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The Future of Car Design

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 7 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Design Concept Engineering Future Cars

Concept cars fascinate both designers and the public. With the graphic design tools now available on computers, it’s easier than ever to produce proposals for future vehicles.

Car manufacturers are also taking concept designs more seriously than ever before. Until the last few years, manufacturers were happy to give their engineers the last say in design. This was because many people believed engineering quality was one of the most important factors for car buyers.

But things have changed. Manufacturers have realised that engineering is not what necessarily sells a car. Design is of equal if not greater importance. Research into consumer tastes has shown that cars have become a fashion statement.

Design First

Major car companies are now putting design at the top of their agendas. And in the future, this is set to continue. The quirky design features of many new vehicles are deliberate. Manufacturers want their products to be distinctive. They want people to associate a style of car with a brand and a lifestyle.

Look at any new car on the road and you can see the evidence of this. The designs used for tail lights and headlights, for example, are more dramatic than older models. Even the bulbs within some tail lights create distinctive patterns.

Cars are also coming under the design influence of sport more than ever before. Models aimed at 17 – 35-year olds are taking on the characteristics of vehicles that appear in many car-based video games.

Today’s concept designs show that these ideas are coming to every size of car as well. Even small, cheaper vehicles will soon have design features that make them stand out and appeal to a particular market.


One of the most noticeable of these features will be aggressive styling. Over the past two decades, the front grilles on many cars have almost disappeared. Large front grilles will soon return. And to accentuate the aggressive styling, manufacturers will use bold colours. Silver, which manufacturers have used to suggest prestige and comfort, will not appear so often. The primary colours of red, blue and yellow will become far more common.


There will also be a move away from the cramped interiors of smaller cars. Small cars are popular because of price and fuel efficiency. But designers now realise that small car drivers and passengers want more room.

To create more space, or at least give the illusion of it, future cars will have bubble-like canopies. These will have sophisticated sunroofs that a driver can open when the weather permits.


Future car design will still have to allow for engineering developments, of course. Electric engines, engines that run on compressed air, and hybrid vehicles will become more popular. Engineers, however, will have to build these new engines and power sources around the designs.

Design will be the priority. Cars won’t just be a functional means of transport. They will be part of every car buyer’s way of life, more so than now. Car engineers will work diligently to reduce pollution and promote recycling. But if the industry analysts are correct, the designers will gather the most praise.

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