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  #1  
Old 06-21-2004, 06:40 AM
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Bangle won't quit BMW

Despite rumors, Bangle won't quit BMW
Designer gladly takes the heat for futuristic styles
By Bradford Wernle
Automotive News / June 21, 2004

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Chris Bangle is proud of his BMW 1 series.


MUNICH, Germany -- In spite of the scathing criticisms Chris Bangle has endured, he is a calm, cool and collected guy who remains committed to forward-looking design.

Bangle, interviewed in the design theater at BMW's engineering center here, was proud to show off the new 1 series.

And contrary to rumors that he is on the way out, Bangle says he has no intention of leaving BMW. This is in spite of the fact that Adrian van Hooydonk of BMW's DesignworksUSA in Los Angeles has been named chief of BMW brand design.

Two jobs

Van Hooydonk's job is a new post, Bangle says. Bangle says he was handling two jobs: design for BMW brand and for BMW Group. With van Hooydonk on board, Bangle will be free to focus on his duties as chief of group design.

"What was missing until now was to get all the players on my team that could be responsible for their various marques," Bangle says.

"That's really what the news is - that the team is finally complete with the addition of Adrian van Hooydonk. Adrian will come into a role that did not exist before. There was not the role of just the BMW car design chief."

Bangle points out that automakers' designs - particularly BMW's - are not the work of one man. He says BMW's designs are the result of a corporate philosophy and a committed team effort.

He knows that not everyone likes BMW's designs, but he is gratified that some critics seem to be changing their minds.

The New York Times once said that many automotive enthusiasts view Bangle as an interloping artiste sullying the exalted BMW brand with his vision of hipness. But he shrugs off the relentless criticism and anti-Bangle Web sites.

"Nobody expects any of that stuff," Bangle says. "So you can only say, 'All right, I have a good, positive attitude. Remember what you're doing, and that you did it for a reason. You did it with a lot of people who support you, and you support them. They're looking to you for an example, to show some kind of fiber.' "

Bangle is comfortable taking the heat. He relishes his new job as group design chief overseeing BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini.

'Bangle butt'

Bangle became the flash point of criticism when the radical 7 series appeared in 2001. BMW AG CEO Helmut Panke recently said BMW could have done a better job of communicating the thinking that went into the new design. The 7 series was the first to feature the so-called "Bangle butt."

With its iDrive control system and its sculpted exterior, the 7 series was a major departure for the company, Bangle says. He denies the forthcoming 7 series face-lift is a response to industry criticism.

"The 7 series is no different than any other product," Bangle says. "When the right time comes in its product cycle, it will also get its treatment. When you do face-lifts, that gives you a chance to harmonize the whole process."

The newest member is the 1 series, an important car. With the 1 series, BMW is making its case that small cars can be premium cars.

"That car is a rocket," Bangle says. "That car is just tearing off. With a front engine and rear-drive proportions, that's what you do."

Throughout his turbulent tenure, Bangle has had the support of the BMW management board, starting with former leaders Bernd Pischetsrieder and Wolfgang Reitzle, who approved the current 7 series.

Bangle scoffs at the suggestion that BMW's design department used the departure of Pischetsrieder and Reitzle in 2000 as an excuse to sneak radical designs past a weakened board.

He praises Pischetsrieder's successor, Joachim Milberg, who recently was elected supervisory board chairman. Critics sometimes maligned Milberg as a weak replacement for Pischetsrieder.

Not so, Bangle says: "Professor Milberg oversaw the huge product expansion that we made once Rover was off on its own. He is not only a man of vision but a man with the fire to get it done. He said we're going to make cars and motorcycles and not talk politics."

Bangle prefers to talk about the future - not the past. At the moment, he's thinking a lot about China, where BMW just opened a $540 million plant.

Bangle says BMW must have a global vision. Thus the X5 SUV was designed because the U.S. consumers demanded it.

China's lure

Bangle is intrigued to see what kinds of vehicles Chinese customers will want. The lessons learned in America with the X5 will be carried to China, he says.

Bangle believes the future of design is evolving rapidly in the face of new technology, relentless competition, and ever more sophisticated consumers.

"We have to get this industry focused on how to make cars differently," Bangle says.

"I'm saying this not just so that designers can have new toys to play with. I'm saying this because the demands of our customers are so high and the demands of the marketplace are so intense."

Last edited by sp330i; 06-21-2004 at 06:45 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-21-2004, 11:27 AM
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Like the BMW's before the new designs ---- this article is the same sausage, different length.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2004, 10:33 AM
JRJOHNKC JRJOHNKC is offline
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It is what it is. Everyone has their opinions and critics. SO far I think all of the designs are sweet!

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  #4  
Old 06-22-2004, 11:59 AM
Will_325i Will_325i is offline
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I just saw the 6 series on the Autoweek TV show. I changed my mind, it's very desirable! The bangle-butt still bothers me but the rest is too sweet for it to be a deal breaker.

I also like how the interior trim for the center doesn't look like a horizontal slab (the way the 5er does). It has a neater, more vertical yet not-too-tall look.


PS. For someone with excess money, is there ANY way to replace the rear body panels w/ something nicer? Is there any way the aftermarket firms could design and build replacements that fit? Maybe it could so Bangle and company what the real potential of the designs is if only the rear weren't so ugly.
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  #5  
Old 06-22-2004, 06:25 PM
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Such LIES! I hate to sound like such a troll in response to Bangle's optimism, but the stuff he's saying just *has* to get called on.

He denies the forthcoming 7 series face-lift is a response to industry criticism.
It is.

"That car [the 1-series] is a rocket," Bangle says. "That car is just tearing off. With a front engine and rear-drive proportions, that's what you do."
0-60 in 11 seconds. That is not a rocket. That's a second-gen Prius.
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  #6  
Old 06-22-2004, 07:08 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snagger
Such LIES! I hate to sound like such a troll in response to Bangle's optimism, but the stuff he's saying just *has* to get called on.

He denies the forthcoming 7 series face-lift is a response to industry criticism.
It is.

"That car [the 1-series] is a rocket," Bangle says. "That car is just tearing off. With a front engine and rear-drive proportions, that's what you do."
0-60 in 11 seconds. That is not a rocket. That's a second-gen Prius.
Also in typical Banglish fashion, that quote makes no sense.
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2004, 07:26 PM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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And so the sissification of BMW continues.
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  #8  
Old 06-22-2004, 08:33 PM
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i think ppl just hate how arrogant this guy is. if he justs admit to the faults his criticism will die down.
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2004, 08:35 PM
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why would he leave when they're about to post their best earnings ever?

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  #10  
Old 06-22-2004, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snagger

He denies the forthcoming 7 series face-lift is a response to industry criticism.
It is.
wrong...BMW's typically get facelifts within 3-4 years of introduction
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2004, 06:39 AM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sp330i
Bangle says. "So you can only say, 'All right, I have a good, positive attitude. Remember what you're doing, and that you did it for a reason. You did it with a lot of people who support you, and you support them. They're looking to you for an example, to show some kind of fiber.' "
LOL! Bangle giving himself a pep talk. "Good Bangle... Good Bangle... My precious Bangle... PRECCCCIOUUUUUSSSSSS!!!! Nasty Filthy People. Bangle Hates People. "
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2004, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snagger
0-60 in 11 seconds. That is not a rocket. That's a second-gen Prius.
Where do you get that number???? I imagine the largest engine they put in the thing will be a rocket. Depending on overall weight, it might be sub-6 seconds.
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2004, 08:32 AM
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"Bangle prefers to talk about the future - not the past. At the moment, he's thinking a lot about China, where BMW just opened a $540 million plant."


Why would a Luxury brand designer be excited about designing for the Chinese market?

I don't get it.
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