Thanks to Bermaz Motor, Autofreaks recently attended the world premiere of the RX-Vision rotary sports concept car at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, a concept that suggests new directions for the Kodo: Soul of Motion design theme, with the adoption in various design motifs reminiscent of rotary-engine sports cars of the past. We managed to get a brief interview with Ikuo Maeda, Mazda’s Global Head of Design to discuss about the iconic design theme and the new RX-Vision concept car.
1. Can you tell us how the ‘Kodo’ design language is being adapted into a sports car like the RX-Vision Concept?
The theme of Kodo design is to provide ‘life’ to the form of the car and in that sense, when you look at the concept car, it seems to appear like it has a life. With the current generation of Mazda products that we have today, we try to express the movement or dynamism to the character of the car. Though it appears in a very simple shape, when you look at it, you will see that it has a dynamic flow like a living thing. From that perspective, both the production and concept cars can incorporate Kodo design themes.
2. How do you incorporate the Kodo design language in every single model in the Mazda range?
The birth of the Kodo design language came from a concept car called the Shinari, and that was then adopted to today’s products. We expect that the current generation of product has now being completed and we are now focusing on the next-generation of Mazda products and one solution to that is with the concept car (RX-Vision) that you see today.
3. I noticed that the that there are lines being portrayed as ‘eyebrows’ on the RX-Vision Concept, can you tell us the purpose of that ‘eyebrow’?
The current automotive trend today is make the headlight to look smaller and it looks like the headlight is losing its expression, and ultimately to make the car look like it has no eyes. We consider the car to be a living ‘thing’ or a ‘friend’ but if the face has no expression, how can it become a friend? Therefore to give some kind of expression to the car, we inserted an ‘eye brow’ design to the vehicle.
4. Why is the RX-Vision bonnet is designed to appear long in terms of overall proportions? (A rotary engine is actually very compact physically)
Actually that is a question that nearly everyone asked me but we want to create a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive proportion and it is my desire to achieve a long bonnet. Plus, I want to make sure that the engine is located between the front and rear tyres (front-mid mount). One of the features of a rotary engine is that it can be placed very low in a car, as a result, we are able to lower the bonnet of the concept car.
5. Why did you choose the Red-wine colour in most of your concept cars and mass production cars?
Well, one of the main reasons is because I like red! Initially, the Mazda brand was never associated with the colour red in the past. However, red was then chosen for the present generation of Mazda products and later it was associated with the brand. I hope that we can continue using this colour until everybody can relate Mazda with red colour.
6. How do you see the Kodo design language evolving over time?
At Mazda, it is our desire to improve the design quality over time. We want to create a product that can be associated with our nationality and we would like to focus on the Japanese traditional sense of unity in terms of design. As we improve the quality of the design, we would like to improve it without simply making it look gorgeous and I think that is possible.
7. How long do you think the Kodo design language will be the inspiration behind Mazda design?
Until the day I die!