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by Tim Beissmann

Outspoken former BMW Group design chief Chris Bangle believes today’s car designers are stuck in a rut and says the industry’s inability to view itself objectively is holding back progress.

Bangle told industry journal Automotive News Europe the current crop of automotive designers is trapped in a phase he calls “mannerisms”, employing the same techniques and elements as they have for years.

“There is a real need for a change and that’s just not happening,” Bangle said.

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The pioneering designer, whose resume includes the fabric-skinned, shape-shifting 2008 BMW Gina sports car concept (pictured), says there is a lack of innovation in the industry.

“Even concept cars today simply anticipate the next production model coming down the line. Is this innovation? No. And at the end of the day this is what’s preventing car design from moving into a new era,” he said.

Bangle left the Bavaria-based car maker in 2009 after almost 18 years as the company’s chief of design responsible for BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce to create his own design firm in Turin, Italy.

A number BMW’s of most polarising and controversial designs were penned under his leadership, including the previous-generation 5, 6 and 7 Series models, the original Z4 sports car and the current X6 crossover.

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