Three leaders of the US automotive industry interviewed by Auto & Design at the Detroit Show express their opinion of their own firms’ products and the market situation following September 11. The men in question are J. Mays, design vice president at Ford, Wayne Cherry, design vice president, General Motors and Trevor Creed, design vice president for DaimlerChrysler’s American Brands.

J. Mays: “September 11 changed our culture, the way people feel. We are all less cynical and our love for life’s essential pleasures has revived. That’s the only good thing about that horrendous tragedy. This new sensibility is going to influence the way we design. It’s hard to put car design on the same footing as what happened, but, clearly, in times like this people need heroes. And our automotive heroes are cars that cheer us up, the GT40 is one example”.

Wayne Cherry: “The purpose of design is the creation of attractive products, even after a tragedy, even in hard times. Motor vehicles are crucial to the world economy and my view is that design is bound to become an ever more exciting challenge. We intend to go on offering a wide variety of attractive new products. That’s the reasoning behind our introduction of a “pure” concept, like the Pontiac Solstice”.

Trevor Creed: “I doubt whether there’ll be any obvious impact on car design. We’re in a long-term business, the cars we design today may not come out for another three years. So we work with one eye on the future and focus on the possible segment busters of that future. The Pacifica on our stand here is the outcome of an analysis we conducted into the possibility of combining the most advantageous aspects of the minivan, the SUV and the station wagon”.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 132

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