"It’s very authentic for BMW to do bold statements,” Domagoj Dukec says with the confident grin of someone who knows that he isn’t dealing in hyperbole.
In this case, we’re talking about the i Vision Circular, the radical concept car that showcases how BMW will apply ‘circular economy’ principles to future production machines. But the head of BMW Design could also be talking about much of his recent work, from the ever-growing range of SUVs to the ever-growing kidney grilles.
While it’s often divisive, Dukec has chosen to go for bold over bland. And that philosophy should stand BMW in good stead as the car industry undergoes a generational transformation through electrification, digitalisation and sustainability. For a car designer, that must be a huge but very exciting challenge.
“You can’t choose in which epoch you’re a designer, but it’s very interesting to be one in a time when the car industry is facing such major challenges, where you don’t even know if it will survive,” says Dukec. “You can use your creativity to offer more, to offer new experiences of mobility.”
The changes in the car industry go beyond the switch to EVs, which BMW has embraced with the likes of the iX3 and i4. Those cars are essentially electric versions of combustion-engined BMW models; for the third phase of its electrification strategy from 2025, BMW is taking a “radically new” approach, including a commitment to sustainability, new software and a new flexible platform that can underpin a huge range of cars.
Company boss Oliver Zipse has named the new phase of models Neue Klasse (new class), reviving the name of the hugely popular line of 1960s models that transformed the fortunes of the Munich firm. As you might have read in last week’s Autocar, the range will encompass all of BMW’s models, including an equivalent of the 3 Series.