In forty years, Mitsubishi had produced around a hundred prototypes when Olivier Boulay took over as its design supremo last year. Since then the pace has even quickened making Mitsubishi one of the most prolific explorers of new design horizons in the business.
As many as four new Mitsubishi concept cars made their debut at last October’s Tokyo Show: the Space Liner, the SUP, the CZ2 and CZ3 Tarmac (see Auto & Design no. 131). This year the SUP Cabriolet was unveiled at the Detroit Show and the Pajero Evolution 2+2 made its debut in Geneva. Boulay’s arrival marks a watershed in Mitsubishi design, though the firm retains its traditional passion for engineering.
Boulay and his team have symbolised this new approach by redesigning the brand’s three-diamond logo. On the new version, the diamonds are silver rather than red. They are also bigger and three-dimensional, protruding above the bodywork that is moulded around them.
The Tokyo Show public reserved a particularly warm welcome for the CZ2 and CZ3 Tarmac concept cars, which have been designed to suit European tastes without severing their links with Japan’s own cultural heritage.
“We examined Japanese industrial production over many years”, explains Boulay. “For us that was vital, because we want to incorporate as much as we possibly can of Japan’s enormously rich cultural heritage, in architecture, graphic design and packaging”. “Our intention”, he continues, “is to give Mitsubishi an increasingly identifiable face”.
So it’s all systems go for the seven style centres that make up Mitsubishi’s worldwide design network: two in Japan and one each in Germany, California, Australia, Brazil and Taiwan. And they’ve only just started.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 134