Two concepts seemingly at odds with one another, two complex styling manifestos playing through the chords of expression in opposite directions: two cars that, called on to represent the building blocks of brand identity (not for nothing in the company they are called “DNA cars”), seem to offer unexpectedly disparate creative content, as in a family characterised by astonishing genetic variability.
On the one hand, a flowing four door elegantly suspended on the edge between saloon and coupé (the Ji Liu), and on the other, an impetuous sport utility with a ruggedly determined aesthetic (the Yu Yue). Proportions, lines and color&trim could not be more different. Yet two formal approaches so far apart from each other are based on the same design philosophy: inspiration from the power of the elements and natural phenomena, which also represents a vision deeply rooted in the Chinese tradition.
“Nature encompasses origin, growth and renewal at one and the same time, three elements very much in line with the cultural foundations and recent development of our brand”, explains Chen Zheng, Changan’s global design chief. “The Suv, for example, was created by observing the process whereby lava solidifies in contact with sea water, producing a thousand fractures that reflect both the energy of the volcano and the stability of magma that has turned into stone. It contains at once an idea of strength and maturity.
The other proposal instead appeals to the classic oriental taste for soft lines and builds a constant play of shadows and reflections, whose shots of light recall the moment when beauty comes to bloom in springtime”.
Alongside their pure formal power, of course, both concepts reflect specific technical details: “On the Ji Liu the rear window arches in a hollow that might visually suggest the course of a mountain waterfall, but in reality it has a precise functional role, channelling downforce-boosting aerodynamic flows that improve the potential handling of the car at speed”, says the designer again.
“The Yu Yue, on the other hand, has gone for a particularly complex treatment of the profile of the rear windows and C-pillar, which is pierced by air. Well, we are already thinking about how to engineer this solution, perhaps through a simple two-dimensional optical effect”.
Finally, with respect to future production plans, the road seems to have been already marked out. “It is clear that these are two cars designed primarily to give material form to the many facets of our approach to design.
To create an authentic saleable range, however, polarities must be merged to some extent. But already today our prototypes share some fundamental creative ideas, such as having started from the front lines to design clean, coherent volumes and the almost total absence of horizontal lines. This is the true legacy they carry within them: we will start from these criteria to offer lines of Suvs and saloons that fully represent Changan’s brand on international markets”, concludes Chen Zheng.
More contents in the Changan Supplement to Auto&Design no. 229