This is the first show at which ItalDesign Giugiaro has exhibited since the Carrozzeria became part of the Volkswagen group. It was slightly odd to see Giugiaro away from its traditional home on the other side of hall 2: it’s now relocated to a position opposite the Teutonic, bright-white environs of the VW stand.
Most designers we spoke to at the show felt that the two Volkswagen-badged designs felt slightly dated and ultimately offered little new. It might sound clichéd, but we couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed there wasn’t something more distinct or groundbreaking, especially given Giugiaro’s VW history with the first Golf not to mention its rich history of concept design.
The Tex’s overall form is reminiscent of some of the work ItalDesign Giugiaro has previously done for the Italian brands and it may have worked better as a Seat than a Volkswagen. The interior shows both a theme and detail design elements we’ve seen on previous Volkswagen pre-production concepts.
The Go! is in many ways the more intriguing and appealing piece of design. It appears to be based on the forthcoming VW Up! platform, and shows a somewhat different aesthetic direction to the one VW has been pursuing with the line to date. The high roofline combines with the dropped belt-line of the DLO (itself divided into two distinct sections by a running bar which carries the rear view camera) to evoke a graphic element reminiscent of some of the most famous Carrozzeria concept cars of the 1970s.
Combined with the glass roof this feature creates an interior ambience of incredible airiness. The seat design and light beige upholstery exaggerates this sensation and gives the interior of this VW-branded concept real southern European warmth.
While VW has only recently settled on a DRG that it is quickly applying across its entire range, these concepts illustrate a potential alternative future direction for the face of VW. It manages to still speak of the brand but is friendlier and less stark.
It’s easy to criticise many aspects of these designs, but at least they avoid the surface language and sharp shut-line intersection points that creates a ‘guess the VW group brand’ design appearance that afflicts the Seat and Skoda concepts seen nearby. As a counterpoint to VW’s main studios’ refined – often very strategic work – these concepts appear to illustrate the usefulness of having a separate, yet in-house consultancy, to provide a counter-point to work done in the primary design studios.
It’s just a shame that they lack the consistency and exquisite execution that has been a characteristic of many recent Volkswagen concepts, a sense exacerbated by the beautifully resolved Bulli, which glowers at these cars from across the walkway.