From the engineering and assembly of cars for major marques, to the production of components. To design. The Austrian Magna Steyr has a long and varied history in the automotive industry which began at the dawn of the last century and has evolved over the decades. From big limousines to scooters and the huge 4x4s of the Seventies which made a return in the ‘Nineties and the present, to mass production cars now built for third parties.
Andreas Wolfsgruber, chief designer for Magna Steyr, explains the reasons why, just over a year ago, the company returned to providing independent design services for its clients, marking this comeback with a prototype conceived and built entirely in-house: “The general idea behind the Mila Concept project was, of course, to provide a concrete demonstration to our clients of our engineering capabilities, but also to show them that, should they so require, we are also capable of handling a project from start to finish, including the research stage.”
While totally unrelated to reality and improbable in any future scenario, the Mila is, for Magna Steyr, a receptacle for styling and technological concepts and a homage to the purest essence of the motor car, as Wolfsgruber explains: “The central body and external wheels are evocative of Formula 1 architecture, but also celebrate the very nature of the evolution and history of the car since its beginnings, when the wheels were most in evidence”.
Built as a completely running model, the Mila is the starting point to consolidate the company’s design activities, to which it will be dedicating much more attention in future: “Until recently”, explains Wolsgruber, “many people in the industry were practically unaware of the fact that we had a fully equipped and operative design centre.”
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 160