Former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle has strong feelings about the future of car design. He believes companies should be doing more to stand out from their rivals. This includes doing away with something he was once in charge of at his former employer: establishing a common design language for the entire brand.
"I would say that was my main job, to maintain that phenomenon for my years at BMW. We did our job as best we could. I believe that now it is time to move on," he told me at the Geneva auto show in March. "The reason for that is, it's too much of a spiral into banality. People use words like 'DNA,' and they don't really understand what they are talking about."
'Give me excitement'
Since departing BMW in 2009 after more than 16 years with the automaker, he has founded Chris Bangle Associates. In his new role, the 61-year-old American posed a tough question to a client who told him his goal was to define the brand's DNA: "Can you even tell me what that small percentage is that makes your brand different from somebody else's when you are manufacturing the same way and the suppliers are all the same guys?"