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Videos: Mazda Shinari and Kodo-styled Mazda3 get showcased

Mazda definitely impressed a lot of people last week when it showcased its newest concept, the Shinari. Set to pave the way for a new, more aggressive and angular design language, Kodo, the concept is set to be displayed at the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month.

Until then though, the Japanese company decided to present the Mazda Shinari in a new video, showcasing a virtual concept driving around city streets and other locations.

While seeing the Shinari in motion is quite a treat, another video has also been revealed, showcasing how the new Kodo design language might look on a compact hatchback like the Mazda3 or Mazda2. Needless to say, the result is very attractive.

Hit the jump to see the two videos revealed by Mazda.

Mazda Shinari concept debuts the new Kodo design language

Mazda definitely sparked a lot of reactions when its head designer, Laurens van den Acker, revealed the Nagare design language, which, so far, manifested in the very ‘happy’ grilles of the Mazda3 or Mazda6, and on concepts like the Furai, the Kazamai or the Kiyora.

Now, seeing as how van den Acker is no more, being replaced with Ikuo Maeda, a new design language was needed as an evolution of the love it or hate it Nagare.

Enter the new Mazda Shinari concept, which presents the Kodo (soul of motion, in translation) language. The liens are more aggressive, while the metallic accents are a bit more overstated.

Expect to see cues from the Shinari in all of the future models coming from the Japanese company, including, possibly, the revived Mazda RX-7. The concept will be showcased at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

What do you think about the Shinari and the Kodo language? Is Mazda on the right track? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.


Volkswagen officially owns 90.1% of Italdesign Giugiaro

Volkswagen officially owns 90.1% of Italdesign Giugiaro

Even though the announcement was made a few months ago, Volkswagen has now officially bought a majority stake in Italian design company Italdesign Giugiaro.

The German company now holds, through Lamborghini, a subsidiary of Audi, a 90.1 percent stake in the Italian company, with the remaining shares being held by the Giugiaro family.

Giorgetto Giugiaro, the founder of the Italian design and development house will remain as chairman, while his son, Fabrizio, will continue to act as vice president.

IDG has had a long time partnership with Volkswagen, with the company being responsible for the first generation Golf as well as models like the Passat Scirocco. As of yet though, it is unclear if the new ownership will allow the company to work with other automakers.


Volkswagen says the next generation Beetle will boast ‘radical design’

Volkswagen is starting to slowly hype up its next generation Beetle model, and has revealed that the new car will boast a ‘radical design’.

According to Autocar, the next generation Volkswagen Beetle, set to be revealed at next year’s Detroit Auto Show, has been thoroughly upgraded by the German engineers.

Besides the new design, which might borrow cues from the older VW Ragster concept (pictured above), the new Beetle will benefit from the same front-wheel drive platform as the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta sedan. This means that the next car will grow in size but handle much better.

A wide array of engines are expected in Europe and other territories, while the USA will get a 170 HP 2.5-liter engine. Expect a hybrid assembly, like the one we saw in the New Compact Coupe concept, to appear. Specifically, a 1.4-liter twin-charged gasoline engine coupled with a 27 HP electric motor.

Expect the next generation Volkswagen Beetle to appear on the global market at the beginning of next year, with a convertible model set to arrive in 2012.


Subaru’s new design boss wants to make cars less ‘quirky’, more mainstream

Subaru is definitely one special automaker, as it has always relied on its hardcore fans to drive sales of its cars, even though some might have not been that attractive to the regular public.

That will change though, as the new Subaru design boss, Osamu Namba, says that the Japanese company will be slowly moving away from its previous design strategies, which he described as ‘quirky’, in favor of a more mainstream styling.

How will this more mainstream styling look like? Well the Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept from last year is the best example, as it is the first project penned by Namba after he joined the company. The concept was praised by a lot of people for moving past the regular Subaru lines and adopting a new strategy.

Frankly, while we’re all for Subaru becoming more mainstream and earn bigger sales, we’re more than satisfied with the current new designs, like the 2011 Impreza, Legacy or Outback.

What about you? Do you welcome this new design paradigm shift for Subaru? Share your thoughts below.


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Renault DeZir concept revealed ahead of Paris debut

The Paris Motor Show is fast approaching its start, and as such, a new showpiece has been revealed, in the form of the Renault DeZir concept.

As you can see above, the new model is definitely something else, and represents a new design direction for the French company.

The DeZir, as any self-respecting concept nowadays, uses an electric powertrain, the same one used by the Nissan Leaf EV. A 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack is present, powering a 110 kW electric motor. This, coupled with the lightweight steel tube chassis that weighs 1,830 pounds, means a 0 to 62 mph time of just 5 seconds.

But while the electric performance is mighty impressive, Renault fans should definitely be thrilled by the attractive design. It is augmented by the novel rear-hinged butterfly doors, which give the DeZir a memorable presence.

The new Renault concept will be presented in Paris, but until then, feel free to check it out in the photo gallery below.

Photo Gallery: Renault DeZir Concept


Scion hosts Battle of the Builds competition, military members design their own xB

Scion hosts Battle of the Builds competition, military members design their own xB

Seeing as how the 4th of July is rapidly approaching, Scion has revealed a new type of competition.

Entitled the Battle of the Builds, the contest tasked military servicemen and women with designing their own special xB model. The entries were submitted to the youth-oriented Japanese brand, and can now be voted at the special Battle of the Builds website.

From the 25 semi-finalists now up for vote, only three designs will be chosen. The winning teams will be given a budget of $15,000, and tasked with turning their initial drawing into a reality on a brand new 2011 xB.

The ultimate winner will be featured by Scion at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Interested in showing your support for military creativity? Then go and share your votes at the Battle of the Builds website. Voting ends tomorrow, June 30.


McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray presents the T.25 city car

Gordon Murray is one of the most popular designers in the automotive world, penning the iconic McLaren F1 hypercar.

Now, after splitting with the British sportscar manufacturer and opening his own design studio, Murray has finally revealed a big project: the T.25 city car.

As you can see, this ultra compact model is definitely something else. It weighs just 1,212 pounds and is just four feet wide. Believe it or not, it has seating for three people on the inside, retaining the F1′s 1+2 arrangement, with the driver in front and passengers in the back. In case you’re wondering how you can get into the T.25, it has a hinged front end, similar to BMW’s iconic Isetta model.

Power for the compact model comes from a 51 HP three-cylinder engine, capable of pushing the T.25 to 62 mph in 16.2 seconds. The projected fuel average is a mighty impressive 61.9 mpg US.

As you can imagine, its diminutive size makes it perfect for city environments. You will be able to park the T.25 perpendicular to the curb, and three such models can occupy one regular parking space.

No word yet on when or if we will see the T.25 on the market, but you can be sure that competitors like Smart are going to face a tough challenge with this British car.


Former BMW designer Chris Bangle returning to Fiat?

Chris Bangle is without a doubt one of the most controversial car designers from recent times. The man was responsible for the design of BMW models from the 2000s and generated a huge amount of discussions.

Now, the designer, who left the Bavarian company in February, 2009, in order to pursue his other design goals, is rumored to be returning to the car industry. The American is rumored to join one of his former employers, Fiat.

It seems that according to some reports, Bangle, whose non-compete agreement ended in March, this year, might be tempted to once again take on the chief designer role at the Italian company, where he was responsible for the Fiat Coupe, back in the day.

The decision might have something to do with the Italian group now owning Chrysler, a company in much need of a clearer design direction. Nothing is official as of yet, but if Bangle were to return to the car industry, his name alone would garner quite a lot of attention.

What do you think? Is Fiat making a deal to bring back Bangle, and if so, will it be profitable in the end? Share your thoughts below.


Volkswagen officially acquires 90% of Italdesign Giugiaro

Volkswagen officially acquires 90% of Italdesign Giugiaro

A short time ago, rumors were flying around concerning Volkswagen next major takeover, targeted at Italian design bureau Italdesign Giugiaro.

Now, the deal has officially gone through. Volkswagen now owns 90% of the Giugiaro design house while the remaining 10% is kept inside the Giugiaro family, currently represented by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son, Fabrizio.

Italdesign, for those who don’t know, was one of the biggest privately-owned design and engineering houses in the world, with over 800 workers. That team will be solidified by other key members from Volkswagen’s own design department and future projects for the company include the Volkswagen Up! lineup.

Is this partnership for the best? Don’t be shy and make your voice heard in the comment section below.


Volkswagen close to buying Italdesign Giugiaro

Volkswagen close to buying Italdesign Giugiaro

Volkswagen, even though it said it will refrain from buying off any other car companies after striking its partnership with Suzuki, is close to engulf another entity, Italdesign Giugiaro.

For those not in the know, the Italian group is one of the biggest privately-owned design and engineering companies in the world. Since it was founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1968, the company was responsible for a huge amount of popular models, including the recent Alfa Romeo 159 or the Brera, as well as first generation Scirocco or Golf models for Volkswagen.

Besides its design component, Italdesign Giugiaro also does engineering work for large carmakers. Most of its work is a trade secret, but the last acknowledge piece of engineering was on the second generation Mini models for BMW.

No official word has been revealed, but voices say a formal announcement will be made next week. The fate of the company isn’t set in stone, as it will be either absorbed into the VW group or will continue to do freelance work for other carmakers, while being controlled by the German company.


Shooting brake/break – A guide to the newest automotive fad

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about the ‘newest’ automotive fad: shooting brake or break designs.

From elaborate concepts, like the Mercedes-Benz Concept Fascination or the recent Shooting Break, to real-life applications like the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, this new hatchback coupe combination is taking the auto world by storm.

But before designers around the world hailed it as the second coming, the term had a more antiquated definition and was used for simpler activities.

Curious to learn just what the shooting brake or break terms mean? Then hit the jump and find out.

Mini Cooper S gets customized by TopCar and Russian designer Denis Simachev

Seeing as how many people who want to stand out from the rest of the pack opt for Mini models, Russian tuning company TopCar teamed up with one of the biggest upcoming designers and artists from its country, Denis Simachev, to create two unique limited edition Mini Cooper S series.

In order to make it stand out more, the tuners created a new body kit, called “Bully”, designed to inspire a more aggressive appearance. Comprised of an aluminum sports grille, daytime running lights, a rear diffuser plus a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, the body kit completes handling upgrades like a new exhaust system or a set of Brembo brakes.

As we revealed above, there will be two limited editions, of 25 models, based on the tuned Mini Cooper S. The first is the Mini Cooper Bully by Simachev, which you can check out above. It uses an special paint scheme, with glossy black and pearl white, while throwing carbon fiber trim on the inside like nobody’s business.

The second limited edition is the Mini Cooper Bully Moscow, which also saw a unique design made by Simachev be imprinted on the side. Thanks to a special paint, the imprint will change colors depending on how the light hits the compact city car, ranging from blue to green or black.

In case you’re interested to spend your rubles, the Cooper Bully is set to premiere at Top Marques Monaco on April 15, while the Bully Moscow is set to be unveiled on April 17 at Simachev’s Shop and Bar in Moscow.


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