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Speaking at Changan’s Southeast Asia design conference, new VP of design Klaus Zyciora described how the brand is approaching design and how Chinese brands are playing a greater role full stop
It will come as no surprise to see a Chinese brand moving quickly these days, and VP of design Klaus Zyciora has already fronted the stage to share the future vision for Changan design. He brings a wealth of experience from his time at Volkswagen and, speaking at the Southeast Asia design conference in Bangkok, described the brand’s “24-hour, non-stop design mode.”
This is more than a headline statement; the evidence can be seen in the metal. Two new vehicles were launched at the show, the Deepal SL03 (L07) and S7 (S07), while the Avatr 11 and 12 models got their Thai debut. Add to that the S7 SUV, A07 sedan and VIIA concept, and it’s clear that the various design teams are keeping busy.
Indeed, the brand emphasises the importance of continuous iteration and innovation, looking back at its design history to help build the brand while “continuously breaking the boundaries.” Pushing forward while staying true to its roots, if you will.
But it is not a case of speed over substance. Zyciora pointed to the fact that, perhaps now more than ever, Chinese brands are leaning on their unique heritage to create designs that stand out from the crowd.
“The Chinese auto brands have been growing their chinese deisgn capacilities with cultural confidence,” he explained, “and as a leading Chinese auto brand, Changan has discovered that the Chinese automakers are starting to be regosnised by global consumers – especially the younger generations – for their avant-garde, bold and stylish design.”
Through design, we create products users truly desire
Changan’s design direction explicitly highlights the importance of “good-looking forms” to create designs that resonate with consumers. At the same time, these are products and not just objects of desire and user-centric design remains a key pillar not only in China but in its various global markets.
All this certainly seems to be paying off, with awards coming from around the world: the Red Dot award for Product Design in Germany; the China Design Patent Gold Award; and Best Design at the 16th Los Mejores Awards in Chile. “Through design, we understand user needs, address their pain points, and create products they truly desire,” concludes Zyciora.
The conference was held in Bangkok for good reason as it marked the official opening of the brand’s Southeast Asia division, with three local companies and operations teams also being established. What’s more, construction of a new factory in Thailand is underway, and there are plans to expand further into Southeast Asia via the Deepal, Avatr and Nevo brands. Looking further out, Changan is expanding into the US and Mexico alongside the existing push into Europe.
Through a metaphor that feels fitting for how Changan design has grown – continuous, organic and with purpose – the brand describes its strategy as the “vast ocean” approach, through which different markets (rivers) flow from around the world and back into the ocean (Changan’s central design hub). The ultimate aim is “to empower the future with design, and help all rivers enter the ocean.”
Learn more about the Changan Automobile Design Center Europe here.