As a kid, Paul Beranger always had a passion for cars. His childhood sketches eventually led to a distinguished career as one of Australia’s leading automotive designers.
Now retired, Paul established his reputation as a designer working with the likes of Holden, Nissan, and Toyota.
His career started with an opportunity to work as a cadet designer at Holden in 1968, before moving to Nissan where he relished the opportunity to work on the brand’s performance vehicles.
“In those days [when he entered the industry as a cadet], you didn’t need degrees; it was more talent-based than degree-based,” Paul says.
“I was passionate about cars. I had enough ability to be able to sketch and obviously enough talent to be recognised as an automotive designer at Holden. Since then, I’ve moved through the industry and… I’ve been able to study Japanese and western design cultures and business practices.”
A background in industrial design helped Paul, and by the time he joined Toyota Motor Corporation Australia in 2002, he had worked on local and international projects across China, Russia, Korea, South Africa and the US.
As Manager, Design and Development for Toyota Australia, Paul headed up a team of designers, CAD engineers and technicians, working on projects such as the mid-sized Camry Hybrid and the Toyota Aurion, as well as projects for the Asia-Pacific region.
Since 2012, following his retirement from Toyota, Paul has worked as a consultant and is now spending time writing a book on Australian automotive design. As an expert in his field, this was Paul’s second year judging the WhichCar Style Awards.
With a panel of judges from various magazines, Paul brought an experienced automotive design eye to the process, with some judges referring to him as the ‘contextualiser’.
“The fact there was so much variety in the cars gave us all options,” Paul said of the finalists.
“Obviously the Mustang is a strong image model for Ford, based on over 50 years of heritage. The Audi A4 represents an evolutionary design theme, which is probably one of the most refined of any car company. They manage their branding very well.
“Honda is reinventing itself as a brand, after struggling for many years with its styling and engineering and the latest batch of models are developing a unique design language.
“Holden’s Astra reflects GM’s global design direction, making a sophisticated design statement in its segment.
“All are quite different designs. It really is a matter of how you want to interpret each design’s attraction to its intended customer.”