The next big things How hot rods it into the future
Jaguar design chief Ian Callum’s embracing technology… mostly
> IN 1972 nobody wanted cars, because of the oil crisis. People had written them off. It was a difficult time to go into car design. Politicians had decided that the motor car had a short future and we would all be using public transport. For an impressionable 18-year-old, this was quite depressing.
> I WANTED to style cars, but I wanted to know how they worked too. It’s important to me that designers do understand the machinery and not just what looks right. > TWENTY YEARS ago, having become established in the car design business, I came back to Coventry. I’ve come to enjoy the city and appreciate it. When I was here in 1972 I had long hair and Coventry was at that time a town of skinheads. But it was overall a good experience. It taught me a lot about life.
> CARS THEN weren’t as prolific as they are now. In 1972 the average household had less than one car. The changes now are something the car industry is more in control of. You have to set the agenda. You have to be a visionary and predict what’s going to happen in five, 10, 15, 20 years’ time. You won’t always be right, of course.
> THE PROCESS of autonomy is a given. At Jaguar Land Rover, we will be in the forefront of that. It will involve joint technology. Autonomy, urbanisation, how you purchase and use cars, and electrification – these are all huge factors.
> WHEN WILL that turning point be? In my opinion it will be sooner than a lot of people think. It’s inevitable. A lot of that momentum will come from the car industry. But the real transformation will come when local and national governments sort the infrastructure.
> I THINK there will still be a place for V8s. Because there will be so few of them, the fuel they burn will be a drop in the ocean. I only do nd 200-300 miles a year in my V8 hot rod, for instance. My conscience has been pricked all the time over the last 20-30 years. You have to find a balance.
> I HAVE a lot of contact with students and young designers, although not as much as I’d like, and there will be more with this visiting professorship [just awarded by Coventry University]. Their job is to make things look nice and solve problems.
> HOW DO you create a seamless journey, still holding on to the things Jaguar owners find important; how do you stay part of the Jaguar club? It has to appeal to their ego. You choose to drive a Jaguar. There will still be people who want to.
> IN ANY given journey, part might be in a beautiful limo, part in a train, part in a driverless pod. We need to figure out Jaguar’s role in that.
Red-blooded Jags like the XE SV Project 8 may not be the way ahead, but there should be room for them