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The auto industry's inability to look at itself objectively is stifling progress, says Chris Bangle, the influential BMW design guru who left in 2009 to establish his own independent design studio.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe Bangle said car designers are stuck in a phase he terms "mannerism," relying on much the same approaches and elements that they have in the past.
"There is a real need for a change and that's just not happening," he said.
In Bangle's opinion, many designers talk about innovation, but nobody is really doing it.
"Even concept cars today simply anticipate the next production model coming down the line. Is this innovation? No. And at the end of the day this is what's preventing car design from moving into a new era," Bangle said.
He said he has offers to become design director at some automakers, but has turned them down every time.
"Designing cars consumes you; it has a hold on your spirit which is incredibly powerful," he said. "It's not something you can do part time, you have do it with all your heart and soul or you're going to get it wrong."
While he loved working for BMW, he said "you have to know when to leave the party."
For the full interview, check out the September edition of Automotive News Europe's monthly e-magazine, which can be downloaded from www.autonewseurope.com starting on Monday, Sept. 2.