German Design Council - Automotive Brand Contest 2012

For the last sixty years the German Design Council’s involvement in the world of design has helped and encouraged the development of up-and-coming designers, concepts and products as well as representing German design.

Amongst the many competitions and exhibitions hosted by the Council is the prestigious Automotive Brand Contest, which focuses the public’s attention on the importance of brand – something we all react to and interact with whether we like it or not.  Singling out some of the more innovative and impressive creations from over 350 entries this year, here our some of our favorites from the ‘Best of the Best’.

Innovation of the Year – BMW i8 Concept

Following on from Mario Majdandzic’s EfficientDynamcis Concept, lead exterior designer Richard Kim instilled an incredible athleticism into the plug-in hybrid i8 concept, and on first acquaintance it is not immediately recognizable as a BMW.  Look closer, however, and you’ll be met with the familiar kidney grille and angel-eyes glaring out from underneath low-slung bonnet. This is BMW, just not as we know it.

Soon to go on sale in Spyder form, the i8 and i3 concepts will undoubtedly do untold good to BMW’s brand image, and so it’s no surprise that the car gains yet another award here.

Concepts – Mercedes Concept Style Coupé

A preview for the CLA due next year, the CSC takes Mercedes’ newfound design language a step further.  Mercedes describe the muscular exterior as an “interplay between concave and convex surfaces”, and the CSC’s front graphic is purposeful in a way we haven’t seen from the Stuttgart-based outfit since 2010′s F800 Concept.

The CSC features headlights that glow red when in standby mode and 21-inch turbine wheels that are unlikely to make the production model, and will allegedly start at around (don’t fall off your chair) £20,000.  

Leaving many speechless at it’s unveiling at the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year, Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche has promised that the production version will “do justice” to the concept. We’ll hold you to that, Dieter.

Exterior – VW up!

We tested Volkswagen’s ingenious up! earlier this year and it thoroughly deserves this particular award.

Exterior design Marco Pavone has said that he wanted to create something that was easily recognizable from afar – not easy with a pint-sized product like the up!, but it’s fair to say that Pavone’s aim has been realized. The up! has the same brand identity as a Golf, just a little smaller. And that’s a big achievement.

Interior – Kia Cee’d (Special mention)

One of two awards for Kia’s new family hatchback. Since Peter Schreyer’s move from VAG to Kia in 2006, the brand has gone from strength to strength, both aesthetically and mechanically.

Other Winners in the ‘Concept’ category included:

Smart ForVision

Mercedes-Benz F125

Smart For-Us

Kia GT

Hyundai Ioniq

Mazda Takeri

Infiniti Emerg-e

Nissan TeRRA


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