2010 VOLVO C30 volvo_logo.jpg

Modern Classic - Steve Harper Interview

Modern Classic - Steve Harper Interview

Thu 24th March 2016

In late 2015 Keith Adams of Modern Classic interviewed Steve Harper in his Studio about this past...

volvo c30 2010 design theme sketch

Managing the Design programme, Steve Harper began in the October of 2006 to redefine the designs for both the 2010 C30 & C70.

Utilising the feedback already received from the Press & customers from the early cars, in conjunction with the Vehicle line management, a ‘wish list’ was created of technical, aesthetic & usability improvements for both cars.

One of the key elements was a need to create a greater differential between all of the P1 platform cars.

However, the then recently launched C30, had in many areas, already established a very unique identity.

As with the C70 design, the changes at the front of the car, meant that more than the skin alone of the new car would need to be redesigned. But at least having the programmes running together, would allow for certain technical synergies to be explored.

The ambitious plan was agreed, but with only a € 65 million Tooling & Resources budget to produce both the new C30 and the C70, it was a tough challenge.

It required a major effort by the whole project team, to balance out the key elements in order to address customer suggestions, and to ensure the best overall effect.

An example was, for instance: noting that the car had a strong, ‘Iconic’ tailgate & lamp design, the changes at the rear could be focused in the bumper area.

As the 2 design proposals from Steve Harper & Hakan Malmgren were developed on computer and in parallel in the clay, up to the design selection, in May 2007. Hakan’s design was chosen for further development, along with some of the details from the other car.

This design, which had reproportioned the lower ‘trim’ panels, gave the car a much more upmarket feel.

Together with a dynamic front ‘softnose’ design, both the front & rear end designs featured the trapezoidal theme of the tailgate glass shape.

The budget balancing had meant that there were insufficient funds for redesigning all of the sills and wheel arch trim panels. But, true to form, the design team came up with a plan to create more customer choice, by reworking the existing parts, and offering them in a range of contrast colours.

New wheel designs, also available in new colours, completed the Exterior design offer.

The Interior design, by Jenny Deimer, moved away from the traditional ‘greys’, and introduced a new ‘blond’ interior colour. In conjunction with an ‘expresso’ contrast colour scheme, and a broader range of trim colour combinations, new fabrics and leathers, the result gave the car a unique ambience, which suited the car’s aspirations & market appeal.

Completed on time, on budget, and with zero increase in overall product cost, the combination of the changes to the Exterior, Interior & Trim designs helped re-emphasise the C30 as a modern Scandinavian design Icon.