Talk:Automotive design

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Design challenges[edit]

This article seems to be focused on styling, but utility features need to be elaborated in terms of design, if functionality is to be handled in terms of engineering. Not only automobiles but also other eqipment will see more and more blurring of the borderlines of varied scientific disciplines.Chmyr (talk) 19:40, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

There already is a separate article on Automotive engineering, which includes design. I would prefer that this article should be retitled automotive styling. Unfortunately the clueless masses are under the delusion that the stylist is significantly involved in the design engineering of a car. Greg Locock (talk) 09:22, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Merging article with Automobile design[edit]

I disagree that the articles should be merged. Automobile design is a sub-category of Automotive design as it is the design of a type of road vehicle. I have clarified the definition of Automotive design throughout the article. Automotive design should be a subcategory of Category:Road transport.

I do agree that sections of it could be merged.

The link to the article exterior design is dubious. I feel that this article should be included as a section in Automotive design.

Lihourj 10:32, 13 January 2006 (UTC)


I also disagree that they should be merged... Automobile design tends to be about designing cars...Automotive design is about designing anything that moves! ie an Automotive designer may design a motorbike or a flying saucer. Of course both words actually mean the same thing but it is more a question of how it is interpreted by industry. --Zed1 11:45, 21 January 2006 (UTC)


definition of automotive[edit]

Hi Zed1

There seems to be slightly differing definitions of automotive depending on what dictionary you use.

The American Heritage and Merriam Webster both have a wide definition like self-propelling vehicle. Which seems to be where you are coming from.

Oxford English Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary and MSN Encarta all narrow the above down to relating to motor vehicles or more specifically road vehicles. Which is where I was coming from.

These differences are not a personal view for either of us but merely which English dictionary we happen to use. So we are stuck with a quandary about which one is most effective for Wikipedia.

Could I suggest that your definition be better disambiguated (if that is a word) to be called transport design or vehicle design (like some of the course titles in links you added). This could be a category which could include a link to Naval architecture, Automobile design, Aeronautics (or a new article specifically relating to aircraft design). It could also have a link from the Portal:Transport. I feel this would be good for Wikipedia. Is this agreeable to you? Or perhaps you may have a better idea. Regards --Lihourj 15:18, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

PS. I know what you mean about it being more a question of how it is interpreted by industry. Aside from the dictionary definitions I am speaking as someone who works in the automotive industry :-)

Hi Lihourj

You are right of course, transportation design would be better. I started the automotive article because I was interested in the use of the word ( I also spent most of my life working as an automotive designer and trained as an automotive designer). However only a small percentage of that time was spent working on cars, the rest was on motorcyles, trucks, buses, helicopters etc. I was interested in the word auto-motive because it can be broken down into self-motivated, which then has more to do with art and cutting edge design...are you still with me??? Anyway as a new Wikipedian I had to write something:) Maybe 'automotive design' belongs in a dictionary rather than an encyclopeada??--Zed1 12:04, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi Zed1

Having done some research on transportation in Wikipedia I have created a Category:Vehicle design that is a sub-category of Category:Transportation. This is a category that covers vehicle design in it's truest sense ie. the profession of creating a means of transportation. I'm sure you have plenty of ideas for pitching into this category. --Lihourj 16:43, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


I'm an automotive designer (was 12 years with General Motors Design, working in 5 countries) and founder&editor of the industry magazine Car Design News. I would suggest Transportation Design as a top-level category (covering cars, trains, boats, planes etc), with Automotive Design as a subcategory of that. (Automobile Design is an American term, otherwise expressed as Automotive Design internationally in countries that don't commonly refer to cars as 'automobiles'). The international automotive design industry refers mainly to automotive designers, vehicle designers or car designers, and possibly automobile designers in the U.S.

Schools offering courses in car design tend to use a range of course titles including Transportation Design, Vehicle Design, Car Design, Automotive Design. All of these are specialisations of Industrial Design. A manufacturer who is hiring will often require 'a degree in Transportation Design or equivalent...', this being the most wide-ranging description.

I think Automotive Design and Automobile Design should be treated as synonymous. If you are looking for a description of the wider aspects of vehicle development beyond design, then a title such as Automotive Engineering would be more appropriate, rather than using two terms that are so similar.

Concept Cars is definitely a subset of Automotive Design (as would be 'Production Cars' if someone wanted to talk about the other major activity of car designers. The distinction between concept cars and production cars is becoming iuncreasingly blurred as more manufacturers present pre-production cars as 'teasers', under the name of 'concept car'. There are however a lot of non-industry-professional car enthusiasts who have a special interest purely in concept cars, which may justify some special treatment of this category, perhaps under an enthusiast rather than industry-related top category? --Brettpat 19:07, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Merge here of Automobile design[edit]

There is no clear distinction, and much overlap, between the two in the articles -De Facto 14:10, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Merge or not[edit]

I agree that there is a great similarity to the articles. However there is a clear distinction, with overlap, between the two topics. The distinction is that automotive design is for any road vehicle, automobile design is specifically for cars. So the overlap between the articles is car design.

Maybe the automobile design article needs to be edited to remove the overlap to only include unique considerations. The history is certainly unique to the article. --Lihourj 17:00, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Merge Automobile design with Concept cars - Why?[edit]

It seems that the focus of concept cars is on the vehicles themselves, while the Automotive design and automobile design are on the process and people involved. Perhaps there should me more on the "how to do it" in the design article. On the other hand, the concept cars page should also have a "category" listing of the various prototypes themselves. This would help those looking for specific cars -- and may not interested in how design is done. Therefore, I think these are two different approaches and should be kept separate, but linked as appropriate.

Automotive design and Automobile design are similar and thus could be combined. Right now they have different points of view - more process in the first vs. history in the second.

Just my $0.02 CZmarlin 17:52, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

  • I say no, concept cars are different because while they are definitely related to automotive design they are made to test or showcase new technologies. Automotive design is more about how and what goes into cars to make them more efficient/useful, concept cars are usually showy, decorative and impractical cars.--James086 03:26, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
  • They may have a lot of overlap but they are different topics and should not be merged. mcornelius 21:34, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I've removed the merge tags, consensus clearly being against it. I'd say myself that concept cars serve as teasers for future automobiles, future styles, and future technologies. Automotive design is more related to the styling, and can relate to both concepts and production cars. Much better as two discreet articles, as there's little overlap between the two. --DeLarge 11:54, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Automobile design[edit]

I was bold and merged automobile design here. The only unique information ended up being the section now called "History of automobile design in the US". I also cleaned up the rest of the text--there was a lot of repetition. Someone should probably go through and cull the external links--there are a lot of them now. I think off-hand that everything in the "Art & Design schools with degree courses in automotive design" can be removed. Tocharianne 03:28, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

  • It seems that the revision as of 17:29, 13 April 2007 by user:Ronz did not last very long! The section on Art & Design schools with degree courses in automotive design was removed per WP:NOT#LINK. I just noticed that this section was put back in today without an explanation. Anybody know why? I wanted to know before taking it out. Thanks - CZmarlin 19:50, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


The article says

"Another turning point came in 1935, when automotive engineers abruptly dropped aerodynamic research after discovering, among other problems, aerodynamics would tend to produce one single optimal exterior shape. This would be bad for unit sales, and for GM it would obviously work against their new strategy of market differentiation. Style and engineering went their separate ways, and all body shapes underwent cosmetic changes every year, whether or not the underlying automobile had changed."

My understanding was, Chrysler's abortive Airflow was rejected by customers because it was a) too radical compared to its contemporaries & b) damn ugly. (I can vouch for b) being true.) I've never heard the claim before, so a source would be appropriate. Also, I added mention of Buehrig & the 810/812; I'd add Darrin (the 1942 Packard convert), the Czech designer of the "aero Tatra" (Janowicz?) claimed to have influenced the Type 1's styling, & Ferdinand Porsche. Comment? Trekphiler 19:20 & 19:26, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Links to schools[edit]

Wiki is not a list of links. Can anyone justify this list of links to schools, it seems rather heavily biased, and includes some decidedly second-rate entries. I'll remove it in a week if there is no justification given. Greglocock 01:44, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I just did some minor editing on the list and then popped in here and noticed that the section was under discussion and at risk. I think it is a valid list. As a profession with just a handful of study opportunities worldwide a short comprehensive list is very useful. If there were only 10 universities in the world where you could study medicine then it would be reasonable to list them in the Wikipedia article on medicine. The list should stay if for no other reason than it helps people identify who is a professional car designer with a degree from a recognised school, and helps interested teenagers find out where they need to study to become one. Dino246 07:20, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Car Color Popularity (proposed article merger)[edit]

Car Color Popularity has nothing to do with Automotive Design. It is about marketing and consumer choices. Car designers don't choose which colors people (or dealers) buy. Dino246 17:21, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to delete the article merge proposal. Does anyone object? Dino246 10:07, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Harley Earl as inventor of automotive design profession[edit]

An unregistered user is repeatedly adding commentary that Harley Earl invented the automotive design profession. He is using as his reference material, describing it as the "Official Auto Design History website".[1] is (and I quote from its search engine metadata): "The Official Harley Earl Website fully sponsored by the Earl Family Archives. Why compromise, find out the truth." This is in no way shape or form an independent source that can be trusted to prove that Harley Earl invented automotive design in 1927. It is quite frankly a ridiculous claim, implying that Hispano Suiza, Alfa-Romeo, Mercedes-Benz and numerous other beautifully styled vehicles from the early 20th century were somehow not designed by anyone. Dino246 18:17, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Yup. Greglocock 01:37, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

I came, I didn't see, I ask[edit]

I came to "Automotive design" because I wanted to find out more about when fenders (wings) were generally integrated into the body to form the "envelope style" that seems to be pioneered by the Hanomag 2-10 PS "Kommissbrot".

I was disappointed to find none of that here, nor to find articles on "History of automotive design", "Automotive styling", or "Automobile styling" that could assist me.

Are there any plans to expand this article?

Respectfully, SamBlob (talk) 22:49, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Please see article about Ponton (automobile) that describes some of the history of this specific type of design evolution, as well as Pontoon fenders. There are many aspects of automobile design history. Perhaps that is the reason to have separate articles. One could not cover all the topics! Another potential source of information are the individual designers, For example, BMW's "Bangle butt" is described in Chris Bangle, the timeless designs of Richard A. Teague, the tailfins of Virgil Exner, and many others listed under the category: American automobile designers. I hope this helps! — CZmarlin (talk) 00:51, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps one article should not cover all the topics but there should be some structure to it. There should be a main overview of the history or evolution of automotive design somewhere where the main elements are mentioned and the details would come from looking at the articles on those main elements. There's nothing here like that.
Thank you for the direction to "Ponton", though. I had thought that the English term for the integrated fender look was "envelope styling", but I didn't see that anywhere. Respectfully, SamBlob (talk) 01:38, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Styling or Design?[edit]

This article primarily concerns itself with the aesthetics of automobiles. Automotive styling is a more accurate definition, since styling is to do with the aesthetics of an object. Design can be either looks or function and so is ambiguous. In many sources of information today, it is impossible without further enquirey to deduce whether the 'designer' of an automobile is the engineer or the stylist. In engineering, design refers only to the functional aspects of an object which arise from the physics of function and styling is that which is not essential to function. This article and all other instances should be remedied to remove this ambiguity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

The people who "style" cars are designers by profession. You are confusing designing with design engineering. Look at the names of every vehicle design course in the world. Not a single one offers a degree in "car styling".Dino246 (talk) 04:52, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
And yet those people work for a group called Styling, in a Styling Studio. They make clay models, and draw pretty pictures. Menawhile in Design we engineers design exciting things like sheet metal work and brakes and springs. Greglocock (talk) 00:23, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know which company you work for but in most car companies the people who do the work described in this article are called car designers, they work in a design studio under a Chief Designer who answers to the Director of Design. The only "styling studio" they ever enter is the one that does their hair. Are you going to tell Chris Bangle and Walter de'Silva that they are not designers? What about Giorgetto Giugiaro, Nuccio Bertone, Marcello Gandini or Pinin Farina? The subject of this article is Car Design, the people who do it are car designers. You are a design engineer, it's an equally valid but different job.Dino246 (talk) 13:25, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Bertone calls the place where he works in a styling studio. Giugaro has a styling centre and an engineering centre I've worked for Rover, Lotus and Ford. You? Greglocock (talk) 22:49, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Easy does it! Apparently General Motors (here) claims that "every car and truck produced by GM gets its start at our world-renowned Design Centers...", Chrysler (here) has a Chrysler Design Institute, "the design-related aspects of car development operations have been centralized" at Honda (here), Mercedes-Benz extends its design activities (here), etc. Individuals interested in careers in this field can go to the Car Design News website and find a list of degree granting institutions (here) and the Corporate Design Foundation is "a non-profit education and research organization, was founded on the belief that design can make a major contribution both to an individual's quality of life and to a corporation's success, and that both individual and organizational interests can be served through the effective use of the design disciplines: product design, architecture and communication design. (here) ..... CZmarlin (talk) 02:09, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


This is one of the CAs for your class. I see that you have framed a good article and I appreciate your work. However, I would suggest you to add a few more references and citations to this article. Thank you. Gunit31 (talk) 06:17, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

I've trimmed a dead link. I can't see much justification for the remaining 3. One seems to be a set of portfolios by different no-name stylists, one seems to be a cute looking but almost content-free set of photos of stuff somewhat connected with car design, and the other one has some relevant multimedia content. SHall we zap them all? here's the policy WP:EL Greglocock (talk) 02:19, 11 December 2012 (UTC)