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LRM on Automotive Design Language September 3, 2008

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Rants, Thoughts and Opinion.


Design Languages these days

Design Languages these days

Most of the time our car fetish is driven by the way a certain car looks. It is different for most individuals with some having a thing from supercars to trucks to wagons and compacts. In Malaysia we have a long list of K-car lovers ( Kei car/ultra compact ) and Japanese Import supporters. We also have on the other end of the spectrum – people who loves European cars and American cars. Sadly because of high import duty tax and road tax prices we have not been able to see a lot of American cars on the road. From the bold design of the Americans to the multiple personality of Japanese design.

Although now a lot of big car companies are putting a lot of their profits into research on designs and this shows in the Concept Cars that is being shown at car shows around the world. One of the car brands that is seriously researches on design concepts is Mazda. Most of us knows what I’m talking about – The Nagare, Ryuga and The Hakaze which was followed later by the Taiki and the Furai. I’m sure everyone will agree that the Furai is just jaw-dropping.

You see, Mazda recognized that their car design was in need of a revamp although we have seen some of their best work, which for me included the Rx7 line up of the family. It started from the first generation ( SA/FB ) then it went on to the second generation ( FC ) and later on followed thru to the third generation ( FD ).  If you were to take notice, there was a good transition from one generation to the other. After the FD, the Rx8 was naturally the successor to the Rx7 but the design transition was just too drastic. Then again maybe that is why it is called the Rx8 instead of Rx7.

But this is where I have a problem with our current automotive design, where is the transition between the older models and the current ones? it is not only the Japanese even Britain’s Land Rover has totally revamped the Discovery now known as the LR3. Although to be fair the LR3 has retained a lot of it’s older brother’s design signatures and al that as far as Land Rover is concerned, the Range Rover has actually shown it’s transition from one generation to the other.

The design that the car carries is an interpretation of a car company’s image and a message they are trying to convey onto their owners. Companies like Mercedes-Benz and BMW knows this and has been very careful about bringing change across all their models.


The New Proton Saga

The New Proton Saga



On the other side of the whole picture we have car companies like Proton that designs according to the current market demands and trends. The Saga BLM is a good example. If it is anything like it’s older brother then something tells me the Saga BLM must be from the second marriage. It’s just that much different from the older one. I understand that we have to get with the times and the change was needed but can’t we keep the original identity of the Saga somehow? honestly it looks just like another Vios or City but thank god that Proton managed to pull it of right. And this is not me kissing up to our local car manufacturers. I actually agree that it looks great and from what I can gather, so does everyone else. But where is the essence of the original?


The old Proton Saga

The old Proton Saga



I leave you with something to ponder here. Maybe this is the point where the design language is going thru a heavy overhaul. If so, what is the car that you want to see going through this overhaul and what is your favourite design?



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