they wanted? Well as they were mainly 55 year old company directors they wanted the cars to STAY THE SAME, to LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME as the previous model. Jag listened, and the S-Type, previous XJ and X-Type were born. Sales figures went from bad to worse. Average consumer age went from bad to worse too! Or at least didn’t improve. Profits evaporated.

The new management threw this out of the window.

The next bit I am adding myself, as Thompson didn’t say it:

I believe they decided to look at what consumers are actually DOING rather than what they were saying. What they were DOING was buying super modern, sporty, diesel BMWs.

So this spawned the XF (commercial, diesel) and the new XJ (stunning modernity) and what happened? They sold THREE TIMES as many XFs as S-Types and now look at Jag! Making profit and storming on to be one of THE hottest brands on the planet. Even if you include any brand, not just cars, Jaguar is COOL. The F-Type has already sold 1000 units within 2 months!!! Despite the high price.

Ronnieretro