He designed both the Golf and the XL1 and survived the casting of strong bosses. Electric Volkswagen maker leaves | present.cz

The resignation of Herbert Diess on the board of directors in July led to personnel changes at Volkswagen that also affected design. Klaus Bischoff Zyciora leaves the top spot. He spent his 30+ years with the company and has his mark on a number of important models, from the Golf to his current ID series. He was able to combine the brand’s pragmatic spirit with its vision of the future. According to him, designers embody wishes that ordinary people do not yet know.

That scene has been indelibly written into the history of automobiles and viral videos: Volkswagen’s feared CEO Martin Winterkorn at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011 sitting in a rival hyundai It breaks when adjusting the height of the handle. “Bischoff,” he barks arrogantly. And he raises his hand as if to ask, “Why would you even imagine such a thing?”

At the time, the entire internet was amused that a proud German brand boss conceded a goal from an invader from South Korea, unaware that a random visitor to the car show was filming him. I was there.

Today we can read another story from the video. It takes two of his seldom incompatible talents to hold his chief designer position at such a huge car company for his 15 years. Great ability and even more humility.

Klaus Bischoff has spent his entire career at Volkswagen since graduating in 1989. There, he experienced the ambitious boom of his Ferdinand Piëch era, culminating in the luxurious models presented at the end of the 90s.

In the same way, he had to take a few turns in the direction of the brand and HR wave. However, he was always able to carry out the orders of his superiors and get along with the powerful authorities.In 2007, Piëch sacked the group his director Pichetsrieder and replaced him with Winterkorn. Later he became head of the design department.

The first successful Mission was a quick replacement for the controversial fifth-generation Golf. The 2008 successor brought nothing new technically, but it went back to its roots and became popular.

Next came one of Piëch’s personal toys, the highly aerodynamic and economical XL1 Coupe. The Small Series Specialty had a drag coefficient of 0.186 and a body with a high proportion of aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber.

Bischoff proved then that he was not afraid of big visions. But the car itself belongs to the paradox of Volkswagen history. It proves how much fuel can be saved by improving aerodynamics. The opposite happened and Europe fell irrevocably in love with tall SUVs.

Five years later, the Dieselgate scandal rocked European industry and politics. And, of course, she took Volkswagen’s management by storm. New director Herbert Diess immediately began a radical shift towards electromobility.

Still, Bischoff displayed diplomacy, flexibility, and a willingness to adapt quickly. In September 2016, a prototype of the ID concept, the predecessor of today’s ID 3 hatchback, was shown at the Paris Motor Show, with at least one, and sometimes he two studies added each year.

Designed by Bischoff, the ID series utilizes the space gained by a more compact powertrain and features a completely new interior concept. At his motor show in Geneva in March 2018, he personally unveiled them in his ID.Vizzion concept. With the ID.Vizzion concept, all controls disappeared from the dashboard.

“The brief was to completely empty the interior,” Bischoff explained. Buttons and displays have been replaced with voice and holographic he controls. “As designers, we embody wishes that people don’t yet know. We realize things that no one else knows about. ‘, he explained his mission.

The historic moment when Bischoff posed with Herbert Diess at the premiere of the ID 3 production hatchback in September 2019 ironically took place eight years earlier in the same place as Winterkorn’s immortal ‘brush’. rice field. This time, we were all smiles and no one knocked on the dashboard.

In April 2020, Bischoff was promoted to Chief Designer for all divisions and Josef Kavan became head of the Volkswagen brand. Even designers don’t have seven lives. A management change this year marked the end of his 30+ year career for this obscure man with strong vision and diplomatic skills.

Among other things, his unconventional worldview is evidenced by the fact that he married at a mature age and, as a globally recognized manager, adopted the surname of his Polish wife. Since then he has performed as Klaus Gisiola.

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