Trend Spotting With CCS’s Paul Snyder

The automotive industry is evolving, with new design languages flourishing and new vehicle typologies emerging. While some design languages can often be attributed to a successful trend of the past and new vehicle typologies seen as a desire to break free from the array of existing vehicle types and appeal to new a demographic, a walk around the recent Detroit auto show had us contemplating the future of automotive design. Where is it all going?

To answer that question we tapped Paul Snyder, the College for Creative Studies‘ (CCS) new head of Transportation Design. Snyder is no stranger to the design industry, having worked for a number of both foreign and domestic brands during career that spans nearly three decades.

Infiniti Q60 concept (2015)

As we saw at the Detroit show, some of Chris Bangle’s ‘flame surfacing’ (a term coined by BMW’s marketing department to define the surface treatment) is still alive and well, having ‘surfaced’ once again on Infiniti’s Q60 concept.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe (2015)
Typologies are also following a trend that became commercially successful under Bangle’s tenure, the coupe crossover segment is welcoming a number of new contenders, with the most recent example coming to production in the form of the Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion
But Mercedes-Benz is also exploring previously uncharted territory, becoming the first car company to showcase its vision for autonomous mobility: the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept. Watch Snyder’s verdict on the new concept in the video. And if you haven’t yet, read our exterior and interior design stories on the car as well as this interview with Daimler head of design Gorden Wagener.

Ford GT, Detroit 2015
Finally, we headed over to Ford’s stand to take a look at the new GT. With decades of history the new GT design was always going to be an issue on contention. Some love it while others don’t think it looks ‘GT enough’. As Snyder states, in 2015 “designing something new is extremely difficult, and when you do it you run the risk of alienating some customers.” So what does he think of the new GT? Watch the video above to find out.


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