We spoke with Mazda's North American design chief.
The Mazda RX-Vision was the concept even Jaguar designers believed was the best-looking thing on four wheels at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March. Seeing it in the flesh is an entirely different experience than pictures alone. And the media and car lovers have also responded in kind with an overwhelming demand of "just build the damn thing." Newly appointed Mazda North American Design Director, Julien Montousse, couldn't agree more.
We recently had a chat with Montousse and asked him whether the RX-Vision will wind up being nothing more than a design and engineering study, despite the recent report that a new RX-9 rotary sports car is due in 2020. "The RX-Vision is a breakthrough in Mazda design," Montousse first and foremost declared. "We wanted to expand and capture more sophistication and the wow factor. This is the next evolutionary step for our Kodo design language." How so, specifically? "Reflection-based surfacing. We wanted to generate an emotional reaction from the public. This design direction will inspire the future Mazda lineup, such as the next Mazda3."
Montousse added that the RX-Vision has a lot of "Japanese cultural influence in that the strongest voice isn't always the loudest in the room. Its main goal is to seduce the eyes." Mission accomplished. Mazda design consists of three unifying factors, according to Montousse: "Act of thrill, the joy of driving, and well-being." All three complete the circle of Mazda design philosophy. "People judge and watch the shape and we want to create a perfect synergy. The car must feel like it is tuned to the driver, inside and out. This is evident in the new CX-9 (crossover) as well." We've always thought of Mazda, in both design and driving characteristics, as the Alfa Romeo of Japan, and Montousse concurs with that assessment.
"Retention of energy in design, inside and out, such as long sweeping lines. We want to put energy into our products." If and when a new RX-9 appears is one thing, but what's for certain is that Mazda's future mainstream lineup is going to be nothing short of stunning. Just picture, for a moment, a Mazda3 with RX-Vision design influence. We've done the work for you in case you can't. The Alfa Romeo of Japan, indeed.