BRUSSELS -- Europe's increasingly stringent emissions standards are putting more pressure on vehicle designers.
"In the last five to 10 years designing cars has gotten a hell of a lot tougher," Opel/Vauxhall design chief Mark Adams said at the Automotive News Europe Congress here.
Adams said the demands include improving aerodynamics and reducing weight to help the General Motors unit meet the European Union's tougher carbon dioxide rules. He also cited the challenge of meeting Europe's more stringent pedestrian protection rules.
Adams said he tells his team to look at Formula One racing, where rules are continually changed to reduce the speed of the cars. He said the teams' engineers always find ways to adjust the cars to regain the lost speed, often making the vehicles even faster than before.
He wants his team to have the same can-do attitude when faced with the difficult regulatory challenges.
He pointed to the sleek and dramatic Monza concept as an example of how Opel/Vauxhall hopes to use creative ideas to meet the tougher rules without sacrificing the beauty of the design.
"The Monza is the vision for five, six, seven years ahead," Adams said. The first models to be directly influenced by the Monza will arrive within the next couple of years, he told the Congress.
"I like the challenge of bringing as much of the Monza into production as I can," Adams said.
He said that Opel design is influencing other GM brands, specifically Buick. Many Buick and Opel models are closely related mechanically.
Adams said: "We have integrated sportiness into Buick, and they're doing very well for the brand."