ZR. RU: It has been a year now that you have been working at Renault. How are you feeling? What did you like or maybe not like during this period?
Van den Aker: The year turned out to be really interesting, primarily because Renault turned out to be a company that wants to change the direction of design. In the life of designers, it does not often happen that a whole company wants to do something new. It was quite exciting, although I have to admit, sometimes I was very worried, because we did not have much time to find a new direction. But, thank God, we gathered a rather close-knit team of specialists and therefore quite quickly we managed to develop a common line of design based on the brand's values - very humane, so to speak, full of life. And our first car should be a confirmation of this idea - it will be such Letitia Casta on wheels, a beautiful and intelligent sports model, which will work on electricity. In general, we will do everything to make people fall in love with Renault again, because I feel that recently the appearance of the brand has slightly disliked our customers. By the way, that's why I was pleased that the DeZir concept was warmly received by the public.
Renault DeZir - one of the famous works of van den Aker Renault DeZir - one of the famous works of van den Aker
ZR. RU: Could you then tell in more detail about this concept. Perhaps it is implemented in any production car?
Van den Aker: I will tell you this: most of all Renault DeZir will be associated with the new generation of Clio, which will appear in 2012. We want to make sure that in the near future everyone could become the owner of a piece of Renault DeZir. That is why the same team worked on the design of the new Clio as on the above-mentioned concept, worked gradually, step by step. Of course, Clio is not a supercar, but in it you will see the same forms, the same bends, the same swiftness and sexuality as DeZir, as well as the new corporate style of Renault.
ZR. RU: Will Clio have a “hot” version?
Van den Aker: Yes, of course. Russians will surely like it, because it will be well suited for dynamic driving and overtaking.
ZR. RU: The design of Logan, Sandero and Duster cars made on the B0 platform is distinguished by angularity and chopped lines. What awaits us in the future? We already saw one facelift Logan, and we liked it. Perhaps in two years the next generation of this model will appear. If so, what will it be?
Renault Captur Renault Captur
Van den Aker: Logan turned out to be a successful machine, very reliable, thanks to which he gained popularity in Russia. And when this model appeared, we managed to attract many customers to our side. However, Logan of the new generation will differ in more complex, interesting forms. The car will become more stately, if I may say so, and more powerful, a worthy successor will come out of it. And, I hope, with Sandero everything will happen exactly the same. I believe that we have a very good foundation laid down by the current generation of these models, but now we need to work on their design and further increase the quality.
ZR. RU: In this case, the question arises: will such innovations affect the final price of the car?
Van den Aker: Well, it’s too early to talk about the price, however, we are aware of such concerns and will try to make sure that the final cost of the car is not too high.
ZR. RU: As far as I know, there are two approaches to design. First: first, the designer creates sketches and mock-ups of the future car, after which he submits them to engineers who make their corrections. Another approach is essentially the same, but vice versa. And what is your opinion on this issue at Renault? Perhaps some disputes arise?
Van den Aker: You know, it all depends on the project, it happens in different ways. However, we try to take the best from each other. Any project is successfully completed only when there is close cooperation between the departments of design, planning, marketing and engineers. However, you still need a vision of the final product, a certain idea. That is why we make concepts - we want people to dream, because even engineers and economists dream. Therefore, we try to “infect” them with people within our company. Of course, you always have to look for compromises, we cannot just take and start doing only what we want. However, we always try to keep the key idea of this or that concept when turning it into a serial model.
ZR. RU: Do you already have such an idea for a future concept? And if so, could you tell us in more detail what kind of car it will be?
Van den Aker: At present, we have six concepts that will form the life cycle. One of them you have already seen is DeZir, which will celebrate love and be destined for two. The next concept - Captur will be intended for a young couple who will also need to go on small trips. The third car (R-Space) will represent the family and family values, and the fourth under the name Renault Frendzy - work. And finally, we will also show the fifth and sixth concepts, which will become a symbol of the game and wisdom.
Renault R-Space Renault R-Space
ZR. RU: You draw from the age of five. Have you already managed to create your dream car and if so, was it in Renault or not?
Van den Aker: You know, the car of my dreams has already been invented. This is Lancia Stratos, Zero created by Marcello Gandini, for me he is a hero. Although, you know, one dream does not happen. I like the concepts that we created at Mazda, I like Renault DeZir, but the main thing is what I strive for so that these dreams do not remain dreams, but become cars for real people so that they can be bought. Therefore, the new Renault Clio can be called the car of my dreams.
ZR. RU: What is your relationship with Nissan and Samsung on the one hand and AvtoVAZ on the other? Is there a strong influence on each other?
Van den Aker: My direct responsibilities include Renault and Dacia in Europe and Samsung in South Korea. However, we have good relations with everyone who is part of our alliance - both with Nissan and with AvtoVAZ. For example, today I returned from Togliatti and I can say that the prospects for the plant are really impressive. Therefore, I look forward to deepening cooperation and promise to do everything in my power to help them.
Renault Frendzy Renault Frendzy
This sketch of Renault DeZir Lawrence van den Aker painted specifically for ZR. RU This sketch of Renault DeZir Lawrence van den Aker painted specifically for ZR. RU
ZR. RU: You said that the design of the car is largely dependent on the values of the company. Could you tell us about Renault's values in this regard?
Van den Aker: I would say that Renault focuses on a person, on his needs. Therefore, our cars are sensual, but simple. In addition, we create machines for every period of life, which is why we decided to take inspiration in the life cycle. I hope that you will like our new models and you will have the opportunity to enjoy them in Russia.