Luc Donckerwolke, boss of Seat design and before that the man behind Lamborghini, recently told me: “If we [designers] do our tasks, we can create a clean conscience for car buyers and change the way people live with cars.” 

This was in reply to a question about how he thinks car designers will have to react to environmental pressures.

Donckerwolke’s response was an unexpected one, as I have always assumed that engineering was the main answer to the environmental questions. Yet, when you think about what makes a car sell, the only conclusion is that Seat’s design guru is right. As he says, “Designers are the ambassadors of a new era – a way of living.”

Engineering clearly paves a way for the essential new fuel solutions, but cars sell mainly because they are a practical means of transport that has become essential to modern lifestyles.