Ex-Ferrari and BMW Designer Says China Went From Copycat to Top Notch Cars

12 months ago - 3 April 2022, autoevolution
Ex-Ferrari and BMW Designer Says China Went From Copycat to Top Notch Cars
China has risen from the laughingstock of the automotive world to an industry giant in the last couple of years. Frank Stephenson analyzes how the Asian country managed to rapidly evolve in the last three decades and shows which are the genuinely innovative creations that he likes the most.

It is truly fascinating when you think about it. China's auto industry has developed so fast that it now seems like it always has been this way. But if we look back in time, we'll find the Asian country not having even a car market in 1960, let alone an industry! While America and Europe were competing against each other in this important sector at the time, China was taking inspiration from soviet Russia. Their neighbor helped with licensing, but people didn't have money or any interest in motor vehicles.

The Chinese auto industry started rapidly expanding since 1990. After ten years of assiduous trial and error, copying designs, trying all sorts of stuff out, the 2000s came and marked a very important change. The Asians wanted their own identity expressed while also keeping the costs of manufacturing and design down. They ended up getting a lot of European influence, but that's about to change.

Fast forward a little over two decades, and here we are: China’s the most sought-after car market in the entire world. American and European carmakers are battling for more boots on the ground by signing partnerships or investing in models that are made exclusively for the Asian country.

Frank Stephenson is one of the most important names in car design. He worked with Ferrari, BMW, MINI, Maserati, McLaren, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo. Now he’s saying that China has one of the “most interesting” approaches when you look at the EVs that are manufactured in the country.

The famous designer also points out “copycat design still exists,” but recognizes that China’s automotive players are starting to find their own identities. He even argues that the last 20 years were the most important for the country that now is leading the way in terms of numbers.

Now watch as he shows what China did wrong, what it learned, how its actions affected other key players in the industry, and how it will grow to surprise us all at some point.