“Design will play a key role in deciding which automobile brands survive in the future,” commented Michael Mauer. The Head of Design at the Volkswagen Group perceives new challenges for automobile designers over the coming years. This is because they will define no less than the future of mobility and the role that automobile design will play in that process.
The world is undergoing rapid change. The mobility of the future will be defined by completely new parameters and completely new options. Design will be the key factor in defining how the automobile is perceived by its users. The design of shapes and lines, the texture of surfaces, the selection of materials, the format of window surfaces, the size and distribution of the interior space, the configuration and characteristics of the seats and the control elements – all these are criteria which determine the mobility experience. And depending on the brand and the model, with their help design creates vehicles which perfectly match the individual needs of customers.
Nuanced differentiation using classic values will become more difficult – not least due to increasingly shorter imitation cycles. Even in the coming age of autonomous, electric vehicles, the design will not be monotonous but more diverse. Michael Mauer made the following comment: “Up to now, the main issue in automobile design has related to optimisation of technical functions. Now and in the future the main focus will be on innovations beyond the boundaries of our present technical understanding. As design becomes less about technical specifications such as the engine, chassis and dimensions, and is partially circumscribed as well, the scope for designers will increase – and they will make use of this opportunity. The streetscape of the future will be more diverse, more varied and more emotional.”
Mauer believes that the importance of design will increase in the company. This is because in future the issue will no longer be simply about automobile design, it will also encompass mobility design. Everything will be about making needs people-centric. “The challenge will be to design a comprehensive user experience and ultimately to design a fascinating and appealing future,” added Mauer.
In this context, the role of design will undergo tangible change. So far, the design concept has related to the automobile. Now the concept will be significantly more comprehensive because it encompasses the Consumer Experience, the entire brand profile and all the interfaces inside and outside the vehicle. Group design also entails developing a design which authentically visualises the inimitable identity of the company and the current strengths of the individual brands of the Volkswagen Group.
From Mauer’s perspective, good design is about much more than pure form. Today, design in large companies is a fixed element in the process of development, design and marketing of products or complete company services. Design represents the company, its tradition and values, its ideas and guiding principles, and its mission in an aesthetic context, and it also reinforces the identity of the company. Design creates brand profiles and opens up new perspectives and markets. Design is therefore a value-added factor and makes a considerable contribution to the increase in corporate value. Design will become the driving value added factor.
Mauer believes that Volkswagen is well positioned for the future. The close cooperation with the designers of individual brands of the Volkswagen Group creates a climate of cooperation and fosters creative challenge. Successful design is a matter of the attitude that the brands and their products present to customers. It therefore becomes an integrating factor for the entire development of new vehicles.
Group design also entails developing a design that authentically visualises the unmistakable identity of the company and the current strengths of the individual brands of the Volkswagen Group.
Michael Mauer: “The designers of the brands have come together in order to extrapolate today’s world in a mindset of togetherness and to experience progress as an open process, develop new visionary ideas and anticipate big changes.”
This is where the big advantages of our multi-brand Group clearly play a role. The Volkswagen Group has unique design competence. The multicultural design teams work in seven different time zones. This means we can draw on and implement ideas, flows and trends on a global scale.