2003 VOLVO S80 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...

2001 Volvo Design Team

2003 S80

Taking over as Chief Designer on the project in late 2000, to find that the programme was in a very uncertain state. Design had created major changes to the front lamps, softnose and rear view, to create a fresher look. Engineering wanted to solve the 2 piece trunklid quality problems and spent most of the available budget on the tooling for a one piece steel trunklid.

There was also a need to improve the interior materials quality, especially for the doors.

So a redesign of the exterior was carried out by Hakan Malmgren, working within the existing structural limitations. The totally LED tail lamps part price were too expensive for the product cost balancing, so an LED brake lamp was prioritized. But as there was little or no agreement between Design, Engineering and Marketing on priorities, Design priorities were over-ridden and content / quality detailing reduced.

Externally the change to the silver grey egg-crate grille was the most obvious feature of the new bumpers, and at the rear: there were new bumpers and reproportioned tail lamps. Elsewhere small jewellery brightwork parts were added to lift the luxury detailing.

For the Interior, there were new doors, detail improvements to the clarity and quality of the centre console and a new ‘watch dial’ instrument cluster.

The lesson learnt was that the Chief Designer should be involved from the onset of the project to secure a stable budget, a credible offer for the customers needs and improve the products overall content.