Mr. van Hooydonk, what characterizes the design approach of BMW?
VAN HOOYDONK: At BMW, it’s about proportions and designing a car that looks like it’s moving even when it’s standing still. It’s also about creating a design that isn’t too convoluted but is the product of a strong character. Nowadays, BMW Group builds many vehicles. The challenge is giving them all their own character – that’s what we work on every day. But the most important thing is to fulfill their purpose as simply and as cleanly as possible. Design doesn’t have to be complicated to look fantastic.
Mr. Giugiaro, if you look at the development of BMW Design, in particular with regard to the last few years with Mr. van Hooydonk as head of BMW Group Design, what has impressed or surprised you the most?
GIUGIARO: In my opinion, sales pressure is forcing manufacturers to create more aggressive and diverse forms. We both worry that the search for new designs is becoming too hectic. The competition is huge – these days, it’s not enough to just find one’s own identity, although that’s an important aspect, of course. Unfortunately, everyone is looking for too many details. I don’t think that’s a good thing. That isn’t meant as a criticism; it’s an observation. After all, I am first and foremost an engineer and not a designer. People don’t know what they should be doing anymore. Research has become sluggish in parts, and the search for new design details is getting out of hand. The BMW brand, however, is still strong and creates great products with a clear, expressive design.
What are the key factors in designing a new vehicle – today and for the future? Will it become increasingly complex?
VAN HOOYDONK: I think it will, as a car is composed of so many individual parts. A headlight comprises 60 parts, for instance, while a taillight has 40 parts – this makes the design process quite difficult. That’s why I completely agree with Mr. Giugiaro. If you can manage to come up with a clean, simple design language, it will stand the test of time. But in general, it is more difficult to simply focus on how the car will look these days, as we have to comply with a multitude of intricate laws. And we have plenty of competitors, of course. However, BMW Design will always go its own way with design language with a strong character.
Mr. van Hooydonk, can you give us an idea of what to expect from BMW Design over the next few years – in particular with regard to the start of the Neue Klasse in 2025? What can customers expect from each BMW in terms of electrification, digitalization, and sustainability?
VAN HOOYDONK: In the next five years, we will experience huge changes in technology. We will use them as an opportunity to significantly change BMW Design. It will become more authentic, much more modern, and even cleaner. Everyone will recognize these changes at first glance – nevertheless, they will always know that these are vehicles from BMW.