Skip to main content


Auto designers closely scrutinize new models

Pat Schiavone, Ford Motor Co. design director for trucks and SUVs, emerged from a sea of vehicles Tuesday onto the big blue dot in the middle of the Ford display.

Schiavone (pronounced SHEE-uh-vone) had been circling Cobo Hall looking at vehicles. When he gets done with this interview, he'll start circling again.

"I'm working," Schiavone said. "I'm going through every single vehicle down here."

As the North American International Auto Show opens to the public today, hundreds of thousands of people will descend on Detroit in the coming week to see the cars and trucks.

Only a few of these visitors will scrutinize the vehicles as closely as an auto designer does. General Motors Corp. sends a team of designers through Cobo each year with assignments for each, jotting down details on as many concept and production cars as possible.

"Sometimes, vehicles look great in photos," said Ken Parkinson, GM's executive director of global truck design. "You see them here and they don't, and vice versa. It's a big deal for us."

Wheels, grilles, headlights, gauges, glass, chrome accents, stitching on the seats. Great thought has been placed behind every inch of each vehicle.

Designers dream of creating a concept car, said David McKinnon, vice president for Chrysler Group's small, premium and family vehicle design. They also dream of seeing the concept go into production.

"The first test is does it have a business case?" McKinnon said. "Will it sell enough? Where does it fit? ... The first thing we need is a good response to it."


Popular posts from this blog

1966 Volvo Amazon Custom Coupe by Bo Zolland

(from Bo Zolland) This a custom VolvoCoupe design by Bo Zolland for a custom car and Volvo collector in Arizona.

1966 Amazon 2 Door is the base, but with added custom tricks and coupe roof. The front and grille are little modified due to identification visibility. The car will have a Volvo 2004 S-80 T-6 engine/trans and rear wheel drive, modern brakes etc. Air ride suspension and a mix of modern Volvo and Vette components in chassis.

Audi A1 S-line : 2012

Audi is extending the A1 family – the A1 Sportback is coming in early 2012. The five-door model is emotional and individual, communicative and youthful, sporty and efficient. The A1 Sportback hopes to build on the success of the three-door A1. 2012 Audi A1 S-line. The S line exterior package option has smart and sporty details. The accessories program for the A1 Sportback will later include kits with aerodynamic add-on parts and colorful decal sets. Upon request, Audi will paint the roof line – the roof arch, the roof and the roof spoiler – in one of three contrasting colors. A choice of 12 paint finishes are available, including the new color Samoa Orange, which is exclusive to the A1 Sportback. The Audi A1 Sportback is 3.95 meters (12.96 ft) long and has a wheelbase of 2.47 meters (8.10 ft), just like the three-door model. It is six millimeters (0.24 in) wider and taller than the three-door model, however, at 1.75 meters (5.74 ft) and 1.42 meters (4.66 ft), respectively. Its aerodyn…

2007 Tokyo Auto Salon - Part 5

We're psyched now that we can finally talk about our favorite vehicles of the 2007 Tokyo Auto Salon: the style wagons. These pimped-out minivans were our favorite part of the 2005 Tokyo Auto Salon, and after the disappointingly small number of VIP vans at the '06 show, we thought that the trend was dead. It turns out that the pimp-wagon scene was just resting, as VIP vans seemed to dominate the 2007 show.

So what makes a minivan a "style wagon"? Basically, a style wagon is a VIP-styled minivan. As is the case with VIP sedans, most style wagons have a simple white or black paint scheme (though silver is also acceptable), tasteful aero kits, large chrome wheels and no fender gap. Within the style wagon scene, the main vans of choice seem to be the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Elgrand and the Toyota Estima. Though Americans would look at any of these rides as "just a minivan", the massive size of these vans allows Japanese tuners to let their minds run wild. Though th…