As the Volkswagen Group’s design chief, Walter de’Silva is responsible for all models designed in the global studios of seven brands that are as diverse as Skoda and Bugatti.
Most recently, de’Silva has masterminded the complete overhaul of VW’s 10-strong model range in just three years. Speaking to Autocar at the recent European launch of the sixth-generation Jetta saloon, de’Silva outlined the next steps for VW as it continues to develop its design direction.
His major challenges include ground-up replacements for the Golf and its family of models, and refining its new design theme for the new models.
What is the starting point for the design of the seventh-generation Golf?VW design should be unique and not complicated. This is the true design of VW, but it was not like this when I took over three years ago. VW design has to be distinctive because VWs are world cars that everybody understands and recognises as VWs.
When I took over, I stopped the excessive decoration and over-design of models. I did this initially with the Golf and Polo. Now all the other models have followed. Everything should be clean, precise and have meaning. Before I arrived, this was not VW style.
How will that approach translate into the design of the next Golf?The design language will stay the same; the new cars will evolve. We will develop the horizontal face and some of the smaller details such as the lights, door handles and side mirrors — all microcosms of VW’s designs. We’ve done a similar thing with Audi — and now it’s VW’s turn.
There won’t be any stylistic additions to the next range of VW’s designs. Cars will have to stay in proportion and be elegant. On the Golf, expect great proportions, thanks to a new platform.