For those who’ve been wherever close to social media up to now yr, you’ll know that BMW’s design has weathered a good outdated storm. Within the phrases of Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice-president of group design on the Bavarian agency, “it may be brutal”.

However if you happen to suppose that’s a touch that van Hooydonk and head of BMW design Domagoj Dukec are about to vary their methods, suppose once more. The kidney grille is right here to remain.

The reasoning is straightforward: van Hooydonk and Dukec need BMW to face out, so that they’re completely satisfied to make it the distinguishing function. They rationalise it by stating that it’s a part of BMW’s previous, so it would stay a part of the long run.

Listening to each males speak about all features of BMW’s design, it’s clear that the ‘separator’ reasoning is the philosophy behind what they’re doing. Dukec justifies it with the quantity of noise they’ve created: “If you wish to create one thing that stands out, it have to be distinguished and it needs to be totally different. If you wish to attain some prospects, it’s important to stand out. It’s not our objective to please everybody on the planet, however it’s important to please your prospects.”

This, then, is on the coronary heart of what van Hooydonk and Dukec try to do – promote automobiles. “All of it comes again to the client,” is how Dukec places it. It’s troublesome to argue with the numbers as, Covid-aside, 2020 was a superb yr for BMW. The group’s gross sales recovered later within the yr, with the 686,069 autos offered within the remaining quarter marking a 3.2% enhance on the identical interval in 2019.

Not that it’s been straightforward or with out danger. It’s the age-old compromise of acknowledging the previous but in addition shifting an organization ahead, a job that’s not straightforward with a again catalogue so long as BMW’s. As van Hooydonk is all too conscious of. “There may be some friction when your outdated product is so profitable, and that’s what we’re seeing,” he says. “In case your market success isn’t there, then it’s important to change. That’s a really irritating state of affairs as an organization. It’s higher to have this sort of stress [the controversy], although it might be even higher to have market success and common reward for the modifications. However by some means that’s not often the case.”

What’s clear is that each males really feel an enormous quantity of duty in direction of BMW. Each are properly conscious of the historical past of the model – certainly, they’ve justified their present technique by wanting again to the Sixties, when BMW pioneered a sports activities automobile that got here with a wholesome dose of limousine. Automobiles just like the 1500, which set the usual for the corporate for years to come back, proper as much as right now.

Lately, the fragmentation of what prospects need (and Dukec is obvious on this: he’s aiming for purchasers to need his automobiles, not want them) implies that van Hooydonk and Dukec have recognized two teams they need to attraction to. They’ve referred to as them the elegant creators and the expressive performers. Whereas it’s tempting to dismiss this as advertising and marketing hyperbole, it does make sense once you view it by way of the product. The creators have a tendency to take a seat within the odd-numbered automobiles – the standard 3, 5 and seven Sequence – whereas the performers are the even-numbered patrons, with automobiles just like the M4 or X6.