No automobile designer in latest historical past comes near touching former BMW Group design chief Chris Bangle for controversy. For many years to come back, auto scribes will pen articles trying again on his affect on BMW’s lineup, most of which is able to point out the “Bangle Butt” throughout the first 100 phrases.
Bangle’s 17-year tenure on the German automaker led to 2009, after which he vacated the auto business, began up a design agency bearing his identify, and left his previous merchandise for the punditry to debate forever. Properly, Bangle is again, in a fashion of talking, and he’s engaged on a automobile from an unlikely supply.
He additionally spilled his guts on the Frankfurt Motor Present. The person identified for avant-garde prospers and dangerous design adventures claims “hyper-conservative, hyper-terrified” automakers are simply re-toasting the identical slice of bread.
“They’re being requested to do little extra than simply ‘give me a little bit twist on what we simply did,’” Bangle instructed Automotive Information Europe, referring to modern-day designers. “If it’s left as much as these hyper-conservative, hyper-terrified firms which can be so enormous, and the place all the things is resting on a backside line that would go south at any minute … properly, these are the final folks to ask for the braveness to go ahead into the longer term. The final folks.”
He continued. “They defend their manufacturers just like the advantage of Guinevere and they’re doing it by placing a chastity belt across the woman and, sorry, that’s not the way you make youngsters. That’s not the way you make a future.”
Pushing reminiscences of the prodigious rumps and glitter-lined peepers of the Bangle-designed 5, 6, and seven Sequence fashions for a second, the person’s feedback aren’t with no strong nugget of fact. The earlier decade introduced with it a crop of daring autos, and with it, successes and flops. Leaving BMW out of it, we noticed the Honda Aspect and Scion xB, the Nissan Dice and Toyota FJ Cruiser, the Chevrolet HHR and SSR, the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Dodge Magnum, plus the first-generation Nissan Murano. And that’s simply the “boxy” phase.
Outdoors of Germany, the place secure, conservative styling goes to thrive (now that Bangle’s gone), lengthy and straight character traces and big, gaping grilles are the order of the day. There’s cause for this, as “daring” is prone to preserve one crop of patrons away whereas one other salivates. A lot safer to not offend. Or is it?
Notable duds have emerged from automakers’ makes an attempt to play it secure. Consider the toned-down seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata, which even the automaker admits, “Didn’t flip heads.” Consider the ninth-generation Honda Civic, a bland, beancounter-designed automobile that disillusioned journalists and compelled the automaker into an emergency design refresh. Consider the eighth-generation Chevrolet Malibu, which garnered snores after the enticing, well-received seventh-generation mannequin garnered gross sales.
Although the ANE story’s creator stored the model’s identification a secret, Bangle made one in every of BMW’s opponents the goal of pointed criticism. Saying the model makes nice use of expertise and has a “fantastic” stand at Frankfurt, Bangle claimed “they’ve actually good designers, however I’ve seen this all earlier than somewhere else.”
Burn. Suffice it to say that firm most likely doesn’t have Bangle’s identify on its velocity dial.
Nonetheless, we stated Bangle was again within the recreation, and never simply because he was mouthing off at an auto present. The designer claims he’s impressed with the outside-the-box perspective of startup firms, admitting that his design store is engaged on a automobile for simply such an outfit.
“It’s an present firm that comes from a producing perspective — not an automaker,” he stated, leaving its true identification a thriller. Bangle claims the corporate approached him to create an idea automobile greater than a few years in the past. The automobile’s remaining design is now nearing completion, and its reveal ought to come “prior to later.”
“I really feel strongly sufficient about this that I’d put my identify on this,” he added.
Let your minds go wild.
[Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5)]