Just read this really interesting extract from an interview with Simon Collins, the Dean of Fashion at Parsons where he talks about the impact of the recession on fashion.
Am I alone in thinking that what he says could be easily be translated into rationalising some of the largesse of the car industry?
“The biggest challenge was the biggest opportunity with designers eschewing big runway shows into a static exhibition. This in tandem with an internet presence is a more modern way of working and I think we’ll see much more of it.
A lot of the rubbish will be swept away. We are going to focus on brands with real integrity. There was a much more intelligence to the merchandising of the lines. There was the same level of creativity but less window dressing and more focus on salable items.”
His comments regarding shows is particularly pertinent given the impending Salon de Geneve. Yes, I will be there (hopefully) enjoying my three course lunch with champagne at Audi, I’ll admit. But what if car makers moved away from the massive cost of running their motor show stands and introduced new product like Apple will, who has decided to not continue with their traditional MacWorld keynotes?
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Is it me or do the front clips of these two cars look decidedly similar? The prominent, 5 sided grille on a central plinth? The trapezoidal lamps that break over the top surface of the wing? The three element lower intake? Even the little surface underlining the base of the headlamps is remarkably similar.
On the left we have the Chrysler 200C EV Concept from the Detroit show and on the right we have the new (as in now in production) Opel Insignia.
One is a vision of where a brand wants to be. The other is a testament to where a brand is now, based on a vision that’s maybe 5 years old now.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Chrysler is a bad looking car (in fact, elements of it are downright sexy, the lovely interior in particular). It’s just that I would have liked to see a much stronger, forward looking statement about the future of Chrysler, especially give their current financial situation.
I breathed an epic sigh of relief when I saw that they had finally ditched the baroque/kitsch theme that has done them such a disservice over the last few years but such an homage (intentional or not) to just another average, mid-sized car (that is already on the market) seems like an opportunity missed for the team in Aubern Hills.
Designers: we’re looking for signs of energy, confidence and an eye fixed firmly on the future, not competent me-too-ism!
Today seems as good a day as any to start the little experiment that is DownsideUp. I can’t promise you much but here goes…
It seems only yesterday that the bosses of the Big Three made their separate ways to Washington to plead for more cash in that most inappropriate of vehicles, the company private jet. It seemed impossible that companies headed by these insensitive oafs could actually produce anything remotely relevant for the Detroit show.
Well, I’ve been proved wrong!
Today Lincoln launched the Concept C, a vaguely C-Segment-ish hatch with a Fiat Multipla-aping 3-abreast seating layout. Of course the technical details are nothing but pie-in-the-sky stuff as far as any potential production version is concerned but it’s the package that really excited me.
Here is an American manufacturer seemingly realising that part of the future lies in downsizing. People who would have traditionally purchased D or even E Segment cars will be looking to get into something more manageable and economically/environmentally responsible but they aren’t going to want to give up on the luxuries, or indeed the sense of space, they have come to enjoy. The Concept C delivers on this idea by having a wonderful sense of spaciousness within its compact dimensions and an interior style and elegance appropriate to a small premium player.
For me the exterior design theme is a take-it-or-leave-it affair that plays on well established Lincoln themes somewhat awkwardly adapted to a radically smaller proportion. As I’ve said, the treat for me here was not so much the detailed execution and more Lincoln’s relisation that it can do small and still retain its values. Now let’s just hope FoMoCo has the bollocks to produce it and the American buying public can see it as a viable alternative.
More info at: Autoblog