2020 will be the end of a disastrous year in some ways; however, light is visible on the horizon for 2021. We asked some augurs of the automotive industry about the past year and the important topics of the future. Today: Gert Hildebrand. The star designer was involved in the design of the Opel Kadett E and VW Golf III, among other things, before he advanced to the position of chief mini designer and finally was responsible for the global design and branding of the Chinese brand Qoros. Most recently he worked for the Chinese EV manufacturer Bordrin.
From Jens Meiners
What does the corona crisis mean for the industry?
Hildebrand: “I'm afraid that little has been learned. Advertising and marketing are moving away from the topics that really matter to customers in record time. Anyone who wants to buy a car is not interested in diversity programs and may not even want to know exactly to what extent the manufacturers are engaging in dialogue with the Fridays For Future community. We are perhaps already witnessing a de-industrialization, but definitely a de-aestheticization: The current design cannot have enough uncontrolled corners and edges, the Bauhaus design premise “form follows function” seems to have gone completely out of fashion. By the way, large radiator grilles once stood for potency in the form of eight or twelve cylinders. Today there is a charged four-cylinder behind the carp's mouth - or a coil with copper wire. "
Will e-mobility catch on - and if so, when?
Hildebrand: “E-mobility is not a new invention, it is over 100 years old. But it will pollute the environment even more through wasted resources and charging infrastructure issues than combustion mobility. The move away from the technologically more practicable and affordable combustion engine solution will be accompanied by a dramatic shift in users: It could develop from mass mobilization, the free movement for almost everyone, to a selective elite motorization. In a country with the highest electricity prices in the world, e-mobility is, in my opinion, a contradiction in terms. If the state transfers the lost 50 billion euros in mineral oil tax to e-cars at some point, then the issue will be settled for most people. "
On autonomous driving: how much longer can we drive ourselves?
Hildebrand: "Let me answer that with a wink: Our brewery in Lörrach had a team of horses for a long time, and when the coachman was drunk or slept, the horses found their stable alone in the evening ... so there has already been autonomy. In relation to the current situation, I see it this way: The dream of autonomous driving becomes a nightmare at the latest when politicians have to face the legislative and ethical-moral questions in mass transport. This shift of responsibility from the bottom up, from the user to the system, is something no politician will want to change. And so I fear that we also already know the end of this route: bus, tram and train. "
What potential does shared mobility have?
Hildebrand: “I worked on some of these projects in China. And it always came out that the consumer wanted his own car or his individually used taxi, Uber or Didi, even before the Corona times. The “shared mobility” basically has the problem of neglect, the lack of hygiene by the previous user. And experience has shown that nothing will change in this, because people are just the way they are. The “shared” approach doesn't even work with bicycles, scooters and mopeds. It used to be said: You don't share your pipe, your girlfriend and your car. It seems to me that little has changed about that until today. "
Which car impressed you this year?
Hildebrand: “For me, the most impressive car in 2020 was my VW Beetle 1303 Cabrio, built in 1979, always family-owned. It started in April after hibernation and in the middle of the first lockdown without a murmur, and it put a smile on my face and the viewer. No current model can do that anymore. It's interesting that this 85 year old concept still works today. You could call it “sustainable”.
Are you looking forward to the IAA?
Hildebrand: “The days of carefree auto shows are over, the political pressure on manufacturers and consumers is spoiling the mood. After Frankfurt 2019, when Chinese visitors had to climb over anti-car demonstrators, one can hardly imagine that there will be many guests from other continents. When clubs and associations like VDA and ADAC fail to conjure up the sensuality of the automobile again, I see black. At the moment I doubt that Munich will even manage the IAA 2021. Maybe the fans will meet at "bauma 2022" instead: excavators, cranes and Unimogs! "(Auto-Medienportal.net)