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Back to basics for VW, says Walter de Silva

Wed, 25 Jun 2008

By Adam Towler

Motor Industry

25 June 2008 13:01

It was an odd place for an inside line into what future Volkswagens will look like, but when head of VW Group design Walter de Silva invited CAR to the old Fiat Lingotto factory in Turin - now a conference and shopping centre – we could hardly say no.

De Silva described VW as being immersed in a 'process of defining their design language' which could be read as ‘we’re still sucking our designer thumbs to see what happens’. Audi, De Silva said, had already been through that process and its design DNA was ‘understood by everyone in the company, right down to the smallest details'. Although when you’re struggling to tell the difference between a new A4 and an A6, perhaps that defining has been refined a little too far…

Hold on – there’s interesting stuff coming. According to De Silva, VW’s styling will 'return to simple design language that’s easy to understand - a clear hierarchy of grilles and rear-end treatments', perhaps taking a swipe at some of the more recent and less successful efforts from Wolfsburg.

Key words and phrases had been coined during the process, he said, such as ‘timeless, consistent, unique, responsible, history, quality, solidity, simplicity and coherent design transmitting responsibility’ which sounds like a pure design bunk. There was talk of VW design reflecting social evolution, although De Silva frustratingly didn't expand further on this.

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By Adam Towler