AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Given the recent talk about Ford’s luxury division, namely an injection of cash, design independence and a raft of new models coming down the pike, the latest word on the street is that Lincoln plans to axe it’s trademark “waterfall” grille.
First seen on the MKR concept at the North American International Auto Show in 2007, the waterfall has become just about the only defining design feature of the brand’s current product lineup, (some might agree the full-width tailight treatment on some models also counts).
Given that Lincoln is one brand struggling to find its identity in a saturated luxury market (a combination of badge-engineered vehicles and others in search of market doesn’t help), frequent changes in design aren’t likely to prove beneficial if Ford wants the brand to embark on the road to sustained growth and success.
With that in mind let’s hope the brand’s new design team comes up with a grille design that really does stand out; a signature touch that not only endures but defines what Lincoln is all about. And if it happens to adorn American luxury vehicles we can actually be proud of, so much the better.
Harley Earl was a man ahead of his time. Way back in 1950, he became the first automotive designer to hire women. But it wasn’t an “equality in the workplace” kind of decision – Earl’s “Damsels of Design” were brought onboard for their design talents.
The reasoning behind his hiring strategy was simple. He believed that women possessed unique insight and excellent attention to detail. He knew these types of talents where indispensable when it came to designing interiors, suggesting colors and selecting fabrics.
The women of automotive design are in the spotlight once again. GM has recently honored these trail blazers, along with the women who are currently making a difference in the industry at the Museum of the City of New York. This new generation of female designers include Kimberly Wu at Honda, Kerrin Liang of Hyundai, Michelle Christensen at Acura and Christine Park of Cadillac. It also gave rise to discussions regarding role of women in auto design and why there’s still a shortage in the industry today.
“This issue about why there are so few women is an omnipresent matter,” said Imre Molnar, dean of the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. “The industry is changing slowly but significantly.”
So why is it such a challenge to tempt women into the industry? According to the experts, it’s because fewer women than men are into cars, so designing them isn’t that appealing. To back up that statement, of the 15 to 18 people who graduate from Center for Creative Studies’s transportation-design program each year, only two or three are women. You’ll find the same numbers at Art Center for Design in Pasadena, California, where one in 10 graduates is a woman.
The question is how is this issue overcome? “Arguably the best way to do it is to create a culture internally where women can do very well and thrive and prosper,” Molnar said. “That way it would feed on itself, and more women would be attracted to it.”