Klaus Bischoff In­ter­view

Automobile - - Design -

KLAUS BISCHOFF, head of Volk­swa­gen’s de­sign team, was hired as an in­te­rior de­signer in 1989. He has worked on nu­mer­ous mod­els since then, al­ways for the Volk­swa­gen brand, for which he be­came de­sign leader in Jan­uary 2007. “I have had many of­fers to go else­where,” he says, “but I love VW and like it here.” That’s un­usual— and ad­mirable—in the job-hop­ping world of cor­po­rate car de­sign.

We tend to see the

Jetta as pretty generic, with­out much iden­tity be­yond the badges on the nose and tail. You?

KB: No, it has a strong Volk­swa­gen iden­tity with out­stand­ing per­ceived qual­ity, like all our cars.

And with a new plat­form, new pro­por­tions, it is longer, lower, wider. All of our new­est cars make an ef­fort to join the grille and head­lamps to make a sin­gle shape, to pro­vide a face in the crowd, as with the Ar­teon.

Is there a rea­son for so many lines on the hood?

KB: We never do a line with­out a rea­son, and our lines are stronger and more dis­tinct than those of our com­peti­tors, with a tighter peak ra­dius. We stamp each panel five times, but oth­ers tend to use only four stamps max­i­mum.

We know of some com­pa­nies that hit each panel only twice, three times max­i­mum.

KB: Re­ally? No, no, never for us. We want truly pre­cise sur­faces on all our cars.

They must look good and last over time. Look at the lines on the hood. Some are par­al­lel, but there is a strong di­ag­o­nal that be­gins at the in­ner point of the head­lamp as­sem­bly and con­tin­ues up the A-pil­lar and over the length of the roof.

The in­te­rior is quite hand­some, with four sets of trans­verse lines and for­ward an­gles. Is that the stitch­ing theme for all mod­els?

KB: Not at all. There are dif­fer­ent pat­terns, stitch­ing, and trim ac­cord­ing to the level, in­clud­ing some large screens and some in­stru­ment clus­ters that put driv­ing direc­tions di­rectly in front of the driver.

There seems to have been a great deal of at­ten­tion paid to aero­dy­nam­ics. ...

KB: We did a great deal of work on the front end for aero­dy­nam­ics but also for pedes­trian safety. There are many con­di­tions that in­flu­ence the fi­nal shape. The drag co­ef­fi­cient is just 0.27, good for a sedan. AM

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