[YesAuto Design Decoding] Due to my work, I have visited many famous designers in the automotive design field all over the world over the years. Some of them are bold and unrestrained, some are shy and restrained, and many of them are from their works. , You can discover the performance of some character traits. However, there is a strange phenomenon that when asked about the car brand styling they admire, whether it is a designer from Europe, America or Asia, they will more or less mention a brand: Mazda. It seems that in the eyes of every designer, Mazda's products are a good-looking model at the design level.
Therefore, I have always had doubts about Mazda's design methods. Because regardless of the scale of the product line, sales, etc., Mazda cannot be called a very successful brand in any mainstream market in the world, so why does it leave such a deep impression on designers? As a bystander in the first phase, I took this question to take a look at Mazda's mainstay model: Atez.
Who are the bystanders?
In the past two years, design has become an important part of the new car publicity campaign of car companies. Everyone likes to use a series of stories to illustrate design inspiration. “What's like here, there are unique Chinese elements” stories are not uncommon. In fact, most of these are just to meet the needs of media communication. In the real development process, the designer considers more factors than this.
Therefore, we found a professional third-party design company-Ikona (ICONA), through the perspective of professional designers, to interpret those new cars that are quite topical. In the future series of topics called “The Spectator”, you will see these third-party designers analyze the models that are worth talking about on the market. The opinions, entry points and opinions of these insiders are sharp, objective and true.
If you are worried that the designer of the car company will sell melons to Wang Po and favor your own work, then you may wish to listen to the neutral evaluation from the third party. For this reason, we specifically contacted the Chinese and foreign designers of the Econa Shanghai Design Center.
Don't underestimate this third-party design company. Like Pininfarina, it undertakes a lot of the design work of models that we are familiar with, but due to commercial confidentiality, we will not introduce it in detail here.
-Fifteen years ago today: the launch of instant models
No matter which model of Teana, Camry or Accord among the top three in Japan is compared, Mazda Artz cannot be regarded as a hot-selling car in the Chinese market today. Coupled with the encirclement and suppression of European car companies, it is in the mid-size car market. The popularity of Upper Artez can hardly be ranked in the top ten. However, this was not the case 15 years ago.
A year later, Mazda 6 started domestic production in Changchun, further lowering the price, and injecting a shot into the Chinese private car market that was just beginning at that time. Relying on the dynamic appearance, the power and configuration of the same level of models, Chinese consumers have learned about Mazda, and it has also given this Japanese brand that has entered the Chinese market a firm foothold.
During the life cycle of the first generation of Mazda 6, more than 770,000 units were sold in the Chinese market. With the demand and ability of Chinese consumers to buy cars at that time, this figure is sufficient to show that the Mazda 6 was successful in China at that time. It is even comparable to the Honda Accord and Nissan Bluebird at that time.
The second-generation Mazda 6 did not start domestic production in FAW Mazda until 2009, and the first-generation Mazda 6 was still in production at this time. In order not to confuse the name, the second-generation model was launched in China under the name of Mazda Ruiyi, and the new and old models began a period of combined sales.
Perhaps because the first-generation models are still in production and the second-generation models have been renamed, the domestically-made Mazda Ruiyi's market performance is not as good as that of the Mazda 6 from the data point of view. In addition, there are more and more competitors in the mid-size car market. More and more, the price of luxury brand models gradually dropped, and Ruiyi failed to replicate the success of the first-generation models. It was not until 2017 that the domestically produced Mazda 6 and Mazda Ruiyi ceased production, bidding farewell to the historical stage.
But it was not until 2014 that the domestic version of it was long overdue. And because the first two generations of models (Mazda 6 and Mazda Ruiyi) were still in mass production, FAW Mazda translated its name in the Japanese market into Chinese and called it Mazda Artz.
-How to build a mid-sized car that is both dynamic and elegant?
Due to the slow rate of entry into the domestic market, three years after the domestic Atez went public, the mid-term facelifted Mazda 6 was released in overseas markets. Although it has undergone a mid-term replacement, in fact, the appearance of the new Atez has not changed much compared with the old models, and almost all the contours of the sheet metal parts have not changed. This is also the habitual change method used by many car companies on more successful models. After all, the change of sheet metal parts involves the change of production molds, and the R&D verification cycle of 7 to 8 months will be increased at every turn.
So in the eyes of third-party designers, what are the benefits of such a change? As the most eye-catching part of the entire front of the car, the change in the shape of the chrome parts makes the front of the car a lower center of gravity visually, and it becomes more ferocious and aggressive. Although the change is small, the visual difference is very significant. Obviously, it is undoubtedly a successful change, spending a small amount of money to do big things.
The maturity of LED lighting technology, even the use of laser lighting technology, allows designers to have more space in the traditional headlights and fog lights when designing new cars. Therefore, we see more and more headlights. The size is getting smaller and narrower and narrower, like an animal with half-squinted eyes, giving people an aggressive feeling.
Design is actually an art of playing with visual effects. We think Europeans are good-looking. In fact, many times it is because their facial features are more three-dimensional: deep eye sockets, strong nose bridge, heights and lows make people have a stronger visual experience. It will not be ordinary. The car design is also the same. The front part of the car has a protruding and concave position difference, which will make the whole car look more three-dimensional, which also becomes better visually.
Of course, as Mazda’s family-based design language, everyone knows what the chrome trim strip looks like. Even if it is blocked, it can be guessed seven or eight. But after all, it is not as good-looking as other countries are exposed. I believe that the chrome-plated trim can not be exposed completely, which will be one of the regrets of many Atez car owners.
It can be said that these three curves are the essence of the formal design language of soul movement. They can be found in the concept cars Shinari and Takeri. Similar curves can also be found in the new generation of Angkers. However, due to the size of the body, the curve The number has been reduced from three on Atez to two.
At this point, New Atez’s approach is very advanced. The designer still maintains the original size of the rear door and rear wheel eyebrows, and completely outlines the wheel eyebrows on the door. Although this may cause a certain degree of difficulty in the stamping of the door, the actual car is not only good-looking but also high-end, so the effort is also worthwhile.
The contour of the depression in the license plate frame area also changes more obviously, but if you look closely, you will find that the line changes are actually less sharp from the previous sharpness. Such changes actually reduce the difficulty of the stamping process during manufacturing. Therefore, There will still be confidence in the R&D and trial production cycle.
From the appearance point of view, although the new Atez does not have many very obvious changes from before the facelift, all the changes are moving closer to sports and luxury. In addition, this generation of models inherited the elegance and dynamics of the Mazda Soul Motion design concept when it was first launched, so the appearance of the new Atez can be said to be more attractive to consumers than the old models.
-The interior is updated to be more upscale and more refined
After reading the appearance, let’s take a look at the interior. In fact, including this mid-term replacement, this generation of Artez has already been replaced with the third version of the interior, and these three versions are not just small repairs. It's a little trouble, but it can make people clearly see the change of the difference, which is rare in the field of automobile design.
Secondly, the use of different materials will also make the interior look more advanced. The areas within reach are basically covered by soft materials, and the Alcantara leather in a prominent position adds to the sporty atmosphere of the interior.
The design of the air outlet is not only more refined, but also more interesting and thoughtful. In addition to adding some high-level sense to the interior, it also makes the overall atmosphere less dull.
Although some brands will artificially tilt the driver's interior design to express a driver-centric awareness, it is clear that Mazda's designers do not think so. In fact, symmetry and tilt are just two different concepts. There is no need to distinguish who is right and who is wrong. As long as consumers can accept it, it is a good design.
The air-conditioning vent of the new Atez close to the door will protrude outward, and the top end of the door trim will also protrude outward. This will create a compact feeling that is superimposed like a Tetris, and it is this This kind of staggered combination of car doors and instrument panel will create a sense of envelopment.
The interior design of the new Atez does not create a sense of sports like the appearance, but more on the high-end and refined aspects, coupled with occasional sports elements, the entire interior will not look like many sports. The car puts too much pressure on people, on the contrary it is a comfortable feeling, and this is actually what the mainstream mid-size car needs.
to sum up:
Nowadays, more and more people emphasize that the styling of mid-size cars should be dynamic, and more and more mainstream brands, like Nissan and Honda, have made mid-size cars fierce through sharper lines. But do mid-sized cars now need real sports? Even the BMW 3 Series has become more and more comfortable. The mid-sized car market just needs a car that looks dynamic in appearance, but in fact, whether it is the interior or the driving, I believe that consumers at this level do not want such exercise, on the contrary, comfort will be more in line with their needs.
The appearance of Mazda Atez highlights the movement through curves and styling, but it also reveals a touch of elegance in the dynamic. The interior is mainly high-end and refined, but it contains a little sports element. . It can be said that the exterior and interior of the new Atez actually meet the real needs of many consumers in this market, at least in terms of design, it is successful. I believe this is why so many Chinese and foreign designers are interested in the design of this brand. (Text/Picture Auto Home Miao Shuai)