The head of Mercedes' design team says cars will retain their classic proportions despite new technology
19 January 2015

Car design among mainstream manufacturers is unlikely to fundamentally alter, even with advances such as in-wheel electric motors, according to Mercedes' head of design Gorden Wagener.

It has been suggested that advancing battery technology and the packaging of motors in tighter spaces could radically alter how cars look, in particular at the front end. However, Wagener cautioned that such a change would be unlikely even when technology makes it possible.

“Classic proportions will remain classic,” he said. “For Mercedes, I think the rear-wheel drive look of a long bonnet, a cabin hunched over the rear wheels and so on defines us. It is key to our brand and something I think that we would want to keep.”

Wagener also admitted he couldn’t imagine a Mercedes that wasn’t sold with a steering wheel, despite advances in autonomous driving technology.

“I can’t imagine why we’d want to remove the pleasure of driving and ownership,” he said. “Once the steering wheel is gone you might as well take the train. Autonomous functions should only be there for the times they can make life better. At other times, Mercedes drivers will want to drive.”

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Comments
6

19 January 2015

How does someone who can make such a brainless comment get a job at a company like Mercedes? Oh, of course, every car journey can be replaced by a train journey...

19 January 2015

A very strange set of comments in light of the concept car on the show stand that makes a liar of him. He's wrong about driverless cars too, and if he's in charge of Merc's attitude towards them, the company could be in trouble.
Why would you need a steering wheel? You'll be too busy having a snooze, or a whisky, watching a movie, or just watching the scenery to worry about steering your car in the future. And yes, you could take the train, if the train stopped at your house and wasn't full of the great unwashed...

19 January 2015

“I can’t imagine why we’d want to remove the pleasure of driving and ownership,” he said. “Once the steering wheel is gone you might as well take the train. Autonomous functions should only be there for the times they can make life better. At other times, Mercedes drivers will want to drive.”

19 January 2015

Sad day when even the head of Mercedes Benz design is about as forward thinking as my mother in law....

19 January 2015

...it's the horribly overstyled and over onamented look of most current Mercs that puts me off. Guess they are targeted at the big growth markets outside Europe where tastes are, IMHO, somewhat less sophisticated and more is definitely more...

19 January 2015

Hmm, I think he may simply be defending his employer's business future. If cars become autonomous at some point, who will want to own one? We'll all just join car rental schemes and pick up and drop wherever & whenever our journeys demand. Think Zip car meets Boris bikes with 100% dedicated 'intelligent' car lanes. No future there for a premium car manufacturer. The funny thing about car ownership is that we pay for them 24/7 but our cars spend an awful lot of the time sat in the driveway or a car park not being used. Take that away and there's no profit left for the car industry...

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