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Guru Bangle says car design is stuck in a rut

By James Cleary, 02 Sep 2013 Features

Chris Bangle, car design, Bangle Butt, BMW E65 7 Series, BMW E60 5 Series, flame surfacing, Wheels, Wheels magazine

In the early noughties he famously caused outraged brand loyalists to picket BMW’s ‘four cylinder building’ in Munich, angry that his controversial design direction was ruining the brand. But now, auto design guru Chris Bangle is calling for more creativity in car design.

In the early noughties he famously caused outraged brand loyalists to picket BMW’s ‘four cylinder building’ in Munich, angry that his controversial design direction was ruining the brand. But now, auto design guru Chris Bangle is calling for more creativity in car design.

In an interview with influential industry magazine 'Automotive News Europe', Bangle says car designers are stuck in a phase he terms ‘mannerism,’ relying on approaches and elements from the past.

Bangle, who left BMW in 2009 to establish his own studio, says, "There is a real need for a change and that's just not happening." He adds many designers talk about innovation, but nobody is really doing it.

Since leaving BMW he claims to have turned down design director roles at several auto brands. "Designing cars consumes you; it has a hold on your spirit which is incredibly powerful," he says. "It's not something you can do part time, you have to do it with all your heart and soul or you're going to get it wrong."

While he loved working for BMW, he says "you have to know when to leave the party."