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So many brands

  • Head of design for VW Group
  • We talk from Audi to Volkswagen
  • The man behind the designs
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Walter de Silver
Head of Design, Volkswagen Group

What Car? The portfolio of products you oversee is bewilderingly large and eclectic, from the Volkswagen Up! to the Bugatti 16C Galibier. How do you keep in touch with all of these projects and keep them on track?

Walter de Silva Yes, the Volkswagen Group portfolio is unparalleled. The range reflects practically the entire spectrum of the automobile market. Fortunately, each of the brands has its own, unmistakable profile. That enables us to take a clearly structured approach to our work and makes it manageable. We have a lot of balls to juggle, but we also have everything absolutely under control.

What Car? How do you keep model identity while retaining a brand look? Do customers want a universal look across a brand?

Walter de Silva The focus is always on the brand, on its history, the icons it has produced and the values it stands for. There is clear orientation for the designers at each of the brands.

We feel certain that customers have a strong desire to see the identity of their brand preserved in the design of a vehicle. By the same token, however, customers also expect a product from the Volkswagen Group to boast exceptional quality and that includes design.

Regardless of what brand-specific design message we are putting out, we also want to cultivate a certain design culture across the group. That is expressed in the quality of the solutions we offer. Whatever the brand, whatever the product, it is important that it be perceived intuitively as part of the Volkswagen world. Let me emphasise again, however, that priority is given to the brand and to maintaining a specific identity.