February 4, 2009

The Man Who Saved BMW

Pretty much every auto web site on the planet has reported on his retirement along with every major news outlet. That alone should give you measure of the influence Chris Bangle has had on the design world. While it's become fashionable to trash Bangle, Axis encourages you to take a wider, more informed view.

Read Jack Baruth's "The Man Who Saved BMW" or, how bavarians escaped the "Same sausage, Different Length" school of design.

Well worth your time.
"...Years from now, when the smoke of history clears, another name will be added to that list of designers who were capable of re-imagining the automobile. Born and raised in the American Midwest, Christopher Edward Bangle joined BMW with a rather singular goal in mind: to create what would be only the second major design direction in the company’s history. His complete and utter success in this task has permitted BMW to become a major player on the global stage; along the way, he rewrote the design language for the entire auto industry.

Such is the man’s star power that, like George W. Bush, Bill Gates, or the Almighty Himself, Bangle is regularly blamed for or credited with the accomplishments of others — but it isn’t necessary. His own successes are enough. To understand them, and to grasp why it is possible to respect or even admire the man himself without particularly loving his creations, we will have to take the advice of David E Davis and open our hymnals…

…not to page 2002, as DED Jr. originally commanded, but to the year 1962, when the BMW Neue Klasse debuted.."


  1. Great article. Hate Bangle all you want, but you have to give him credit where it's due.


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