There is a very special place that Volks Wagen occupies in history; that of the most popular car ever, the Beetle. After that first successful model though, the company struggled to find an identity in the market. That issue was fixed with the acquisition of Audi - Auto Union in 1973, but at the price of a VW – Audi duality not only in structural, but also visual design that lasted decades. The most sold models like Polo and Golf created a character of their own, starting with the hijacked Audi 50, which became the first Polo. The Passat though, after being derived by the Audi 80 of the ‘70s, kept a striking similarity with models like Audi 80, 100 or A4/A6 through most of its existence, even after becoming a very popular car on its own.
Audi took a more aggressive and unique design approach in the past decade, with its models following the design philosophy of the RSQ prototype and R8 roadster. Subsequently, Volks Wagen relapsed the visual trend of its bigger models, the Passat and Pheaton, to the conservative looks of its new Golf and Polo lineages in 2011.
While minimalistic simplicity has brought names like Golf and Polo to great achievements and helped to push the Passat based on the Audi models in the past decades of growing economy, the neutral looks and close similarity with other in-house names like the Jetta, Tiguan, Golf or Polo, give today little room for VWs bigger brands to shine.
Today more than ever before, visual appeal is vitally important, facing an increasingly selective and diverse consumer. Proof of this is the serious efforts that many ‘outsider’ brands have devoted in improving their designs in the last 3-4 years, many of them turning their models from bigger brand look-alikes, to real design jewels,because in a commercial battle further heated by the economic crisis of these years, being good is not enough to sell well; you have to look good and visually set yourself apart from the competition, outside, as well as inside your own brand.
With all this in mind, I started a first (and very fast) attempt at an alternative look for the Passat, which resulted in the Passat S concept. As a continuation of that project, the Revision 2 of the “S” model tries to carve a distinctive visual character for the Passat name. I am taking that quick thought one step further, towards more refined geometry and also taking more into account actual hexagonal trends in vehicle design in general.
While trying to deviate from the smaller names, particular attention was given to the intrinsic character of the brand. I found some models embody that spirit more than others, so I got some particular inspirationin the Scirocco and Passat CC. The peculiar character found in these cars has a geometric analogy with aquatic predators like sharks, or even snakes. The final elements in the mix were other, less pronounced traits of VW cars, like the current lighting schemes, exhausts, mirrors…
As a final product, the Volks Wagen Passat S - Revision 2 embodies many ‘hidden’, general traits that the brand has accumulated in the recent years, fused with visible analogies to actual offers, to give the S-R2 adistinctive character among other family members.