rampdesign

Christian Malorny: Design As a Success Factor

Christian Malorny is one of the most influential consultants in the automotive industry. His focus is on issues relating to the criteria for successful business strategies.

Which brings us straight to the topic of design.

  • Interview
    Michael Köckritz
  • Foto
    David Breun

It goes without saying that we have some very clear ideas about the importance of design for the success of products and brands. But because a few hard facts can never hurt, we thought we’d ask an expert what he has to say about it. 

And wasted no time getting straight to the point.

Mr. Malorny, how important is design for the success of an automobile manufacturer?
If you look at the latest results of our market research, design is, next to price, the most important criterion for a purchase decision. 

And is that true anywhere in the world?
Basically, yes, though there are certain preferences. For car buyers in Germany, the design of the body, the value and the overall coherence of the vehicle are even more important than the brand. In China, on the other hand, the interior design is of greater relevance because the Chinese see the interior of their vehicle as a place to retreat to in a highly productive, 24-hour online society. Even more important in China, however, is price. In America, by contrast, interior design plays only a subordinate role. For Americans, the price and the quality of workmanship are decisive, as is the exterior design. 

»Design enables people to establish a relationship with the car in the first place. Design conveys feelings. It conveys clear messages. Even if the car is not at the forefront of everyone’s mind every day, everyone associates memories with their vehicle.«
Christian Malorny

Where do these differences come from?
We can best identify variances in purchasing behavior if we break down the market along price lines into premium, volume and budget. In the premium segment – that’s vehicles over $75,000 – design is by far the most important reason for a purchase. Exterior and interior design are responsible for 37% of the purchase decisions here. This is a particularly valuable insight for German automakers, because they build around 75% of the world’s premium vehicles. Design leadership is a key to market success. And not only that: the brand’s appeal is almost as relevant for customers of premium vehicles. This means that the design and the brand have a disproportionate influence on the purchase decision. In the volume and budget segments, the importance of design is less pronounced.

What does that mean for the designers?
The designer is effectively the creative director of a brand and significantly influences brand development and, as a result, the appeal of an automotive brand through design. Today, it is crucial to analytically understand the different customer preferences along the vehicle segments and regions. Design and its development are massively influenced by new vehicle functionalities – such as the electric powertrain or self-driving capabilities. New types of materials and manufacturing also allow for new design characteristics. And finally, the zeitgeist – think sustainability – plays a role, as does a market’s willingness to accept design changes. Automotive design is always a reflection of the zeitgeist. (...)

Is automotive design on the verge of a revolution in light of new technologies? Find out this and more in the new rampdesign
Michael Köckritz

Michael Köckritz

Editor in Chief
As a journalist, author, artist and media maker, Michael Köckritz succeeds time and again in creating both attention-grabbing and sustainably stimulating impulses in the context of contemporary and future topics as well as lifestyle and luxury worlds. As publisher and editor-in-chief, he has realised a whole series of book and lifestyle magazine formats that have regularly won numerous national and international awards over the years. The car culture magazine ramp, the men's lifestyle magazine rampstyle and the design magazine ramp.design are published internationally and are considered style-setting.
rampdesign: Success by Design

rampdesign: Success by Design

Ein Design, das den Unterschied ausmacht? Immer eine schöne Aufgabe. Viel spannender ist es aber, ein begehrenswertes Design zu entwickeln, das sich schlüssig aus der Marke ergibt und das mit einem modernen Blick konsequent für die Positionierung der Marke und deren nachhaltige Wahrnehmung arbeitet. Daher geht es immer darum, ein Markendesign zu entwickeln, das differenziert UND positioniert.

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