Q&A: Nicholas David, automotive designer
Nicholas David has always loved cars. “When I was 12 – 13 years old my teacher gave me an instructional book on how to draw cars and industrial objects. When I figured out that I could get paid doing something I love – it made for an easy decision,” said the designer of Chevy’s Tru 140S concept vehicle for GM, his first employer out of college. Having studied engineering in Wales, David received his masters in vehicle design at London’s Royal College of Art. He has worked for Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda, and Acura and now he’s back with his first employer. Here he talks about developing the new concept car, the idea behind it, and fuel efficiency.
Susan S. Szenasy: Walk me through the process of designing Chevy’s Tru 140S concept car. Who were you targeting? Why did you design the exterior first?
Nicholas David: While designing Tru, we were targeting the youth market. Based on the research we collected, we knew what these buyers were looking for in a vehicle. We kept the idea of an “affordable exotic” top of mind. It’s a sleek three door hatch back that looks like a sports car. It’s confident, exotic and fast, but most of all it looks a lot more expensive than it is. It’s a front-wheel-drive, four-seat-coup; the three-door hatchback was designed to be an attractive yet affordable sports car. The interior is fully designed as well, however, it exists only in 2D. This is by design and allows us the flexibility to continue the discussion and encourage more dialogue as we continue to develop these concepts.
SSS: It’s often hard to see the brilliant ideas presented as concepts show up in final products. What happens to the Tru 140S concept after the big unveiling?
ND: The two concepts will travel to future auto shows and events that may be a little bit non-traditional … in order to gather feedback from today’s consumers.
SSS: When I think about cars, I see them as transportation–getting from one place to another, quickly, safely, in an affordable way. But cars are not usually thought of as part of the bigger issue of transportation, which now needs to be less monolithic than we’re used to. What is your vision of transportation in the age of oil at $5+?
ND: Although most customers say fuel economy is important, we know that they consider other attributes such as functionality, comfort, performance, style, and safety. As a company, GM has a broad range of fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies under development, already offers a number of high-efficiency vehicles in the U.S., and is introducing more each year.