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Audi to Make Its Cars Look More Different

Automaker ditches its Russian doll design strategy

Plenty of automakers fall into the pattern of creating many different cars with the same look. While it makes it easier for the public to recognize the brand, it can almost feel like you’re simply choosing between small, medium, and large.

Realizing the importance of model differentiation, Audi is starting to make its models look more distinct from one another, says the company’s CEO.

Speaking with Autocar, Rupert Stadler said the company used a common design process in the past to make Audis more recognizable in emerging markets.

“Now we are well known in major markets like China, we can begin to change this philosophy and give each car its own look,” he said.

Marc Lichte, Audi’s chief designer, agrees it’s time for the automaker to start differentiating its models. “Since our cars are in production for a minimum of six years, in today’s world I think each model should have its own design to be attractive for this long time,” he said.

Audi began the process of design differentiation with the Q2. The model features a reinterpretation of the brand’s signature grille as well as wedge-shaped headlights and large air inlets.

Lichte also hinted that electric cars will signal a big change for the design of Audi vehicles. After the e-tron quattro arrives next year, “design will go in a very different way,” he noted. Since electric powertrains will take up little space, Audi will have “more material space to play with” so it can make vehicles with shorter overhangs and lower hoods.

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