The design of future Volkswagens will be simple yet iconic, expressing images of functional, robust and universal products. Witness to this is a trio of small concept cars, which stood apart from the crowd at recent motor shows for their fresh formal approach.
The Up! – with an explanation mark emphasising its positive character – which debuted at Frankfurt, introduced a new rear-engined architecture that is highly effective in keeping down external dimensions while optimising internal space in this three-door, four-seater.
In October at Tokyo it was the turn of the two-box five-door Space Up!, followed a month later by the electrically powered Space Up! Blue version, unveiled at Los Angeles.
In all three cars, the message is clear: this is a turning point, in which Volkswagen is looking towards industrial product design rather than automotive clichés for inspiration without, however, forgetting the aesthetic roots of the brand.
This new direction has been ushered in by the new top brass in the brand’s design, with Walter de’ Silva head of style for the group and, since January 2007, Flavio Manzoni as director of creative design. “What is new today can be defined as a return to simplicity, legible forms and an honest product. Something that people understand at first glance and which sticks in your memory, and makes you smile.” This is De’ Silva’s explanation of the minimalist yet highly evocative and contemporary style that Flavio Manzoni calls
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 168