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Outstanding design: MAN crowned Design Team of the Year at the Automotive Brand Contest 2018, receiving the most prestigious design award in the automotive industry

MAN crowned Design Team of the Year at the Automotive Brand Contest 2018, receiving the most prestigious design award in the automotive industry

When thinking about exceptional automotive design, most people picture sleek sports cars, elegant limousines, or stylish sedans. And yet, this year’s winner of the industry’s most prestigious design award was none other than Munich commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus. The design team headed by Holger Koos develops a whole array of vehicles, for instance the light- and heavy-duty MAN trucks or the MAN- and NEOPLAN-branded coaches and city buses, and has won the title of Design Team of the Year at the famous Paris Motor Show.

Every year, the German Design Council invites entries for the Automotive Brand Contest, the most important international brand and design competition for the automotive industry. The competition’s jury honors outstanding product and communication design and draws attention to the fundamental importance of brand and brand design in the automotive industry. The best design team to showcase innovative and consistent brand design becomes the “Team of the Year.”

“We are, of course, very proud to have had the opportunity to pick up our award here in Paris,” says Holger Koos, Head of Design at MAN Truck & Bus. “Well-designed vehicles are gaining significance, especially in the commercial vehicle segment, where the technological differences between the vehicles are becoming less and less pronounced. This means us designers have an important part to play making sure the brand is seen in a positive light. A vehicle’s design is a visual representation of its brand – this is as true for trucks and buses as it is for passenger cars.”

There are, nevertheless, a few differences: for instance the markedly different legal requirements stipulating weights and dimensions that result in the typical European trucks and buses with a flat front end. Besides, reliability, longevity, and user friendliness are even more important for commercial vehicles than for passenger cars. Mileage of around one million kilometers is not uncommon for these vehicles.

This means special attention is paid to interior design. The truck driver cab, first and foremost a workplace, also becomes a living room and a bedroom for long-haul truck drivers. Making it as easy to use as possible is always at the forefront to relieve the drivers as much as possible. The premise for buses and coaches is not much different. At the same time, MAN and NEOPLAN vehicles are designed in a way that embodies the brands’ mission to give an exceptional creative spin to technological innovation.

Aesthetics does, of course, come into it as well, but functionality is and remains the clear priority for commercial vehicle design. “We do not set out to design something beautiful; instead we take a creative approach to implementing technical specifications that can contain aspects like a comfortable entry, an attractive passenger compartment, or an ergonomic layout,” says Koos.

“Meeting statutory and technological requirements on the one hand and fulfilling the needs of our customers, drivers, and passengers on the other while creating a groundbreaking, consistent brand design – that is the exceptional achievement of our design team,” says Joachim Drees, Chief Executive Officer of MAN Truck & Bus AG.

The Automotive Brand Contest 2018 was initiated and organized by the German Design Council, one of the world’s leading competence centers for communication and knowledge transfer in design. Its foundation members currently comprise over 290 companies. The German Design Council was founded in 1953 as a result of the German Bundestag’s initiative to boost design competence in the German economy. The work it does is diverse, aiming to communicate how strategic use of design can add long-term value to brands.

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