As discussed briefly in my Volt post and in more depth by folks in comments, whom I thank for ideas and images appearing here…..
Maybe GM didn’t pick Saab up just for their turbocharging expertise and their European presence. It looks a bit like they might have wanted it so that their Chevrolet stylists would have some good designs to go ahead and screw up.
Witness the following:
The Saab 9x. Magnificent presence, great concept and would have been a killer if it hadn’t been killed.
Then we have the Chevy Nomad concept car from 2004.
GM hired eccentric animation identity, Wallace of the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ franchise, to come in and re-style the 9x in order to make a Chevrolet version.
Mr Wallace (pictured below) was said to be “very pleased indeed” with the result, which he celebrated with a full wedge of Wensleydale and a cup of tea. When asked for his thoughts on the Nomad, trusty friend Gromit merely displayed a furrowed brow.
Then we have the magnificent Aero-X. Considered by many people-that-matter to be the concept car of 2006.
Aggressive flowing lines. That wraparound windshield, smallish headlamps and deep grille. Note also the blacked out rear section.
Now have a look at their new Volt electric vehicle, unveiled yesterday at the GM Style event and debuting at the Detroit Auto Show.
It ain’t a direct copy, but the cues here are a little more than subtle, shall we say. The blackout section with the thin tail lamps. The blacked out A pillar to simulate non-existence, the front styling. Yeah, there’s differences too – the Chevy is more edgy and not as smooth as the Aero-X. There’s bulges where it should be sculpted. But the influence seems pretty obvious to my eyes.
My liking of the Volt is due to the fact that it seems to be a pretty practical electric car with a ICE recharger. I’m not a huge fan of the way it looks and not because they seemed to have copied some Saab design cues, but because they’ve copied them and made them somewhat ugly.
The good part about globalising your design centres: you get a greater pool of talent to work on things and some good potential for diversity.
The bad part: huge potential for groupthink.