Environment vs design

* Head of design for VW Group * We talk from Audi to Volkswagen * The man behind the designs...

Author Avatar
What Car? Staff
07 May 2010

Environment vs design

What Car? Are car buyers going to have to compromise on space, style or equipment with the pressure to improve efficiency?

Walter de Silva The future will bring changes for us all. That is why we will be offering intelligent concepts in all vehicle classes. To what extent the customer will sacrifice certain comforts, is another matter. The declared objective from where I stand is to keep making automobiles with the emotive qualities that make them special.

What Car? How much design freedom is lost in the need to meet emissions standards and safety, particularly pedestrian protection?

Walter de Silva We are not losing any freedom, but are actually gaining additional performance ground. Compliance with regulations and standards has been part of the everyday mission of designers throughout the history of the modern automobile. In the 1960s and 70s people asked us how we managed to cope with the new safety standards.

Then there was the advent of the wind tunnel, which was accompanied by renewed noises about the alleged loss of freedom. What happened? Automobile designers around the world came up with solutions of all kinds and cars are still as attractive as ever. So, why should we not manage to come up with solutions to accommodate the latest requirements? Optimism and creativity are tools of our trade; a yearning for some kind of obscurely defined freedom is not.