Private visit to the 2016 Paris Motor Show with our design chief Laurens Van den Acker--
A unique step for an automaker to take
Few, if any, carmakers would go as far as offering this kind of opportunity for web influencers to spend an hour and a half in the company of their design chief discussing the competition at a major motor show. This year’s blogger walk-around was not Renault’s first, because Mr van den Acker had invited a small panel of bloggers on a similar operation in 2012.
He’s fond of this kind of event, and personally appreciates the chance to talk with real car enthusiasts about what’s happening across the industry, and offer the insights only a truly expert eye can give. And there’s little doubt that our four bloggers (from TheAutomobilist, FrenchDriver, Boitier Rouge and Blog Esprit Design) appreciated what was a unique opportunity to hear plain talk from the executive who was voted 2016 Designer of the Year.
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“This looks like a fine car. The interior’s in tune with the exterior. The interior is just great: modern, dynamic, with quality materials. I’d say the exterior is a tiny bit less coherent, though I do like the bold and detail-rich front end. It’s got a convincing upmarket feel to it, which makes it a serious competitor for Kadjar, though it’s not quite as compact.”
Mercedes MayBach Vision
“This is my first look at the Maybach concept, and I’m most impressed. […] The design looks deceptively simple, because it plays deliberately on a sort of unreal fantasy effect, a little like a cartoon. But that means the designers were adventurous enough to go for this effect, with those highly exaggerated proportions. […] It’s very well done. I’m won over. Indeed, this car’s got all the ingredients it needs to win people over. And I mean it’s red, it’s a coupé; that’s a time-honoured recipe that never goes wrong.”
Alfa RomEo Giulia
“Alfa is one of those mythical brands that’s come up with some mythical cars. When you love cars, you love Alfa. All car designers have dreamed of designing an Alfa. I mean just look at the 33 Stradale: the proportions are absolutely perfect. It’s superb! And so tiny: I’m not even sure I’d fit in there myself.”
What’s Tesla doing?
“Tesla is a surprising outfit. They’ve taken some quite original design options here. Like those butterfly doors, which have a considerable impact on the car’s proportions. Personally, I find those proportions a little odd. The hatch looks like it doesn’t close properly, and there’s a kind of mismatch between the roof and the windows. Myself, I’d lower the roof by 10 cm. But then I reckon if the car’s built the way it is, those butterfly doors have got a lot to do with it.”
Renault TreZor, Laurens van den Acker’s motor show favourite (understandably enough)
“As in 2010 with DeZir, TreZor stands in the Love petal in our design daisy. But whereas DeZir was love at first sight, TreZor is a more mature form of love. It’s a spectacular electric GT that showcases our Formula E expertise along with the all the advanced technologies and connectivity capabilities that go together to make an autonomous car.
TreZor is elegantly styled, very French, highly sensuous, yet delightfully simple and uncluttered. It uses the same C-shape light signature that you see on the whole of the new Renault range.
There’s no real frontier between interior and exterior. TreZor opens like a jewellery box. You just slide in, just like with an old-style racing car.
The interior is where we’ll be seeing a full-scale revolution in the years to come, with the contrast between modern features, using extremely advanced technologies, and authenticity, with quality traditional materials like wood and copper. TreZor shows off the new new-generation Renault spirit. As we always have, we’ll be making cars people rave over: beautiful, sumptuous and straightforward. And we’ll be adding even more finesse, greater elegance, with design à la française and a wealth of easy-living technologies."