DETROIT — Former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle continued his comeback tour last week at the Automotive News World Congress, where he critiqued U.S. politics, expounded on theories of civilization and skewered modern car design as trite and unoriginal.
"There's a safe harbor where basically all the brands are," Bangle said. "That's why all the cars look the same."
Since leaving BMW in 2009, the designer largely steered clear of the automotive world, instead helming his consultancy, Chris Bangle Associates in Italy. It was his palpable frustration over current car design that led him to his latest automotive project. The REDS electric vehicle is a tall, boxy commuter car for future Chinese megacities.
A prototype concept was first shown in November at AutoMobility LA. REDS was created for Chinese heavy-truck and bus manufacturer China Hi-Tech Group and will be manufactured by newly formed company REDSPACE.
"It looks like a little kid's car," Bangle said. "We didn't have a brand to work around. I felt we had a client that finally understood."