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Although I believe the Audi A3 is actually the first car from Audi that signifies the beginning of the downfall of sexy design from my favorite German auto manufacturer… I still love this car and especially love this commercial. Let me say it again… Bode Miller + Out of Control + Audi quattro = Genius.
For those of you new to my idealistic and very passionate representation of brands and technology here at hydle.com – I’ve been a major fan of Audi since the mid 1990s, bought my first Audi in 2003 (a 1997 A4 that now has 234,000 miles + counting) and picked up a 2013 S4 supercharged quattro just this past year. The original Audi quattro changed the automotive world. Similar to Apple releasing the macintosh in 1984… what Audi was doing in 1984 also took hold as the single most important development in the auto industry that would change my life down the road.
No pun intended… haha – It is hard to explain the difference of All Wheel Drive vs. 4 Wheel Drive vs. Audi quattro. I would gladly show you if you want to take a ride to the hills in our next snowstorm, but if you must read – start here. Or if you want to get your motion picture view on – go here.
Now, back to the beginning of the design downfall. How long does it take for a brand to lose it’s leadership in design? Well, let’s look at how long it takes to “build good design”, also known as “brand” an idea. It took an entire decade to build quattro and two decades to design and build the image of Audi around quattro. It can take decades to build something great… and design something that ultimately takes hold and is respected as a product leader, but in the end… I would have to say you can lose it much faster then it takes to build it.
Audi lost one of their key designers, Peter Schreyer to KIA back in 2006 and it is starting to take effect now. Peter Schreyer, who is now the President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai and Kia Motors was brought into that company with a completely blank design slate… and look what he has done. I won’t be the first one to admit that I’ve double checked a few KIA models in the last two years, but what he is doing at KIA is working… and what Audi is doing is starting to slide. It may not be a big slide, and I certainly hope Audi hasn’t quite reached it’s peak in design, but remember… you lose it a lot faster than you build it. I hope Apple, my other lifelong power brand realizes this.
Ultimately Audi could lose all their design luster… and I would still drive one simply because there is zero comparison for quattro and there probably never will be. Obviously Audi is part of a larger Volkswagen Automotive Group, but who drives those? Volkswagen’s are for girls. Škoda‘s are for Russians… and SEAT‘s… ummm, no – don’t even get me started. SEAT’s are for chinese mexicans… but that is what they said about KIA’s before Peter Schreyer started design cars for them.
Perhaps I could graduate to a Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini or Porsche in the future years… but I highly doubt I will ever find the passion of owning and talking positively about these brands. KIA on the other hand … hmmmmm?
[Automotive World Interview with Peter Schreyer]
[Peter Schreyer ‘s Passion for Design Video] <— 4,136