Brand's head of design claims original BMW Mini of early 2000s shows direction Smart will take
Jim Holder
4 October 2019

The next generation of Smarts must take inspiration from the look of the first relaunched Minis, according to Mercedes head of design Gorden Wagener.

Earlier this year parent company Mercedes-Benz sold a half-share in Smart to Geely, owner of Volvo, with the pair entering into a joint venture to run the city car firm, manufacturing electric cars only from a production base in China.

The first cars built as part of the deal will be launched in 2022, with successors to the Fortwo and Forfour planned, plus a move up in size to launch a B-segment car. Mercedes will lead the design and styling of those future models, with Geely leading the engineering.

“The key point is that sexiness sells, and in that regard I look to those first Minis for inspiration,” said Wagener. “There was a simplicity, a voluptuousness that gave them unique appeal - and the challenge is to get those kind of shapes without growing the car too far or making it look too heavy.

“We are just at the start of the process now with Geely, but we know what direction we want to go in. Smart has grown up as a brand - it is no longer a child - and it can be justified in going in a sexier, sportier direction with its styling”.

Until the new models launch in 2022, current Smart cars will continue to be made at Daimler’s plants at Hambach in France and Novo Mesto in Slovenia. Facelifted Fortwo and Fourfour models were revealed at the Frankfurt motor show, and will be sold from next year as electric-only models.

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Comments
7

4 October 2019

“The key point is that sexiness sells, and in that regard I look to those first Minis for inspiration,” sad Wagener -

Sad indeed.

4 October 2019
abkq wrote:

“The key point is that sexiness sells, and in that regard I look to those first Minis for inspiration,” sad Wagener -

Sad indeed.

 

Sad that he is a highly successful and well respected auto industry figure and you are a...?

5 October 2019

 

Sad that he is a highly successful and well respected auto industry figure and you are a...?

[/quote]

 

I personally do like Wagener's design philospohy and think Mercedes and SMART have lost their way in a sea of mediaocracy, what have I done? plenty and will gladly supply you with my CV

We are all allowed our opions and taste is subjective, please be constructive. 

6 October 2019
supercarrambler wrote:

 

Sad that he is a highly successful and well respected auto industry figure and you are a...?

 

I personally do like Wagener's design philospohy and think Mercedes and SMART have lost their way ...

[/quote]

There seems to be a contradiction in what you say.

In any case my problem with Wagnener's design language is that he cannot allow sharp defined lines. Everything has to be rounded off, giving the current range of MB an ill-defined look.

This happens in the interior as well. Example - even the oblong air vents in certain SUV models have their corners rounded. 

4 October 2019

Some of the Smart models from mid 2000s (e.g. the Smart Roadster) were bang on- trendy, cheap and fun cars.

The utter tosh that they sell is styled to resemble a melted Daewoo Matiz. Its no wonder they only sell 4 a year.

4 October 2019
CWBROWN wrote:

Some of the Smart models from mid 2000s (e.g. the Smart Roadster) were bang on- trendy, cheap and fun cars.

The utter tosh that they sell is styled to resemble a melted Daewoo Matiz. Its no wonder they only sell 4 a year.

Totally agree, surely there is a market for another roadster/coupe, minis styling worked because it was a pastiche of the original mini, the original smart was as ungainly as the current, I am sure they can find a style or design of their own without trying to emulate mini, and maybe utilising the styling of the roadster coupe could be the way to go as they were great looking if flawed cars.

7 October 2019

They could even look closer to home, copying themselves rather than their direct competitors, by rethinking the original A Class.

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