News

Mercedes, BMW Will Make Cars with Fewer Design Lines

Automakers are going for a cleaner look

Nowadays, vehicle designs reflect an increasingly competitive space. New technologies have allowed designers to get more creative with a car’s styling, and no one wants to look boring and trite compared to rivals. But there are plenty of times automakers overwork their vehicles in the pursuit of innovation. BMW and Mercedes are far from the worst offenders, but execs at these companies say they want to make cars with fewer design lines in the future.

Speaking with Automotive News Europe, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said Mercedes is reducing aggressive design cues on its new cars. He uses the new A-Class as an example.

“The previous A-class design had to be edgy and loud for a reason: to attract attention, a concept that has been widely adopted by the competition, so it’s time to move on,” he said. “As our head of design, Gorden Wagener, puts it: ‘If you like it, take a line off. If you still like it, take another line off’.” According to Mercedes, the biggest reason a customer will choose the A-Class hatch over a competitor is design.

Robert Lesnik, exterior design boss for Mercedes, chimed in, “If you look around at what others are doing, a lot are chocking their cars full of lines, trying to achieve the sharpest edge in the world with the smallest radius. It looks very aggressive–you don’t want to touch it. You’re afraid you could almost hurt yourself.”

Of course, design is highly personal. Some will like the look of a particular car while others won’t. But it’s safe to say Lexus employs some of the most polarizing designs, particularly with the aggressive spindle grille found throughout the lineup. The design trend comes after years of criticism for bland designs. We’ve also noticed Cadillac isn’t afraid to shy away from sharp corners, and even Acura is stepping up its game with bolder lines and shapes on the body and grille.

BMW will also minimize design cues on its cars. Speaking with ANE, BMW Group design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said, “We’re going to clean things up. We’re going to use fewer lines; the lines that we will have will be sharper and more precise.”

As ANE points out, automakers are looking at ways to play with design without adding excessive lines. BMW and Mercedes are reinterpreting design from heritage cars. We can already see this on the GT R, which adopts the Panamericana grille from the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that won the Panamericana road race in Mexico back in 1952.