It seems Volkswagen has breathed a collective "Oops!", and is now working to turn its design ship around. VW was known for neat, differentiated designs with great interior details. While this stayed true in some parts of the world, in the U.S., Volkswagen design turned into chrome shield grilles fronting identical bodies in various sizes.
When Martin Winterkorn was lured back from academia, "he looked at Volkswagen's upcoming designs and binned the lot." Audi's design chief was brought in. VW started over on the Golf, which will be coming out later this year. The Polo redesign was taken up again from scratch. The Up! "was not fully thought through as a concept," and is getting a workover.
VW's new language is said to be about "simplicity," "a confident identity," "crisply-detailed functionality," and cars that aren't "over-designed." The chrome shield is gone (thank goodness) and headlights that wrap around to the front wheel arches have also been sent packing, "because that's not what a headlight is for." Stay tuned for more horizontals, as seen on the Scirocco -- and here (so much for no more chrome) -- and hopefully a slew of compelling shapes.