Geneva 2018: Trend Watch

09 March 2018 | by Ed Stubbs

Sharper snouts

On Peugeot’s stand, while admiring the new 508’s nose, we overheard someone ask incredulously: “How did they manage to get that through pedestrian impact?”

We can only assume they hadn’t seen the Ram on Dodge’s stand at that point…


It’s a question that cropped up again at Mercedes-Benz, where the dramatic AMG GT Four-Door and A-Class sport surprisingly similar nose profiles. 

Toyota’s Auris, given a new lease of life with a more muscular redesign, also showed off a far more aggressive nose profile than previously.


Aside from the legislation, we might be starting to see the roots of a trend that looks towards more characterful and dramatic brand-identity, in the face of the generic autonomous pod.

Economy or first-class lounge?


Autonomous drive, future mobility and innovative packaging are usually the preserve of start-ups and the more agile OEMs, but with Aston Martin’s Lagonda Vision concept, one of the more traditional luxury brands explored electric architecture and a new interior package layout.

Given that it was apparently designed around the hard points of the interior, the exterior proportion was a striking statement of intent.


Luxury is often synonymous with generous space, thus it could be assumed that a ‘luxury’ interpretation of the driverless car would be an obvious idea.

But, oddly, it was the more mobility-minded concepts that were more accessible; Rinspeed’s highly functional and simple pod-on-platform approach, while lacking any obvious design-theme, at least focused on useable space.


Renault’s EZ-GO on the other hand, packed some deep thinking into its cab-central proportion and shared a convincing narrative about how we might navigate our future cities.

Simplicity in surfacing, complexity in the details


We noticed a continuation of this theme – bold and simple surfaces combined with intricate detailing.

Mazda’s ‘Vision’ concepts were possibly the flag bearers for this approach, but it’s catching on, with Mercedes (A-class and AMG GT Four-Door) and various others including Hyundai (Nexo) being prime production examples.


Some concepts are also using this theme; VW’s I.D. Vizzion, for example, featured an almost plain series of surfaces, with minimal calming surface transitions and a single, sharp light catcher.

007_ID Vizzion.jpg

The lighting graphics and the deeply-sculpted wheels were the real areas of interest, as is true of the car above.

Lexus’s LF-1 concept follows a similar approach of a softer, organic bodyside tucked in towards the sill, with the dynamic tension all focused around the lighting and grille.

009_Le Fil Rouge.jpg

Hyundai, with what some consider the concept of the show, the Le Fil Rouge, balanced the organic bodyside with a deep, sharp, undercut feature line that connects front mask to the rear hatch.

Again, it’s the wheels and exterior trim – the fade-to-nothing A-pillar for example, that adds the intricate jewellery to the design.