Our annual Car Design Night has just happened in Geneva, and at the glittering (or at least impressively sparkly) club we announced the winner of our prestigious Car Design Awards – featuring 2017’s finest concept and production cars.
Uniquely, our awards are voted for by a hand-picked panel of 18 leading designers from around the world, so truly represent the experts’ opinions and carry huge credibility within the industry.
We also launched the fifth edition of our annual Car Design Yearbook. The annual hardback book – now highly collectible, and jealously fought over by senior designers – features the awards, judges and lifetime achievement candidate in great depth and also rounds up trends, expert comment and future predictions from the international car design community.
Concept Car of the Year was awarded to the sophisticated Mazda Vision Coupe – a show-stopping concept unveiled at the Tokyo motor show. Mazda spent two years perfecting its Vision Coupe as part of a five-year journey evolving its Kodo ‘soul of motion’ design philosophy. The resulting four-door four-seater is nothing short of gorgeous; a triumphant exercise in refinement with its classic long hood/rearward cabin proportions and elegant, flowing silhouette. Kevin Rice and Yasushi Nakamuta collected the award. Kevin Rice remarked: “This award is from designers to designers and that makes this award very special in the industry. And thank you to our colleagues from our studios around the world who helped to make this possible.”
Third place this year went to the Kia Proceed Concept, with the Honda Urban EV picking up second.
Production Car of the Year was won by the Range Rover Velar; launched at London’s Design Museum in March 2017. Though a radical departure for Land Rover in both design and engineering terms, the Range Rover Velar is arguably one of the most holistic and complete pieces of automotive design seen in decades and has disproved the idea that an SUV can’t be beautiful. Land Rover's Richard Woolley collected the award on behalf of the design team, and commented: “This is a very special award to us coming from a team of very erudite and design literate judges, this award is very special to us. Thank you.”
Third was awarded to the Alpine A110, with the Volvo XC40 coming in second.
Our Lifetime Achievement Award was this year awarded to Wayne Cherry, who, during the course of his career worked on more than 100 production and 90 concept vehicles. Cherry started his career with GM in 1962, moved to Europe to work at Vauxhall and Opel, working on seminal cars like the SRV and XVR, the droop-snoot HP Firenza, the Opel Corsa, Tigra and Calibra, and then moved back to the US to create the Cadillac Art and Science design language. Cherry was interviewed by Car Design News at the GM Tech Center, a fitting location for such an icon of automotive design. There’s a very touching and inspiring video of him accepting his award here.
This year’s judges were: Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan Motor Co., Mitja Borkert, Lamborghini, Pratap Bose, Tata Motors, John Cafaro, General Motors, Samuel Chuffart, Icona, Luc Donckerwolke, Genesis, Antoine Génin, Groupe Renault, SangYup Lee, Hyundai, Maximilian Missoni, Volvo, Marek Reichman, Aston Martin Vantage, Tim Shih, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, Paul Snyder, College for Creative Studies, Kris Tomasson, Nio, Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG, David Wilkie, CNH Industrial, Andreas Wlasak, Faurecia, Fan Zhang, GAC and Chen Zheng, Chang An Automobile.
The evening was made possible by premier partner Magna, plus a host of other industry partners including Dinamica, Antolin, Harman, Icona, Lacks, Lear, Fast Design, Optic Group and X-Rite Pantone, and was held in conjunction with the Geneva International Motor Show, so our thanks to all of them for their help, hospitality and hard work.