Small cars getting bolder – automobile design 2008 trend report

The 78th International Motor Show took place from 6 to 16 March, 2008 in Geneva, where 260 exhibitors from 30 countries presented their ideas for the automobile future.

Of particular note is the increasing importance of the compact class. Among the innovations to be found in the mass-market sector, most were in this class. In design terms too they are growing up: cute, childlike looks – googly ‘eyes’ and friendly ‘faces’ – have given way to overt aggression. Indeed, the trend towards aggressive design is apparent in all classes. Yet it is accompanied by a certain arbitrariness too. Overall, there is a lack of distinctive personality.

The automobile industry now faces significant environmental challenges, leading to many technical innovations. But these have seemingly been at the expense of design innovation, which appears to have fallen by the wayside. Many manufacturers still try to find new niche markets for which to develop new types of vehicles. However, for now – out of a certain sense of desperation – SUV-coupe hybrid forms are being created, designs marked by sturdy fronts and coupe-like sloping roof lines.

Meanwhile, in the area of new personal transport concepts, exciting approaches are evident: three-wheeled vehicles, concepts that integrate electric scooters, and highly affordable models that aim to bring motorised transport to the masses.

How are manufacturers dealing with the challenges of environmental and climate protection? Interesting concept studies were presented in Geneva showing that environmentally sound cars need not abstain from dynamic, sporting design.

This red dot trend report presents the most exciting innovations and future vision in automobile design.
>> Automobile design 2008 trend report