Plugged Flow: Mazda Killing Nagare Design Theme

After only a short stint and a brief appearance on production models, Mazda has put a plug in its flowing Nagare design theme.

"Nagare is done," Peter Birtwhistle, head of Mazda Europe's design, told Auto Express. "After the [Mazda5], it's highly unlikely that there will be another Nagare car. Mazda has moved on."

The Nagare design theme first appeared on Mazda's aptly named Nagare concept shown at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show. Five more concepts, the Kiyora, Hakaze, Ryuga, Taiki, and Furai, also featured the flowing design. Nagare styling elements were mildly applied to the Mazda6, RX-8 refresh, Japan-only Mazda Biante, and the latest Mazda3. The 2011 Mazda5 features the styling prominently.

In 2008 we praised Mazda's Nagare design theme, saying "the five (now six) Mazda design concepts show the potential for the design theme to be adapted to the entire range of Mazda production vehicles, each with its own characteristics, yet all clearly belonging to the same family."

"The delicacy and crispness of the flowing lines must have been a true challenge to the modelers, who likely shaped every one of them purely by hand," continued design editor Robert Cumberford.

According to Birtwhistle, top executives in Japan didn't feel as we did and weren't completely convinced the design theme was right for Mazda. Birtwhistle confirmed Cumberford's suspicions that sculpting the flowing lines were a challenge, saying that it was "particularly difficult to apply to a boxy people mover," referring to the Mazda5.

As of now it's unclear exactly where Mazda's design direction will go, but the new styling is ultimately up to Ikuo Maeda, Mazda's new design boss. It's said that Maeda's design studio is currently working on a number of concepts under a new design title, "thrusting motion." Mazda will select the winning concept at an internal company event in September before the concept, and the name for Mazda's new design theme, are revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show. Thankfully, the new design theme will sport a different title when it debuts.

Source: Auto Express

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