[YesAuto Design] This is a big topic, and it is difficult to use an article or quantitative method to demonstrate clearly how much design can have on the automobile industry in a country. However, it is undeniable that design has an impact on brands and products. The improvement of image is really helpful. In recent years, Chinese brands have also tried to use design to promote brand promotion or transformation, but most of them have not been able to withstand the test of the market. In contrast, South Korea is facing each other across the sea. , It has reached a certain level of dominance in the global design field. The rapid development of Korean car design makes us have to wonder what is going on behind it. It turned out that all of this was related to a national institution called the Korea Design Promotion Institute.
Let's first look at the relationship between Korean cars and the Chinese market. The Sonata, which has developed to the tenth generation, has completed 4 iterations in China, and Beijing Hyundai is the first Sino-foreign joint venture automobile company after China’s entry into the WTO. During the 18-year development process, we can use the ups and downs to evaluate this The brand's performance in the market. In addition, on the road to the rise of Chinese brands, South Korean car companies have some exchanges on manufacturing technology, especially the stamping die, which really solved the urgent needs of car companies like Geely.
In the past 18 years, Chinese auto companies have quickly completed the accumulation of original capital and developed into an auto industry with positive R&D capabilities and core competitiveness of networking, electrification, sharing, and intelligence. The Korean auto industry Naturally, they are not idle, but they adopt the method of cultural penetration, and implant their own design capabilities into various car companies around the world through the flow of people. In fact, each car company’s overseas car design centers, The number of Korean designers is very high, and the overseas design centers of Chinese car companies are no exception. I once asked the director of the design center why there are so many Korean designers working here. His answer was straightforward, “It was cheap and easy to use in the beginning”, but now you ask the same question again and get the answer. Most of them are hardworking, willing to work overtime, and have a strong ability to innovate. Of course, European colleagues at the same level privately insist that it is because of low wages.
The international appeal of Korean design is very high. The brand-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class that was previously exposed was said to be derived from a Korean designer. Although its shape is controversial in China, it is really a South Korean car design circle. A shot of stimulant. The South Korean designer who designed the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is called Hubert Lee. His reputation in Mercedes-Benz is the successful design of the second-generation CLS-class model project, which made him the head of the Mercedes-Benz North American Design Center. After Mercedes-Benz adjusted the focus of the Asian market from Japan to China, he was asked to lead the Chinese design team because Asians knew more about Asians. (South Koreans in the 1990s had Chinese classes during school. Therefore, Korean youth with a higher education level can understand Chinese, except for Koreans studying abroad).
It is a market trend to create younger products based on the understanding of digitalization and technology. At the design level, it is explored by a subject called trend aesthetics. Since it is called a trend, it must be evolving. Today's design needs to consider the application of products in different scenarios, from the original single static review to the dynamic scenario review under multiple scenarios. Behind this iteration of design thinking is the technology iteration under the new infrastructure. Design cannot be defined by a single aesthetic, but must be evaluated from multiple dimensions such as culture, social efficiency, and safety.
To put it simply, it is also a transparent plaque attached to the surface of the central control panel. The generations of generation Z will subconsciously use their fingers to touch, and we are always accustomed to physical buttons.
On the topic of trends, youthfulness is an absolute conclusion, and high-end cars are no exception. The original Mercedes-Benz S-Class was used to ride, but the survey found that the age of Mercedes-Benz S-Class users in the Chinese market is declining, and this Some people pay more attention to the driving experience of a car. Therefore, in the product strategy of Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class will gradually transform its driving attributes, and the Maybach is for those who need to ride in the rear. If you look at it this way, the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class's technological and digital design style is easy to understand.
Let's take a look at the local Korean brand models. Korean brand models do not pay much attention to the design inheritance between the old and the new. This allows the design team to easily throw away the burden of history. This rhythm is still the envy of the European brand design team. However, they attach great importance to the consistency of the design language of the same generation. The styling relationship between Festa and the tenth generation Sonata can illustrate this point. They do not hesitate to abandon the past, and they are very firm in judging the future. It is South Korea. A feature of the design.
The design prototype of the tenth-generation Sonata is the Le Fil Rouge concept car exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in 2018. While the designers of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW were still arguing about which design technique is more advanced in terms of line and shape, Hyundai completed the right The fluid sculpture design concept evolves to perceptual movement. The Le Fil Rouge concept car is a new starting point for modern brand design. It has very important guiding significance for the subsequent product styling, but in fact, it is the prototype of the tenth generation Sonata. Because the design and development of the tenth-generation Sonata took three years to complete. From this point of view, the Sonata’s design was already finalized when the concept car was launched. The entire design team hopes to create emotional value for the vehicle through design. Now everyone knows that a good company not only brings users, but also greater value comes from the ability to create a fan economy, which depends entirely on the charm of the product.
Sonata has almost completely continued the essence of the Le Fil Rouge concept car, which consists of several unique elements. On the one hand, the sharp waistline with gradual angles retains the exquisiteness of the original fluid sculpture. Compared with the traditional waistline design method that runs through the same, this kind of front and rear light and shadow effects are more like the product of AI algorithms. Software tools can indeed improve the efficiency of design work, but even if the first leading AI algorithm only stays in the form of parameters, the design logic behind it cannot perfectly replicate the soul of the designer.
Even though the waistline is very distinctive, this part is really not the best part of emphasizing the degree of recognition. The front and headlights always have the deepest visual impression on people. The silhouette of the daytime running light is described by modern designers as a dynamic lasso waving in the air. No matter what it looks like, the recognition at night is both clear and distinctive, especially the taillight. After all, the popular through-type taillight strips nowadays have swallowed the soul of all cars with such taillights.
The grille profile is now a relatively uniform family-oriented front face of modern cars, but the concept of UI outside the car expressed on the Le Fil Rouge concept car is not yet time to promote production. However, the designer cleverly used the surface treatment method of the paint process to restore the digital technology sense of the UI interface in the grille area as much as possible.
The modern automobile design in this period paid more attention to the bridge between people and technology, and it was no longer a simple discussion of morphological issues before. At the same time, the aesthetics brought about by technology conveys the temperature of technology.
Let's go back and discuss what forces are driving the iteration and development of the Korean auto industry at the ideological level. All this is related to a national institution called the Korea Design Promotion Institute.
The Korea Design Promotion Institute (hereinafter referred to as KIDP) was established in the 1970s. At that time, South Korea's economy was dependent on export trade. In order to get rid of the low-end product image, it thought of improving the premium and profitability of products through packaging and design methods. , So the organization KIDP was born. So far, it is the only national organization that promotes the design industry. It was formerly called the Industrial Design Promotion Institute, but in 2001 it was renamed the current Design Promotion Institute.
It was through this Design Promotion Institute that the country's economic development was achieved, and then they had another mission, that is, to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people.
The development of the Korean automobile industry also benefits from KIDP. KIDP formulates a development plan in a five-year cycle, the most important of which is the development and training of talents and cultural exchanges. In order to improve the comprehensive capabilities of the domestic design field in Korea, the country creates a large number of internships and job opportunities for design students and graduates around the world every year. Among them, there are many major European manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. Over the years, although these expatriate Korean designers have an oriental face, they have long been integrated with the European design system. Among them, there are many outstanding people like Hubert Lee.
Our relationship with Sang yup Lee is also very interesting. When we interviewed him in 2015, he was also the exterior designer of Bentley Tim Yuet. Before he became the exterior designer of Bentley, he was doing exterior design work at GM. And when we started to pay attention to Sonata and its prototype concept car, Sang yup Lee appeared in the design information provided by Hyundai again. His position was Head of Hyundai Styling (person in charge of modern style?). I don’t know this position. The exact translation is how to translate, and ask again when you have a chance to see him next time.
If Hubert Lee and Sang yup Lee interpret the typical career path of Korean designers, then this can only represent the direction of the Korean government's training of local design talents, but training alone is not enough to allow Korean car brands to sit on. The second stage of the rocket is to introduce the world's top talents.
If I remember correctly, Peter Hillier was the first person in the modern automobile industry to sit on the throne of the vice president of the automobile group as a designer. At the time, such a change in identity was comparable to the hot debate on the Internet. “Diaosi counterattack”, you know, before that, the position of the director was the ceiling of the designer's career, and the only way to break the ceiling was to establish your own door and build your own third-party design company brand. The German designer who was hired by a Korean car company helped the brand realize its image transformation and was fully recognized by the market. The latter is particularly critical at all times.
When it comes to the flow of talents, the design of this circle is still very particular about factions or personal connections. First of all, it is certain that Peter Cyrill is a great automobile designer. His greatness lies not only in his design ability, but also in project integration and promotion ability, brand top-level planning ability, etc., to be sorted out through design methods. It will become a product and use the market performance of the product to achieve a brand breakthrough. On the other hand, Korean brands can use the influence of this German designer in Europe to further promote the brand in the Western market.
Here you can briefly talk about the well-known Red Dot Design Award. Similarly, we must first affirm the value of those award-winning products in design. But from another perspective, the Red Dot Design Award is selected by the judges. If you have feelings, you must take care of your affection. The Red Dot Award comes from Germany. The judges are mostly influential European designers. The European design circle is relatively closed. They don't want people from outside to come in, so as long as they can enter this circle , It’s just one step away from this award. So, you see that the products of Chinese companies that can win the Red Dot Award are usually first to enter the circle. Some are through recruiting European designers, and some are through influencing European media. In short, this award does not place too much emphasis on market performance. . And some of the designs we have seen from Japan, regardless of human factors, it is almost impossible for Japanese products to win the German Red Dot Award.
Each country has its own development route, and different era backgrounds have also created different development opportunities. Just like in the Chinese automobile market ten years ago, the image of commercial vehicles is more in line with mainstream consumer needs. Today, even models such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class have to consider the needs of younger generations, and then have to adjust their product positioning strategies. The pattern of the compact and mid-size car market is also undergoing earth-shaking changes. Japanese cars are eroding the German car market in the same way that German cars occupied the market. German brands are trying to introduce more and more subdivided models. To expand the existing market space, if the entire market is compared to a galaxy and products are compared to a planet, then the current pattern is changeable and the galaxies are chaotic. It just so happens that the Korean brand at this time has completed a transformation in product form after several years of decline. Is this a new opportunity for Korean brands?