Female designers and engineers are no longer a rarity in automotive design. And they’re no longer confined to Colour and Trim duties either. Today, women can be asked to design the exteriors and interiors of cars like the Volvo YCC concept. When the project was launched in the Summer of 2002, a leading team of five women managers was formed: under them Anna Rosén was charged with designing the exterior, Cynthia Charwick the interior, while Maria Uggla was made responsible for colours and trim.

Design work began that autumn and lasted about eighteen months. “There were certain areas we particularly wanted to focus on: ergonomics, visibility and the treatment of the interior. First of all we had to make it look attractive, then we wanted it to reveal its true intelligence on closer analysis”, explains Rosén.

Original in shape, the YCC remains very much a Volvo, as epitomised by the radiator grille with the transverse slash through the badge and the broad shoulders that envelop the tail lights. The interior offers as much of interest as the exterior, not least the single gull-winged door”, a feature that always looks good on a showcar, but also serves the practical purpose of pushing the B pillar back for enhanced visibility.

Inside the minimalist, highly Scandinavian interior, the designers have eliminated or concealed anything not strictly essential, including the rev counter and the water temperature gauge that are only called into being when needed. For the moment, the YCC remains a blank research prototype, but many of its ideas could be worked up for application to future Volvo production models. Including its practicality and its very female common sense.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 146

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