Leadership in Steel

BMW’s design leader Chris Bangle, as quoted in Automobile:

The responsibility that comes with attempting to look forward is that you also have to research, to bring your research into the world and show people and generate discussion.  That’s something a lot of companies don’t want to do… we have an obligation in the future to provide cars that owners will be proud to retore and proud to bring back, so that at Pebble Beach in fifty years, they’ll be showing a 50-year-old car instead of a 150-year-old car.”

I admire Bangle’s guts and determination to change the face of BMW design. I really want him to succeed.

1 thought on “Leadership in Steel

  1. hi diego.
    just browsing your site for the first time. i like it. i’ ll be back.
    for the moment a short comment on bmw-design. posted it the other day at corante.com.
    and your chris bangle quote here really corresponds.
    here ist comes:
    the funny thing is, how much marketing as a whole still is regarded as something that can be understood through fmcg-practice. too few companies have understood that this is not leading anywhere.
    bmw is one of the few exceptions. they had never left their hard-nosed engineer’s thinking and gut-feeling heritage, kept a clear instinct at a time where daimlerchrysler got lost in economies of scale, and volkswagen in disney-dreams. other than volkswagen (audi is the remarkable exception in their portfolio) bmw also has fully understood the power of design (…amongst other things). whereas volkswagen has a highly diversified portfolio based on super-precise lifestyle segments their consumer and lifestyle strategy has eroded the credibility of almost all of their brands. it drives tears into the eyes of every car aficionado, what they have done to bentley for example. rolls royce (owned and driven by bmw) is a completely different story… mini too. (i wonder if this is due to the fact that bmw is still mainly owned by one tight knit family-clan, probably…)
    like no other company in the market, bmw has understood that selling cars to a highly involved and educated audience does not have to stop at selling them blueprints for their lifestyle dreams. the emotions, a car company with the pedigree of bmw has to capitalize on, do not come from the market – do not come from the consumers – they have to come from the company itself, from the heart of the company, from the roaring, oil stinking and yet responsible and precise engineer’s heart.
    if you look at mercedes, you see the worlds most well known car-brand being nothing but a hollow shell. yes, they may do some decent sponsoring, yes they do enough product placement in rap-videos…. hey, but bmw does their short movies….
    and, let’s speak design now… i know it is a difficult topic, because we are also talking personal taste here… nevertheless: by looking at their global market – especially the us-market – mercedes design has been stuck in some kind of slickness (which some might call elegance… but hey, have a look inside the car… all these soft and pampers-style features… this is grand-uncle joe’s happy afternoon in the urological clinic). staring at market-share has paralyzed a company that by historical reputation should lead the market. … wait for a couple of more years, if they do not change… the verdict is out.
    bmw on the contrary. i am not saying that i like their design language too much, the edges and all these kind of things, but hey, THEY DARE. bmw dares to be different. we are bmw! this is 2005! f*** retro. f*** indecisiveness. we are bmw. we are here today. for you. let’s go.

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