When Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan at the end of July 2014 that women’s increasing influence on the automotive industry was one of the four major trends shaping the global car business, the other auto makers probably felt he had revealed their secret, as the whole industry is pointing to women.
My May blog – “Women in Cars: Overtaking Men on the Fast Lane” – highlighted the fact that there are more women with driving licences in the U.S. today than men, across all age groups, and in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom. The parity is expected to happen within the next two to four years steering car companies to focus on women as a prime customer. Interestingly, over the last few months, strong evidence has emerged that car companies are now incorporating this trend to develop new vehicles, customized vehicle technologies, and sales solutions just for women.
So it seems the battle ground has been drawn, and as auto makers are not ones to miss a bloodthirsty fight over a consumer segment, they have started revving their engines. The war over women has been raging for some time within the categories women have a significant presence – city cars and cross-over SUVs. However, “women” is not one consumer group that can be gratified with an SUV. Women are as diverse and complex as the male side of the auto buying market, and the female consumer of the future will dominate across all segments.
There are rumours in the industry that following on Porsche Porsche’s footsteps, another German vehicle manufacturer (OEM) is going as far as launching a vehicle designed for women. Porsche took a bold step by positioning its Porsche Macan, the smaller twin brother (or sister perhaps) of the Cayenne, towards women. This of course was in response to the Land Rover Evoque, which, somewhat thanks to Victoria Beckham’s design and endorsement, is driven more by women than men.
In the past, the “cars for women” concept has been unsuccessful as they have simply been pink – think Mary Kay Mary Kay car pink. But, the reality is, by optimizing key vehicle model designs for women, the OEMs win both genders. FIAT say their 500 is designed to “move the emotional soul” inside a customer. One might assume this is aimed toward and designed for women as women have a tendency to purchase on more of an emotional level. However, FIAT has retained both genders through customization. Starting from the two basic unisex 500 models (Pop and Pop Star), they then brought in Lounge and Cult (primarliy for women), and Sport and GQ (primarily for men). Other popular models with both genders like the BMW MINI, Renault Renault Twingo and Citroen C1 have integrated features such as increased wheel base, shortened overhangs, touchscreens, and leather and woven materials in their 2014 models. Men certainly aren’t complaining, and women are buying more of them.
So what do women really want from their cars? Frost Sullivan research shows that women demand intuitive vehicle controls, automatic assist features, integrated technology and a quiet, comfortable and plush cabin. It could be that the devastating realization we’ve all had that nice trim and comfort costs you a pretty penny in extras may push dealers to make these features standard, in order to win the female customer. The innovation in design for women will broaden the concept of personalization in the future.
The 2014 Mercedes S Class developers say they have designed their cabin around the concept of “energizing fitness” and feature a host of options including a perfume atomizer, ionising air system and strictly no plastic. The new Porsche Macan – aimed at women – has almost endless customization options. No wonder Ford’s automatic boot opener ad portraying a woman dangling her stilettos was such a success – it even translated into high sales of the Ford Kuga (and BMW copying the feature and ad).
It is not just the cars and the features that are now the source of car companies’ attention. The battleground is shifting to car dealerships. Nissan has come out as the first car company that plans to revamp 300 of their dealerships in Japan tailoring to women. Called the “Ladies First” project, Nissan has opened a pilot dealership in the Tokyo suburb of Fuchu. This dealership is managed by women, manned by women, and aims to make the shopping experience more welcoming and seamless. The intent is to appeal to and win over females using other car brands and to those new to the car buying process.
The dealerships are modern with a serene atmosphere and are equipped with a team of female concierges providing child care during appointments and female mechanics who avoid the use of unnecessary auto jargon to explain the value-add of a vehicle in plain English (Japanese). Ghosn wants a minimum of 50 percent of sales and retail teams globally to be women. He says 80 percent of women going to a car dealer want to have a woman sales person, whilst men are 50/50. So – aspire to do what females want (and win the men too). As the saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.” I think Nissan is on to something here.
Whereas efforts towards workforce diversity will take some years to come to fruition, in the meantime, Ghosn has established a system called “fJury” (female jury), where a panel of women provide feedback and approve every stage of any vehicle design process.
BMW has been forced to look at their long and largely successful “ultimate driving machine” marketing slogan. They realized it worked with piston heads, but something far more sophisticated was needed to capture a new female consumer. Thus, the “Joy” campaign was born. Going from taglines such as “Fasterpiece” to “Joy is Maternal” consequently brings a different feel to the brand.
Diversity is a global goal, but the auto industry is seeking to win female talent at all levels as a key factor to success. Ghosn and the Nissan Renault Alliance have been quietly building the most diverse regional business unit of any automaker globally in Brazil. This is not just because it’s the right thing to do but because they clearly believe they can win a whole emerging market this way and intend to do the same in Russia and China.
In China, over 50 percent of cars purchased in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities are women; a lot of them are first time buyers with new earning power and are securing their independence via buying a vehicle. Major auto makers are putting women at the head of vehicle design and roll out in these key future markets. Lamborghini’s trim and colour assembly team is 75 percent female, and BMW has an all-female team of engineers working on product development for the BMWi user interface.
For the auto industry the discerning, often brand agnostic, female consumer has thrown the innovation arms race wide open. The question now is will they develop and launch only vehicles designed for women, or will they customize cars for both sexes. I trust the former.
This article was written with contribution from Olivia Price Walker, Senior Consultant and author of Frost Sullivan’s “Women in Cars; Changing Auto Industry Dynamics,” to be published October 2014.
Volvo have always been good at safety. They were first to introduce the three-point seatbelt as standard equipment over 50 years ago. Now, this car, with its Driver Support Pack, does a lot more than tether you to your seat in three places. It will stay the right distance from the car in front, and stop you from drifting into the wrong lane. It will warn you of an impending collision, and brake for you if you fail to. It can recognise pedestrians and cyclists, see in your blind spots and read road signs.
It can even read your mind and will tell you off, in Swedish (you can choose the gender of your rebuker), if you sit in the driver’s seat with the wrong attitude.
All of which, bar one (I won’t say which), are true. The Driving Support Pack costs an extra £1,900, but if it saves your arse, or the arse of a pedestrian or the Lycra-covered arse of a cyclist, then that’s £1,900 well spent. It’s still possible to crash, but it makes it as hard as possible. A lot of other manufacturers now do some, or all, of the above, but I’ve found Volvo do it best.
Safety aside, there is a lot else that impresses about the XC60. This 181hp diesel engine is plenty powerful, but it is also quiet and smooth, as well as surprisingly economical and unpolluting for a car of this size. On the outside, it is not unhandsome. Inside, it is a pleasant place to be, comfortable and tasteful, plus there’s loads of room, for offspring and stuff.
I don’t like it, though. Basically because I don’t like any SUVs. Maybe you cannot call this one a gas-guzzler, but it does guzzle space – in the supermarket car park, on the school run, on city streets that weren’t built for cars of this size. Not like its monstrous and loathsome big brother the XC90, maybe (plus all the other big ones: Range Rovers, the Discovery, X5s and Q7s), but still an unnecessary amount.
How can I call myself a proper motoring journalist, you say, when I worry about gas-guzzling and don’t like big cars? Well, to be really honest, I don’t (call myself a proper motoring journalist, about which more next week). But I do actually enjoy driving, on the rare times circumstances allow. And I’m not enjoying driving the XC60. I’ve got the power, and the poise; I’m comfy and a bit smug. But I don’t really feel any connection to the road; it’s an oddly disengaged experience.
I would get the equivalent estate, the V60, instead. It’s nicer to drive, as well as cheaper, has nearly as much space inside, for offspring and stuff, and is available with all that arse-saving equipment. Plus, it has the advantage that I won’t disapprove of yours. Your arse, that is.
Volvo XC60 D4 Automatic R-Design
Price from: £32,480. Top speed: 130mph. Acceleration: 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. Combined fuel consumption: 60mpg. CO2 emissions: 124 g/km. Eco rating: 7/10. Cool rating: 6/10.
FREMONT, Neb. (AP) — The Fremont Police Department’s new blue-on-black cruiser design is getting attention.
The design, which first hit the streets a year ago when the department rolled out two new Ford Taurus cruisers, was adapted to a new Ford Explorer six months ago, the Fremont Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1ztkkc6 ).
The current issue of Law and Order magazine awarded the Explorer first place in the Municipal 10-to-50 officers West Division cruiser design contest.
Judging was based on overall appearance, safety and the ability to identify it as a law enforcement vehicle.
Judges’ comments were that the blue-on-black design “really stands out and catches your eye. The seal and badge on the front are just the right size.”
Police Chief Jeff Elliott said officers told him shortly after he took over the office in the fall of 2012 that they wanted to change the cruiser design.
“We had the same design on the cruiser for nearly 20 years at that point,” he said.
“One of the things the officers wanted was a black and white car,” Elliott said. “When we looked at the black and white cars, the cost was anywhere from $900 to $1,200 more per car. We didn’t have that in our budget, so we started looking at black.
“I talked to the chief in Bellevue, and he said he ordered white cars and accidentally got a black one. He kept one of the black ones and it looked really nice, so I thought let’s go with black,” Elliott said.
Lt. Glen Still took over the design process with input from other officers.
“He was working with a company to make the design,” Elliott said. “They made a design for us, but initially (the decals were) red. I didn’t like the way the red looked because it made it kind of look like a fire marshal’s car. So Glen got ahold of them and asked them to change it to blue. … It looked better than we anticipated.
“I’m proud of the work that Lieutenant Still did on this and the input from the other officers, because several of the officers helped guide us in getting this to design,” he added.
A feature of the design is more reflective striping and lettering, helping to make the car more visible at night.
“With our old design,” Elliott said, “the striping is reflective, but there wasn’t a lot of it there. With this new design, during the day this is very visible, the black really stands out. And then during the night, with the new decals, it stands out much greater, especially against the black background.
“One of the things that I think made it stand out was we had our patch put on the front of the car, I think that’s what makes the whole thing stand out,” he said. “Additionally, one thing that we added was our motto at the bottom, which is ‘Committed to Excellence, Proud to Protect,’ and we never had that on the cars before.”
The magazine article mentioned that a trend in law enforcement vehicles is incorporating symbols, mission statements and mottos in their design.
“We really liked the design, and everyone we showed it to thought it was really neat, so we thought, let’s enter this in a contest. Lieutenant Still took it upon himself to get photographs of it and get the entry form filled out, and he got it entered in the contest,” Elliott said.
Five cars — roughly half of Fremont’s fleet — have the new black design now. As older white cruisers are rotated out of service, their replacement vehicles will include the new design.
The department currently has two sport utility vehicles, but only the Explorer has the new design. An older Ford Expedition has the white paint scheme.
“The reason we need an SUV is because we need a vehicle that can get around reliably in the snow,” Elliot said. “The current SUV has 140,000 miles on it, and its years of service are passing quickly, so we wanted a new SUV.
“It’s actually a supervisor’s car,” he said.
Aside from navigating snowy roads, the SUVs also offer more interior roominess.
“Our larger officers have problems getting in and out of the Taurus,” Elliott said, pointing out that officers wear bulky gear, and cruiser counsels are packed with electronics equipment ranging from siren and light switch boxes to scanners, radars and video cameras.
“It gets hard to maneuver in those Tauruses, and these SUVs give a little more room to some of those big guys,” he said.
“Another thing is the back allows for more room to carry additional equipment when it comes to rifles, shields, accident investigation equipment, AEDs and all that kind of stuff. It’s easier to put that in the back and get at it than it is the trunk of a cruiser,” he said.
“Eventually,” Elliott said, “we’d like to move toward more SUVs. … I know that some of the guys driving Tauruses would love to have SUVs, but we just don’t have enough of those right now and don’t have the money to buy them.”
Georgian military engineers are designing a special armored vehicle for Saudi Arabia. An armored vehicle is designed for the evacuation of wounded servicemen from the battle area, head of the foreign trade department of the Georgian Military Scientific and Technical Center “Delta” Otar Chiteishvili told Kommersant radio Aug. 28.
Georgia participates in the tender announced by Saudi Arabia for this armored car design. Its sketches with technical characteristics were sent to the tender commission Aug. 26.
In case of winning the tender, the Georgian side will provide Saudi Arabia with 600 armored vehicles during the first year, but a few thousand vehicles within the contractual 10-year period.
The minimum cost of an armored vehicle is $240,000-$250,000.
How would your boss react if he had to sign off for an expensive stuffed fish you’d bought on a whim on your holiday? Most of us would probably answer “not very thrilled”. But Frank Stephenson’s boss is not your average boss; his workplace is not your average workplace; and the fish? Well, that’s not your normal fish either.
Stephenson is design director of McLaren Automotive, the carmakers behind a range of highly prized, high-priced cars. While on holiday in the Caribbean, he noticed a sailfish on a wall in the resort where he was staying. A man working there told Stephenson that he was proud to have caught the fish because it was so fast. Stephenson was intrigued – he began doing some research on the species to find out why it was so quick.
On the way back to London, Stephenson stopped off in Miami and went down to a local fishing village, where, in a stroke of luck, a local fisherman had just caught a sailfish. He bought it, sent it downtown to get it stuffed and eventually got it delivered to the scanning department of the McLaren Automotive aerodynamics laboratory in Surrey – where the carmakers set to work trying to learn the secrets of the super-speed fish’s abilities. It’s just one of a number of recent initiatives by automotive companies to try and learn from techniques that have been used in nature.
The sailfish is a kind of turbo swordfish; one that has been clocked swimming 100m in around half the time it takes Usain Bolt to run it. They are capable of these bursts of breath-taking speed in order to chase down the small, fast-swimming fish they eat. The analysis revealed that the scales on the sailfish’s skin generate little vortices that result in the fish being enveloped in a bubble of air instead of denser water. This reduced drag allows the fish to move even faster.
McLaren’s designers applied the same texture as the scales of the sailfish to the inside of the ducts that lead into the engine of their P1 hypercar. This increased the volume of air going into the engine by 17%, improving the car’s efficiency: the P1 has hybrid engines creating 903 horsepower and thus needs large amounts of air pumped into the engine to help combustion and engine cooling.
The P1 also borrowed from the sailfish little ‘diplets’ on the torso of the fin where it meets the tail fin that the fish uses to straighten out the flow of pockets of air and water that move past it. This, Stephenson says, made the car more aerodynamic.
Nature has had millions of years to evolve its designs, says Stephenson, which is why he is trying to incorporate those tricks into his projects. “It just simply makes sense,” he says. “How can a lizard go upside down and stick to the surface for example? Well, if you can find out why, you can just apply that technology to the tyres of the car such that when the surfaces are wet, there’s no way that the car can slide.”
Hydrodynamic principles have often been refined by nature long before humans discovered them. For example, engineers from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have recently developed an air lubrication system that separates water from the surface of ships to reduce drag up to 80%; gas is not as dense as water, so the ships has less friction and glides more easily. This is a similar technique to that used by the sailfish. And it turns out it’s just as useful on land as it is in the water.
The McLaren design studio is a mix of science lab, art workshop and music rehearsal space. Its aim is to help designers gain a cutting edge, by taking them out of their comfort zone. “Everyday I’m doing research in my office, it looks like I’m studying biology in my office rather than car design,” says Stephenson.
McLaren have some company in this biomimicry department. Mercedes Benz’s bionic car was inspired by a boxfish with hexagonal plates on its outer skin which is like a “suit of armour”, giving the fish rigidity, protection and manoeuvrability. The cube-shaped structure doesn’t create drag; by mimicking this boxy shape, engineers were able to achieve a record-breaking drag coefficient – a value used to quantify the amount of resistance an object faces whilst trying to move through air or water. The Mercedes Benz engineers also managed to lower fuel consumption by 20%, and lessen nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%.
Japanese carmaker Nissan, on their quest to create the ultimate collision-free vehicles, have created small “cute” robots called Eporo, which also feature tricks learned from creatures living beneath the waves. “We needed to look no further than Mother Nature to find the ultimate form of collision-avoidance systems in action, in particular, the behavioural patterns of fish,” says Toru Futami, the engineering director of advanced technology and research. The movement of fish, which move in schools and avoid obstacles en masse, is the elementary principle of the algorithm that the locomotion of the robots is built on. “This algorithm is very simple,” adds Susumu Fujita, the co-creator of Eporo.
“Fish follow these three rules: Don’t go too far, don’t get too close and don’t hit each other” explains Futami. The robots have already inspired features in Nissan cars including Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). These are the bases that the new autonomous cars could be built on, eliminating the need for lanes, traffic lights and even indicators. Even some car parts could become obsolete. “We have systems that are going to eliminate the need for windscreen wipers – you don’t see animals with windscreen wipers on their eyes,” asserts Stephenson.
Of course, not all inspiration comes from underwater. The Eporo, for example, contain Laser Range Finder (LRF) technology that was developed in a previous project from Nissan. It is inspired by the way a bumblebee can detect objects across a wide range, and can sense obstacles up to two metres away in a 180-degree radius. If one is detected, the robot is able to turn its wheels at right angles or greater to avoid collision.
Biomimicry has become a watchword for many car companies, but nature’s secrets are also having an effect off the road. Recently, Nasa also asked members of the public to select a spacesuit for the future, one of which was inspired by “the scaly skin of fish and reptiles”.
Increasingly, designers are finding that nature’s tricks can surpass their own ideas. And so it makes sense to seek that inspiration from anywhere – even a stuffed sailfish on the wall of a resort in the Caribbean.
Video produced by Dalmeet Singh Chawla, recording by Van Le. Music by Mehmet Ece.
Video images: Science Photo Library/ National History Museum, Tring/Shannon, Flickr/McLaren Automotive
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MONTEREY, Calif. — In the auto design world, there are the suave, black-turtleneck types and there are guys like Dave Marek, a chatty hot-rodder who’d rather skip a fancy dinner than get dressed up for it.
The 57-year-old global creative director of Acura is one of the key decision-makers in the new Acura Business Planning Office, a task force charged with reinvigorating Honda’s luxury brand and cementing its identity. If Marek gets his way, that identity will be defined not by floaty sedans, but rather by performance models such as the coming NSX supercar.
“The brand started that way, and needs to retain its roots in a performance-based image,” said Marek, whose tenure at American Honda began in 1986, around the time Acura was born.
In addition to Acura’s production vehicles, Marek oversees designs for Acura’s motorsports program, such as vehicle graphics and paint schemes and styling of prototype vehicles.
During afternoon competition at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca near here, he spoke with News Editor Krishnan Anantharaman, though his eyes tended to wander toward the zoom of the cars on the track.
Q: What kinds of cars get your attention?
A: Non-ours, you mean? Any Porsche race car I’m just fanatical about. Road cars — it’s gonna be what everybody likes. Exotic cars always get everybody, I think.
I have a lot of friends in the design business because of my longevity, and I teach at Art Center, so I know every student that has come through. So whenever I see a car they did I have some pride in that, that I knew that I helped teach them.
I’ve always been a 911 guy. The progression of that car from inception — you know, I had a ’67, so I had the first year — and then you see what they’ve become. I’ve always admired that.
I like the Tesla. I like the feel of it. It feels modern but normal enough to get people to buy it.
That’s a great hat. What do you look for in a hat?
I am a hat guy. The New Jersey hat is always good. Honest to God, It’s like a car. I literally will buy hats and I wear them backwards because of the rake. I can’t have them be the wrong attitude on your head. So I’ll turn them around.
How many watches? How many pairs of glasses?
I have a Swatch collection. I probably have 300 Swatches and other watches. A hundred pairs of glasses. And I go through them. Glasses, more than anything, are like cars, because other than Ray-Bans or something classic, I’ll pick them up and go, “Dude, those look old now.” I’ll just eliminate those, and they just kind of sit there because I can’t bear to part with them. But then I started giving them to Out of the Closet or Goodwill because people need glasses. Why am I hoarding these?
I’ve painted some. I’ve taken them apart and painted them and put them back together. It’s more for the individuality, something unique about them. No one else has these. “Where’d you get those? I painted them.”
You’ve had some interesting celebrity encounters. Which ones stand out?
I was standing with Brad Pitt. He goes to this restaurant in Hollywood called Mexico City. And there’s a big line for the bathroom. I think it was Cinco de Mayo. He’s standing there, right behind me. And I can feel him being edgy, like he really had to go, and he’s kind of bumping a little. I turn around and I go, “Just ’cause you’re famous, you ain’t cutting in front of me.” He started laughing and said, “That’s OK.” But then we kind of had a conversation.
It’s fun to just encounter them because you never know what their personality is going to be — or mine. I’m not very vocal about what my profession is. And most of them, when they get down into it … they’re like, “Wow, that’s so cool!” Because, you know, rock stars want to own cars, and car guys want to be rock stars. Through cars, I’ve met everybody.
What’s your office like?
When you walk in, there’s a full-size model, a full-size model, a full-size model and they’re all lined up, and you can view them all [in a row] … which is perfect for me because I want to see what the hierarchy is and what’s happening at the time.
And everybody seems to work around the models. We all have desks, but everybody is on the floor, and they all work down by the car. We’re Friday-casual all the time. We’re actually Saturday-casual all the time.
What’s in your garage?
Uh, a bunch of old refrigerators? No. I don’t own a car right now. It’s amazing. You get to a point where you’re like, it’s going to be that or that. I’m gonna get maybe an old [Porsche] 550 or I’m going to get a ’55 Chevy or a ’32 Ford. Daily it changes with my mood.
The car I want is unattainable: a [Porsche] 917/30. That’s the car I just go ape over.
• Title: Global creative director, Acura
• Age: 57
• Born: Sacramento, Calif.
• Attended: Art Center Academy, Pasadena, Calif.
• Hired: 1986
• Interests: Auto racing, hot-rodding, collecting watches and eyeglasses
• Drives: Acura MDX
You can reach Krishnan M. Anantharaman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Campus Police car’s winning design was praised by Law and Order magazine, a nationwide law enforcement publication, for being clearly marked and easily recognizable.
Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014 12:04 am
Updated: 12:08 am, Mon Aug 25, 2014.
NCSU police car wins award in Law and Order magazine
Jess Thomas, Staff Writer
The NC State Police Department recently won a grand prize for the design of one of its police vehicles in the law enforcement magazine Law and Order, and a photo of the car’s design was featured on the front cover for the nationwide publication.
The magazine cited choosing the NC State police car as the winner because of its clean and striking graphic design.
Campus Police Chief Jack Moorman said the decision was based on several criteria including visibility and safety of the car.
“Some of the things that they were looking for were that they wanted to make sure the vehicle was clearly marked and easily recognizable,” Moorman said. “For our design, we have the block S logo incorporated into the design as well as the NC State logo.”
Moorman said winning the contest also won some publicity for the police department.
“A number of people have come up and have taken a look at it, and being on the cover of the magazine has resulted in some good exposure about our police department, and I’m very glad that we were able to win,” Moorman said.
Campus Police has been accredited by both the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Moorman said.
“We have a very good reputation among university police departments and law enforcement agencies in general,” Moorman said. “We are still the only police department to my knowledge in the state of North Carolina to be credited by CALEA and IACLEA.”
Moorman said having both accreditations has hugely enhanced the reputation of the NC State police department.
“If both the organizations accredit you, it ensures that you’re doing above and beyond what is required, and we received accreditation with excellence when we were evaluated,” Moorman said.
Shahzeb Khan, a senior in biochemistry, said he had never paid attention to the design of the police car until recently, but thought it was an interesting design.
“I never actually noticed the police cars until I was driving next to one, and then I saw that it was a pretty cool car and had a good color scheme,” Khan said.
Khan said he was surprised the Police Department was awarded for the design in a nationwide publication, but thought it deserved the recognition.
Brian Iezzi, a junior in material sciences, said the NC State police cars are well-designed because they were easily distinguishable.
“It’s actually a good design when you think about it, so it’s no surprise that they won because you can see the car from down the road, and it’s pretty well-designed as well because the NC State color scheme is on the car as well,” Iezzi said.
DEARBORN, MI — (WWJ) Ford thinks Mustang is ready for its place in the fashion world, with a collection of t-shirts, designed by some of the hottest names in fashion.
“Mustang is really the soul of the Ford brand,” said Kim Cape, Ford group marketing manager. “We know that Mustang reaches many of its fan base, including many enthusiasts. But we also have an opportunity with Mustang, given the self expressive, the authenticity, to reach a broader base.”
These are not the type of Mustang t-shirts you would expect to see somebody wearing to a NASCAR race. They are aimed more at somebody looking for a trendy, casual night on the town. Cape says Ford teamed with five different designers, and had each one do three shirts.
“We have a total of fifteen t-shirts, very authentic and expressive of the Mustang design, influenced by Mustang and all the design cues.”
A press release from Ford described each of the designers:
• Anna Sui: Detroit native Sui and Mustang have quite a bit in common. Sui’s designs illustrate a rock ’n’ roll fantasy – reflecting the freedom, authenticity and inspiration embodied in Mustang
• Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay-Hahn of Rogan:With a respect for soulful minimalism and traditional quality, Rogan’s designs were inspired by the raw American heritage expressed in the modern, high-tech Mustang. The designer incorporated this into the graphics of the shirt, using the simplicity of natural, hand-drawn lines
• Paula Cademartori:Cademartori’s passion for femininity and fine details are distinct in her designs and collection of bags. For her, “unleashed” represents power, freedom and creating new experiences. Cademartori’s Mustang-inspired designs highlight geometric shapes, the fantasy of color and glamour
• Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari of CO|TE: With a philosophy of freely interpreting established design themes from a contemporary point of view, CO|TE – like Mustang – moves forward and pushes boundaries. The inspiration comes from thinking without preconceptions, while paying attention to quality and tradition. CO|TE designs showcase Mustang’s attention to detail and geometric elements
• Pamela Love:Love, with a passion for unique jewelry pieces, and Mustang come together as artifacts of a narrative. The inspiration comes from Mustang’s enduring role in American pop culture, and the idea of moving forward while leaving the past behind. Love’s designs highlight the horse as a symbol of power, strength and freedom
“Having grown up in Detroit,” said Sui, “I wanted to incorporate my memories of Mustang and celebrate the spirit of pop culture and Americana in my designs. As a designer, I am constantly inspired by everything around me and often include a nod to my roots – referring to nostalgic, romantic and rock influences – just like Ford Mustang.”
Michelle Silvestri, who took the lead on the project for Ford ad agency “Team Detroit” says they wanted a diverse collection of products.
“Each of these designers are so different in their aesthetic, yet each one celebrates very similar notions.”
The shirts, Ford says, will be made of “100 percent organic” cotton by manufacturer Loomstate. They will cost $39 each, and be sold online through Gilt, a high end retailer, at http://www.gilt.com/unleashed. Pre-orders will be taken starting Tuesday, August 26th.
“We are excited to work with Ford to exclusively launch the Mustang Unleashed collection on Gilt.com,” said Steven Schneider, president, Gilt City and Gilt Business Development. “We’re always looking for ways to give our members access to unique products and experiences they can’t find anywhere else. This is a perfect opportunity to bring together fashion and automotive design in a way we know our members will love.”
The t-shirts, which are for both men and women, follow a successful campaign promoting Mustang inspired nail polish. They’ve sold four million kits to date.
Ford’s Kim Cape says this is one of the biggest steps in so called “guerrilla marketing” that Ford has undertaken.
“This truly is leveraging Mustang, and its influence in pop culture, a very big step for Ford brand and Mustang.”
Sure, it sounds like something Pope Francis might drive, but Mini is backing the design of a stained glass car. And, this being the 21st century, of course it’s also driverless.
For the upcoming London Design Festival (Sept. 17-21, if you’re interested), Mini has brought together progressive young designers to explore how design and technology could transform the way we travel in years to come. Apparently stained glass is on the agenda.
British artist, designer, and inventor Dominic Wilcox came up with the idea. He thinks because cars will be fully automated in the near future, there is going to be no need for crumple zones, airbags, and other ugly safety technology. Frankly, I never cared what my safety technology looked like as long as it saved me in a collision.
Wilcox suggests, “The safe, driverless cars of the future will free up designers to create radically different car designs, ones that you can just sit in and sleep while it drives you to your destination. I was really struck by the stained glass windows of Durham Cathedral. I thought, ‘Why don’t we use that so much in contemporary design?’”
Actually, Wilcox is thinking of future design. In the accompanying video, he ponders what transportation will be like in 2059 when Mini celebrates its centennial. Like others, he espouses the belief it will be safer to be in a driverless than one piloted by a human. “We can have a shell of any kind,” he says, explaining the motivation behind his stained glass car.
Curious if that stained glass car will get you to heaven any faster during a crash?
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