Mercedes A-Class: On the Design
Mark Fetherston, of the Mercedes design staff, on the development of the exterior design for the new A-Class: “To be quite honest, at first I wouldn’t have imagined that at Mercedes we would dare to build such a car.
Mark Fetherston, of the Mercedes design staff, on the development of the exterior design for the new A-Class:
“To be quite honest, at first I wouldn’t have imagined that at Mercedes we would dare to build such a car. But the Board gave us wide-ranging freedom in respect of the design of the A-Class. Indeed, they even encouraged us to be more progressive.”
“The sculptural quality of the A-Class’s form is typically Mercedes. This traditionally distinguishes Mercedes-Benz from other brands. We made the A-Class sculpture in clay by hand—you can’t do this on the computer. Look, for instance, at the muscular shape of the shoulder above the rear axle. The character lines, in particular on the vehicle sides, lend this sculpture structure and terseness. The dropping line is an elegant link to the Mercedes heritage; the high side sill line provides dynamism.”
“Even though it may seem a bit like a cliché, when you see the A-Class from the front, you can be reminded of a wild cat, a lion or a cheetah. Aggressive and sleek.”
“The A-class puts an end to boredom in this segment.”
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Automotive manufacturers are meeting CAFE fuel-efficiency standards through lightweighting, which requires simulation software for design engineers.
By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)