Skoda chief designer: ‘SUV Coupé’ will become the norm

Skoda Enyaq Coupe

When we first got to know the Skoda Enyaq Coupé iV, we spoke to Oliver Stefani, who, as chief of design, defined the car’s lines. We asked him he came up with the Enyaq and how he prevents Skoda from getting into the waters of Volkswagen and Audi.

It should not be an easy task for a designer to make a coupé based on an SUV, no matter how many times that has already been done.

“Not easy, but fun and challenging. As you know, coupes and SUVs are not a daily fare at Skoda anyway. The opportunity to create a second BEV alongside the SUV required a completely different approach and that’s what made it so much fun. Of course it is a lengthy and often demanding process, in which we developed both models simultaneously, ie side by side. Then you take steps forward, but often also back, trying all kinds of solutions that work on one model, but sometimes don’t work on another. But in the end, both models really have to stand.”

Last year I spoke with Thomas Schäfer (CEO Skoda, ed.), who said that the Skoda range should be simplified. A coupé based on an existing model does not seem to me to be a textbook example of this.

“When we started this project, the intention from the start was to put two BEVs on the menu. Then we were asked to give our brand a touch more emotion. Skoda is known for its functional, practical cars. But we also want to give them more design. This coupé is excellent for conveying that message of more emotion. That does not alter the fact that the coupé is still very practical. Take a seat in the back and you will notice that you have a lot of headroom. The trunk is also slightly smaller than with the SUV, so that it is still really Skoda.”

Oliver Stefani Skoda

Oliver Stefanic

You say it yourself: coupes are not really des Skodas. Yet here he is.

“That is not entirely true. In the past there have indeed been coupes from Skoda, that is, two-door. Think of the beautiful 1936 Popular Sport Monte Carlo, one of which is in our museum, which is one of my most beloved Skoda models ever. But also the 110 R, a successful sports car. And the 130 RS, which won all kinds of rallies, even the Monte Carlo. So yes, we do have experience with coupes. And no, we don’t build them often. That made it extra special to work on this project.”

The Enyaq has a huge grille. While it is actually superfluous for an EV, you emphasize it – as an option – with the Crystal Face. Why?

“This grille is part of a strong identity, we’ve had it since the first Octavia. You should not want to change too much at once, otherwise you will lose your brand values. With this grille we introduce our brand identity to the electric world and that is why we give it extra attention. In the future, it will evolve into something else on our EVs.”

What kind of buyers do you have in mind with this model?

“For the Coupé, we are targeting the typical Skoda customer who goes for the ease of use of the Enyaq, but who also wants that little bit of extra individuality. He wants to feel a little more special with his car. Then you end up here.”

Skoda Enyaq Coupe

From SUV to coupé is done more and more often, also within the Volkswagen Group. At the same time, we see Skoda moving upwards in terms of finish and design. What does it require of you as a designer to keep an appropriate distance from the sister brands?

“Within the family we are very aware of that risk. We share the platforms and other technology. That is why we use so-called design criteria in the design departments in the group, so that each brand has its own defined domain. With us, you can see that, for example, on the typical front with powerdome, logo and vertical slats in the grille. Seen from the side, we have the longest overhang, the least lifting height and those characteristic Skoda lines and crystal-like shapes all around. For example, there are many design elements that are clearly different from what Volkswagen and the rest of the brands in the group do. We regularly put the comparable models next to each other and then you can see the differences very well. Skoda is perhaps the most distinctive from such a comparison. A Skoda Enyaq is so different from a Volkswagen ID.4 and an Audi Q4, there is no confusion there.”

At the moment EVs are still reasonable as the combustion engine has dictated for years, but an electric platform offers much more freedom. What will that lead to once we get used to the conventional models?

“It is very difficult to look at things like this in the future. The further development of the dimensions of batteries will ensure that you can place them elsewhere. Lighting will change with the way we deal with it, big steps will be taken there. Inside, the operation will change greatly, autonomy will have an influence. Large screens for entertainment and the interior becomes a kind of second living room. I also think that in the future we will no longer talk about coupés, because that shape is the norm. Streamline is even more important for an EV. Take the Enyaq: a better Cw value alone will get it about 40 kilometers further.”

After all, are there things you don’t want to let go of?

“Our simplicity. And the way we translate functionality into design, because those are things our customers expect from us.”

– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl

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