Volkswagen: future technology will influence car design


“In China, the Sedric would be a room in which the environment is more healthy than outside. In Asia more generally, people spend so much time commuting that they love to sleep, so the Sedric might have seats in which they could sleep.

“In Europe, it’s all about saving time. In the Sedric, the time would be used to work or eat, or play with your kids.”

Wouda also reinforced the idea that the rise of fully autonomous cars might in fact change priorities for getting to a destination: “If we wanted to prepare a presentation or watch a film, we could ask the Sedric to drive more slowly or take a more scenic route so we could finish it.”

The Sedric is “a white label solution”, explained Wouda, meaning VW Group brands will adapt it as they see fit. He said the Sedric could be relevant to Skoda, Seat and Audi, although for each brand it will “have different design cues” and “bigger proportions”. It is up to each brand to take the Sedric and make it their own: “Audi and VW are working heavily on autonomous cars, and Skoda and Seat are taking a back seat for now.”

Despite preparing for a future with fully autonomous cars, Wouda said there was still a space for driver’s cars: “Why shouldn’t a Lamborghini be capable of self-driving? The car could drive itself to a track and then the owner could take over for track driving.”

VW Group’s brands will continue to be designed to be different: 

The styling of cars from individual VW Group brands must continue to be different in the future, according to VW Group design boss Wouda.

“Brands exude a certain image, a lifestyle and trust, and those brand values are experienced through cars,” he said.

“Design is increasingly important because if you look at an Audi or a Mercedes or a BMW, there is not an awful lot different between them [from a technical perspective]. A brand’s design has to be very sharp.” VW Group’s car brands meet at regular intervals to show future models to each other to ensure designs aren’t too similar.

“It’s important to bring cars together to realise if something is such a global trend that we all have designed the same light graphic, for example,” added Wouda.

“If that happens, it’s a case of deciding which brand it suits the best and which brand can change something to make it more individual.”

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