There’s something truly portentous about China’s expansion in the automotive sector; something amazing about the pace they are moving at and their commitment to making China a major world player.
That thought launches Fabio Galvano on his investigation of the close relationship that exists between China’s automotive industry and the leading Italian designers he questions on the situation today. Italdesign’s Giorgetto Giguiaro reminds us that while it took Japan 40 years and Korea 20 to establish a position in the world market, China is aiming to do the same, in no more than a decade. Italdesign’s Managing Director Dario Trucco points out how rapidly the Beijing Motor Show has grown: little more than a small-town fair four years ago, it was pretty much up to Geneva standard this year.
Nevio Di Giusto, Fiat-Lancia Production Manager describes the phenomenon as “an explosive mix of demand, speed and population”. According to Roberto Piatti, Stile Bertone’s Managing Director, the Chinese auto market is on a far faster learning curve than anything we have seen before in other countries. For his part, Paolo Caccamo, Managing Director of Idea Institute believes that “No design culture exists as yet in China, but there are many young designers who are learning fast”.
Andrea Pininfarina, Managing Director of his family’s firm finds much to admire. “Working with Chinese manufacturers, who are open-minded, is very different from working with a European client burdened with the weight of history, tradition and image”.
Two years ahead of C and E Class production in China, Harold Lesschke, Director of Mercedes Advanced Design, emphasises China’s potential: “For the moment the country lacks the know-how, but it will have all that in five years’ time. The Chinese are desperate to learn”.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 148