GENEVA -- Murat Günak's influence on Volkswagen's design is evident in the new Passat.
"We have been able to change the face of the car; how it looks at you and stands on its wheels," Günak said during an interview at the Geneva auto show.
The most noticeable change is the Passat's large chrome grille that forms a V shape on the car's front end.
The V shape and deep grille also are seen on the new Polo, which debuts at the Leipzig auto show next month.
Günak is head of VW group design, which includes VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti. He arrived at VW in April 2003, two years after design work started on the Passat.
That challenge didn't stop him from using the Passat to express the VW brand's new design direction.
"We want to develop a model-related image," said Günak, explaining that the Passat "is a cross between dynamic lifestyle and corporate chic."
Günak wants VW to avoid uniformity and emphasize individuality.
"Each model has to express its own segment-related identity, and not so much an overall corporate design," Günak said. "By 2008, we want to have implemented this new strategy on all VW models."
With its bold grille, the VW Passat expresses something the brand wants -- a look that stands out instead of blending in.