BMW design boss Domagoj Dukec defends brand's styling approach – some cars must be more irrational –

If you haven’t heard, BMW recently unveiled the seventh-generation G70 7 Series, which will be available with a fully electric powertrain for the first time in the form of the i7. As the brand’s flagship sedan, the latest 7 Series is certainly loaded with technology and luxury, including a massive 31.3-inch 8K screen that folds down from the ceiling of the cabin.

However, it is the way the G70 looks that has attracted the most attention, with no shortage of polarising comments being put up on the internet. This isn’t the first time a new BMW created so much buzz, as we only have to look at the facelifted version of the previous G11/G12 7 Series, the current G22 4 Series, the iX, the i4, the new M3 and M4 to find contrasting opinions from the public.

This begs the question: why are some BMW models styled in such a manner? The answer comes from BMW Design head Domagoj Dukec, who explained BMW’s controversial approach to design in an interview with Car Magazine.

According to Dukec, the brand’s customers are split into two board camps, with two-thirds preferring their BMWs to have an elegant and harmonious aesthetic. As such, BMW plays it safe for volume sellers like the 3 Series and 5 Series, which have more modest grilles, for these customers.

On the other hand, Dukec said elegant and harmonious doesn’t appeal to the remaining one-third of customers because these individuals “want to make a statement.” This is why the 4 Series and the new 7 Series look the way they do.

“These individuals really want to polarise. In the past, the 4 Series was just a sporty 3 Series, but these customers are different – they want a more irrational car, and they’re willing to pay more for that emotional expression, and to really make a statement,” explained Dukec.

Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group Design’s senior vice president, added, “I don’t think good design has to polarise but I think the concept of beauty can be polarising. It comes back to the customer, and if one kind of customer is looking for a beautiful and timeless car, then of course we will design it.”

“But there are also customers looking for something like an X6, which is certainly polarising – you either hate it or you love it. That approach wouldn’t work for a 3 Series or a 5 Series because they sell in bigger volumes, so it’s clear you can’t come with one solution,” he continued.

BMW has defended its new design approach in the past, with Dukec previously quoted as saying, “it is not our goal to please everyone in the world. You can’t make a design which pleases everyone. But you have to please your customers.”

It goes without saying that paying customers are the ones that actually help a company earn money, and in 2021, BMW Group sold 2,213,795 vehicles, which is a 9.1% improvement from 2020. So, the numbers show that BMWs are still being bought, regardless of what we see on the internet.

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