News - Holden

Young designers drifting to SUVs

Young blood: Aspiring car designers are creating concepts built around high-riding SUVs rather than low-slung supercars.

Supercars take a back seat as young designers jump on SUV trend

Holden logo16 Aug 2013

FORGET low-slung, sleek supercars. Aspiring architects focussing on the future of motoring are doodling sports utility vehicles, one of Australia’s top car designers says.

Holden chief designer Richard Ferlazzo said he was seeing more student work focussing on emerging trends rather than the traditional supercar-based breeding ground that has fed this generation of top talent.

“I can definitely see a shift in the type of vehicles that students are drawing,” Mr Ferlazzo said.

“It used to be all sportscars and cars with a sporty image,” he said. “Now I’m seeing a lot more SUVs, and the kids are wanting to draw them.” Mr Ferlazzo said one of the main factors driving the change in focus was the broadening of the SUV market over the last decade beyond just Range Rover – the brand that introduced the world to the luxury off-road meme.

“They’re (SUVs) kind of cute to draw, because there’s lots of things you can do to embellish them” he said. “However, all these things they add to the drawing add cost when it comes to making the car, so they’re going to find that cost, not their imagination, is going to limit what they can do.” Mr Ferlazzo said he saw about one student folio a week from aspiring car designers.

He said he would not necessarily encourage anyone dreaming of a career penning car designs to just concentrate on SUVs or supercars, but to draw everything.

“I like to see lots of hand-drawn sketches,” he said. “Students are getting very good now at Photoshopping images, but I want to see their technique – you can really see talent in hand-drawn images.

“You don’t have to be a good drawer to be a good designer, but it helps and we can always teach them that.” Mr Ferlazzo said Holden’s design centre at Fishermans Bend was always on the lookout for young, up-and-coming designers to join the studios and help it work on projects that included a new generation of concept cars.

He said rather than shaping radio knobs and door handles, the younger designers were the ones tasked with coming up with the wild, show-stopping designs for future products.

“These things (designing a car’s centre console) are complicated, so they usually go to the older designers who have a lot more interest and can pull it all together,” Mr Ferlazzo said.

“We get all the young designers to create all the themes,” he said. “People think it is all the older designers that get to do that, but in reality, it’s not.”

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