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Volvo’s outside-the-box design garners award

Design direction of XC90, S90 and V90 nets Brand Design Language award

Published: June 10, 2016, 10:30 PM
Updated: June 18, 2016, 5:49 AM

Thomas Ingenlath

Long criticized and widely renowned for the boxy design of its vehicles, Volvo may silence its critics for a little while now that it has won the international Car Design Award for Brand Design Language for 2016.

“We are proud to receive this recognition for the design work we have done in the last years,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design, Volvo Car Group on accepting the award at a ceremony in Turin, Italy. “When we started work on the XC90 we knew that we had an opportunity to take the Volvo Cars brand in a new direction.”

Volvo XC90 - Paris

The new XC90 crossover utility vehicle was the first step in transforming the design perception of the brand, and has been followed up by a new S90 sedan and V90 wagon, all led by Ingenlath. All are built off the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which allows flexible manufacturing.

“The Volvo family contains many different characters – the strong and refined types, the elegant and sophisticated, the dynamic and the youthful,” explained Ingenlath. “What we have done with the brand design at Volvo is to provide room for each of these characters, these expressions, to shine through while still paying homage to our tremendous heritage. Each car we design is unmistakably a Volvo, but it also has a unique personality.”

The Brand Design Language Award is a new category (offered alongside the existing Production Car and Concept Car awards, meant to honour not just a single car but a design direction. Volvo beat out Jaguar, Renault and Kia for the award.

“The new edition of the Car Design Award introduces this new accolade assigned to the design team that has worked best on the consistency and transversality of a brand’s formal language over the entire product range,” explained Silvia Baruffaldi, editor of Auto&Design and President of the Car Design Award jury. “Volvo Design is therefore the very first, well deserved winner of this prize.”

The wild and the wonderful at the Geneva Motor Show - The Aston Martin DB11 replaces the DB9 (DB10 was exclusively created for the James Bond movie 'Spectre') and is an all-new design, built from scratch. That means a new aluminum body shell, suspension and interior. Under the hood of this supercar is a twin-scroll turbocharged 5.2-litre V-12 engine with 600 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. It's said to achieve a 0-100 km/h sprint in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 322 km/h.

Volvo also placed second in the Production Car voting, won by the Aston Martin DB11. The S90/V90 twins placed ahead of the exotic Bugatti Chiron. The Concept Car Award was bestowed upon the Mazda RX-Vision, placing ahead of the Alpine Vision Concept and Porsche’s Mission E Concept.

Organised by Auto&Design magazine, the Car design Award is voted on by an international jury representing ten automotive magazines from around the world: Silvia Baruffaldi (Auto&Design), Bernd Wieland (AutoBild/ AutoBild Klassik), Todd Lassa (Automobile Magazine), Christophe Bonnaud (Automobiles Classiques), Luca Ciferri (Automotive News Europe), Juan Carlos Payo Calderon (Autopista), Dhruv Behl (AutoX), Tetsuya Kato (Car Graphic), Doo-Hyun Cho (Motor Trend Korea), Zeca Chaves (Quatro Rodas) and Charlie Turner (Top Gear).