IAA: trend towards more (aero)dynamic style after SUV hype?
While the growing popularity of SUVs is still undeniable, the trend seems to be shifting from bulky, off-road-like cars to sleeker, lower, and more dynamic designs.
At the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich, manufacturers have showcased their future design directions with concept cars. While some, such as Mercedes, are still opting for high-riding cars, the vision of the car of the future seems to be lower, more dynamic, and surely more aerodynamic.
It’s all a question of trends. In the sixties, all cars had the three-box style, then came the hatchback in the eighties and the minivan at the turn of the century.
Today, the world wants SUVs, regardless if they really are off-road machines, crossovers, or just conventional cars with plastic cladding. However, with climate worries growing strong, environmentalists see the SUV as the horseman of the apocalypse.
Practical and safe-feeling
According to data analyst JATO Dynamics, SUVs accounted for 46% of the European new car market. That being said, this growing demand isn’t only driven by the need of every customer to climb every mountain or forge every stream.
Not only does this body style offer a high-riding driving position, which makes people feel safer aboard, it also gives useful space for manufacturers to hide batteries for the latest generations of EVs.
Shift towards aerodynamics
In spite of the current demand, manufacturers seem to plan a future made of sleeker and more aerodynamic cars. At the IAA, Audi presented its GrandSphere concept, a long, four-door coupé with a big bonnet and a low roofline.
Hyundai was present with its Prophecy concept, which is also a low sedan emphasizing interior comfort. Notorious Italian styling house Pininfarina showcased their new radical Teorema concept, a 5,4-metre-long, low and dynamic car.
“There has always been a dominant design in every period of automotive history. Every time, there was a technical advancement, except for SUVs where it’s more psychological,” explained Pininfarina’s creative director, Kevin Rice, talking to the AFP.
“They have conquered the world in the 2010s with a high driving position, strong looks, and a feeling of safety. But there is already a movement towards more sporty-looking SUVs, lower with shorter bonnets”, explained Pininfarina’s creative director, Kevin Rice, talking to the AFP.
“Aerodynamics are essential to lower consumption of all cars and increase the range of electric ones,” says Laurens van den Acker, design director at Renault. “Technology will make other forms appear, but I think the SUV trend will perpetuate for a long time still.”