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BMW Group Wins for Outstanding Design

From BMW Group Press:

Munich. Once again, the BMW Group placed at the top of this year’s “Ranking:Design”, an established best-of list in the design industry which selects the 100 most outstanding industrial designers and manufacturers each year. The company won awards for top design quality in both categories.

With two first places in the categories “Industrial Designer” and “Manufacturer”, the BMW Group took the lead for the fourth time in a row in the product group “Transport and Special Vehicles”.

DesignworksUSA, a subsidiary of the BMW Group with studios in Los Angeles and Munich, also achieved one of the sought-after places among the top industrial designers, ranking sixth.

Since the first “Ranking:Design” in 1996, the BMW Group has consistently ranked among the first three places in the product group “Transport and Special Vehicles”. Since 2001 it has even managed to continuously hold first place among the industrial designers and manufacturers in this group.

Moreover, the unbroken string of first place rankings catapulted the Munich automobile manufacturer into the first place of the so-called “Hall of Fame”, which sums up the Ranking:Design awards of the previous years – far ahead of other competitors in the branch.

Established Award for the Best Industrial Designers and Manufacturers.

For the past eight years, Ranking:Design has rated Germany’s most important design competitions. The current results for 2004/2005 are based on the systematic evaluation of 17 national and regional design competitions, including internationally-recognized competitions such as the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Red Dot Award and the iF Design Award.

Ranking:Design provides an overview of the evaluations of professional designers and design-oriented manufacturers. The ranking in Ranking:Design rewards successful design achievements over the past year, rather than reflecting individual products.

The BMW Group’s top rankings in this year’s evaluation offer new confirmation of the Munich company’s persuasive design strategy and the visually compelling character of its brands. In international comparison, both the work and the goals of the BMW Group design team live up to the very highest standards.

Before all the relentless (and at times painfully misguided) Chris Bangle bashing begins, remember that the BMW Group and CB himself are in many ways responsible for what most of us drive day in a day out. Without Mr. Bangle’s guidance and scores of BMW Group designers hard work (most notably Frank Stephenson) we would not enjoy the MINI we have today.

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Written By: Gabe

  • BBoy

    w00t!

  • Seth L

    Indeed, it should be Adrian van Hooydonk bashing!

    But seriously, BMW group deserves it.

  • rustyb
  • 05DSMCS

    With all the BMW designs of late, with the new 3 series barely qualifying as an exception, it surprising to me that they garner this award. However, they definitely earn it on guts alone with their recent style changes – which probably counts more in this contest than much else.

    It is one thing to accidentally come up with some really ugly designs (a la Hyundai), it’s a completely different thing to have a definite design signature specifically applied to all models – even if most don’t appreciate how they look.

  • Steve

    I think this is well deserved praise. Perhaps the never ending tidal wave of “Bangle=Bad” press is beginning to shift.

    Just take a look at this Autoweek article which begins with the almost penitent statement: “Maybe Chris Bangle was right…”.

    http://www.autoweek.com/article.cms?articleId=102740

  • Ralph

    The BMW Group may have won the award for outstanding desgin, but the GPS/Naviation system (I-Drive) won’t win any awards. It’s been critized by everyone and anyone. BMW still thinks it’s good. (So does Mercedes and Audi)

    The Japanesse (Lexus) have been given the nod as having the best Nav userfriendly system.

    Don’t get me wrong I like BMW and I don’t know if the award included things like NAV system desgin and ease of use.

  • GSP

    WhoopDeeDoo. To my eyes fugly is still fugly.

  • nrkist

    Saw a new 3-series the other day. Definitely wasn’t working for me. I’m sure BMW is selling a lot of cars, but…

    I think Bangle dragged BMW from a higher plane of distinctive functional elegance down into the seething mosh pit of flashy, disposable automotive design, where they are now battling it out with the Asian and American marques they had transcended for so many decades. The equity is rapidly bleeding out of the BMW brand. Hope someone can apply a tourniquet before it flat lines.

  • Steve

    …The equity is rapidly bleeding out of the BMW brand. Hope someone can apply a tourniquet before it flat lines…

    Nrkist, while I’m sure some would agree with your overall sentiment, I have to take issue with your statement regarding the bleeding of equity. The numbers simply don’t agree with you. In fact, they say the opposite.

    First half of 2005 the most successful in BMW Group’s History…

    In terms of sales, the first half of 2005 (a point at which all of Chris Bangle’s designs had entered the market) was the most successful in the BMW Group’s history. In addition, June of this year was the single best month in the company’s history as deliveries were up 13.5% compared to the previous year.

  • nrkist

    Steve – good point but, as I said, “I’m sure they are selling a lot of cars, but…”

    I honestly don’t think that sales numbers are the right metric here. You move toward the middle of the market in terms of design or price, you will sell more cars. That doesn’t mean you are not simultaneously eroding the long-term value of your brand.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    You move toward the middle of the market in terms of design or price, you will sell more cars. That doesn’t mean you are not simultaneously eroding the long-term value of your brand.

    Actually I think the exact opposite happened here. BMW made a conscious effort to move their design language forward and into territory that might make some of the more conservative or less progressive buyers a bit hesitant. I believe that, to a certain extent, this was a very calculated move for the brand and it’s audience. They paved the way for the BMW brand to be more bold and forward thinking in the years to come with an audience that prizes those attributes.

    If you look at BMW’s automotive design and corporate culture in the 90′s you’ll see that the company embodied the very definition of “staid“. Not that they didn’t make fine cars that performed at a high level. They just did so in a package and with an attitude of a conservative nature. One that didn’t rock the boat with older BMW owners and stayed the course with the same sausage, three different lengths approach that is still used by a number of high-end automakers.

    So in a sense you can think of the design shift as a way to refine the brand and in turn, refine the audience and potential customer base now and for years to come. The sales will always be there for a company that makes products like BMW’s. However the sales brought about by this change will move the company towards a more progressive individual that will in turn help steer the brand in the years ahead.

    Of course this approach is in stark contrast to the BMW Group’s execution of MINI brand design

  • http://techblot.blogspot.com Nick

    I live right near BMW’s DesignWorks/USA.

    Its awesome!

  • nrkist
    Actually I think the exact opposite happened here. BMW made a conscious effort to move their design language forward and into territory that might make some of the more conservative or less progressive buyers a bit hesitant.

    This is all totally subjective, of course. (It’s design!) What you see as “forward”, “bold” and “progressive” I see as just the opposite. I think these new BMW designs are much more targeted toward the middle of the market than with any forward-looking, design-savvy segment of avant garde buyers. They share the gratuitously overworked sheet metal that has always blurred differences among the multitude of offerings from design-weak auto makers. Just my opinion, of course.

  • F.R Walter

    I like the new 3. It has an aggressive and nimble look. The biggest thing that BMW neads to be carefull of is looking like a Pontiac. (last year’s 5)

  • nrkist

    The biggest thing that BMW neads to be carefull of is looking like a Pontiac. (last year’s 5)

    My point, exactly.

  • stuart

    Interestingly (or maybe not), a lot of the stuff about to be launched or on the drawing board at ‘other’ manufacturers appears to be following the Bangle route, the ‘high slab trunk lid’ for example. Maybe he was right after all. I-drive seems to be happening in a different form on some cars too, Is BMW staid and boring?, or is it just leading the way ?. New lighting functions and HUD technolgy are certain to win favour when users adapt even though now we can’t see why we need it.

  • http://www.motoringphotography.com David Bunting

    BMW is definitely pushing design in a new direction. At least for me, it’s generally working (most successfully on the 3,5, and z4).

    The result of which is that, to me, even the newest Audis and Mercedes appear to be dated and stale (the CLS being an exception).

  • http://users.adelphia.net/~rocketboy/index.html Rocketboy

    I firmly believe that history will be very kind to Chris Bangle. As polarizing as the designs he inspired are, I think his design era at BMW will be a highly regarded time.

  • petsounds

    I believe history will suss Bangle and his cohort’s 5-minute attention span out for what it is — lack of a concise vision, complete disregard for marquee styling cues, and eventually designs that will look extremely dated.

    On a related note, I was driving the other day in Los Angeles and saw a 325 I have not seen before, it could be a testing mule for the 2007? It didn’t look like the 2006. It had a snub nose, looking somewhat like the new Mustang. It looked pretty hideous, and seemed to have gotten rid of any design elements of BMW heritage, save perhaps the tail lights.

    I have no ill will towards Frank Stephenson — the MINI is a design masterpiece.

  • nrkist
    I believe history will suss Bangle and his cohort’s 5-minute attention span out for what it is — lack of a concise vision, complete disregard for marquee styling cues, and eventually designs that will look extremely dated.

    word 2 tha mutha

  • Guy Lloyd-Parker

    After browsing the web, there seems tobe a link between the Mini and the VWBeetle……I know this for a fact and if anyone can tell me the link between the above and the AudiTT and the BMWx5 then you have the link to me…..

    If Frank Srephenson, Freeman Thomas and Adrian Van Hooydonk are looking in then this may interest them,,,,,,If anyone could also link all the above to a mixed-race American, around New York way with the name Andrew, slightly camp, within the design field…..I would love to hear what his surname might be…….I’ll reveil all after I hear his name!

    plonker2@go4.it

  • mdbx

    i dont know if this is the right place but i’m wondering if someone can help me. i have some sports car designs that i would like to show to motoring companies especially BMW, mercedes benz, etc. (preferably bmw ) how does one go around that


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