If you ask Chris Bangle, considered as an influential design boss during his time at BMW, on the current state of automotive designing, he would say, "stuck!" During an interview with Automotive News Europe, Bangle remarked that the auto industry has been unable to look at itself objectively.
He told Automotive News Europe that car designers are stuck in a phase he called "mannerism," which refers to being too dependent on the same approaches and elements they have in the past. He remarked that that there is a real need for a change, but it is "just not happening."
According to Bangle, although many car designers talk about innovation, nobody is really doing it. He quipped that concept cars simply anticipating the next production model coming down the line cannot be considered as innovation.
He remarked that "at the end of the day this is what's preventing car design from moving into a new era."
Bangle left BMW in 2009 to set up his own independent design studio. Bangle admitted in the interview that he has been receiving offers to become design director at some carmakers, but has refused them every time.
He told Automotive News Europe that "Designing cars consumes you; it has a hold on your spirit which is incredibly powerful." He added that designing cars is not something that can be done part time, since it should be done with "all your heart and soul or you're going to get it wrong."
He added that while he loved working for BMW, "you have to know when to leave the party." [source: automotive news - sub. required]