The Volvo YCC concept car, the work of a predominantly female team, could be considered the orphan at this year’s Geneva show, with many unsure whether to embrace it, or kick it!
The Volvo YCC concept car, the work of a predominantly female team, could be considered the orphan at this year’s Geneva show, with many unsure of whether to embrace it, or kick it!
Unveiled for the first time at the Geneva show last week, the YCC (or Your Concept Car) was described as anything from a design curiosity to a PR exploit.
The innovative YCC has no bonnet (it comes with a removable front end), requires oil changes at 50 000km intervals only and has dirt-repellent glass and paint finishes.
Volvo officials have stressed that the car will not be sold as a production model, though many of its design cues and ideas would be used in later models.
Volvo chief engineer Hans Folkesson said the design team got feedback from typical car owners, as opposed to “motor freaks.”
"We wanted to spend money only on traditional features, roominess and ease of use," Folkesson said. "Do we need cars with 1 001 horsepower that go 350 kilometres an hour? Humans are not meant to go that fast. We spent money on the things people value."
In the male-dominated vehicle industry, announcing that females have designed a car has often created a credibility issue. However, Folkesson said, regardless of sex, he would rather assign the best engineers and designers to a project. “About 15 per cent of Volvo engineers are women,” he said.
Traditional ideas that females would rather buy a car made for a man than a woman were reinforced after the YCC came under considerable fire at its unveiling.
Some critics snubbed the look, saying women don’t care to look at engines or like to get their hands dirty.
At the same time, research clinics showed that some of the car's feminine touches helped men as well, especially the parallel park assistance.
“Both women and men would appreciate the electronic system that allows the car to parallel park itself,” project manager Camilla Palmertz said.
Shiro Nakamura, Nissan Motor's design chief, said he would not have assigned a team of women as the only decision makers.
"We judge things by the male perspective, and we may make a mistake because what a man sees and what a woman sees is different,” Nakamura said.
"I support what Volvo did," he added. "I just hope Volvo's female team represents something going on underneath at Volvo, that it's not just a show car or public relations issue."
Original article from Car