MEI LING AUTOMOTIVE CORPORATION HEADQUARTERS
WUZHOU, GUANGXI AUTONOMOUS REGION, CHINA
Several Mei Ling employees met around a table cluttered with mockups and technical specs. Through the door came another employee, who plopped a large stack of folders on the desk. A series of design proposals from around the world had come in, and it was time to review them.
@Dorifto_Dorito of Nanjing Corp
First submission of the batch from Nanjing in the motherland, and a good way to start things off. The front fascia feels very Nishima/Nohda, and I’m a big fan of the presence that large grille creates. It’s a solid baseline but could use for some more fill in the grille. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the taillights, the rear is quite solid, albeit feeling a bit out of date. Perhaps the body isn’t really helping things with respect to this. The biggest problem I have with the car is whatever the hell is going on with that large side piece though. I can’t say I like that at all.
@VG33E of Huang Zhao
Can’t really say much about this one that isn’t a complaint. The grille design is interesting but paired with the headlights squished inwards to the centre of the body, it’s nothing I fancy. The rear isn’t really much better with the plastic bag-like patchwork and crazily undersized plate. Red calipers is also a big no-no, and that’s without talking about the outdated wheel style and the undersized tires.
@Arn38fr of Decarlis
A very avant-garde one for sure. The front reminds me a lot of the designs you get out of Korean manufacturer Milae. It’s an interesting look that may work for… something but definitely not Mei Ling. It feels too round and blobby, with a grille that is a literal rectangle. The rear is okay but rather unassuming. The side profile doesn’t really bring much to the table either, while the wheels are quite a bit undersized. Red calipers tend to be my big waving red flag regarding designs on rather basic vehicles, and what do you know they’re on this car too!
@HybridTronny of Atera
Generic front, equally generic rear, Atera’s proposal comes with not much character within it. It’s quite small, the doorhandles are disproportionate and it sits more like a crossover than an offroad-ready SUV (not to mention the body chosen isn’t really the best so can’t fault that too much). Red brake calipers too. No thanks.
@Lazar of Nobushigahara
The Mei Ling team was impressed at the sleek yet rugged persona of Japanese firm Nobushigahara’s proposal. A lot of appreciation was given towards the sharp D-pillar design, headlights and other intricate details around the vehicle. In fact, there’s a lot of these intricate details around and they work together to make a very nice-looking SUV. The complaints that surface involve the flush door handles, lazy grille design which only reminds me of venetian blinds, as well as the crossover-ish stance the vehicle has in its current state due to the rounder side profile. Both can be easily fixed. No problem.
@Sky-High of Zephorus
This proposal for the new Mei Ling SUV is rather loud. The oversized grille on the front makes it look like a whale, and the Mei Ling team were instantly concerned that dust and pebbles would make their way in very easily. The taillights are… oversized and the plate holder, very awkward.
Hell, it almost looks like the cross section of a precast box girder. Flush door handles too? This ain’t a Range Rover. Red brake calipers are all the cherry on top to throw this proposal in the bin.
@titleguy1 of LaVelle
The proposal from LaVelle is quite a decent one. Its overall design is rugged and sharp, but a different design was widely preferred on the side trim. The custom C-pillar is also a great look for the vehicle, however it doesn’t really match up too well with the near-vertical rear roofline. The rear end is decent too, but it feels like the designers gave up altogether with the taillight and submitted what they had. The front grille is decent, but could have been larger with a more creative design inside.
@Xepy of Tristella
Tristella’s proposal was up next, and instantly I can say their designers shot themselves in the foot from the start with the body choice. The A-pillar profile is jank and the rear profile, equally jank. The front fascia is decent, but the grille size and design also leave much to be desired. The rear isn’t bad per se but feels a bit outdated and inconsistent with the front. The mirrors are… yeah. The proposal looks more tuner SUV than anything, leaving the Mei Ling team much to desire.
@DoctorNarfy of Shromet
@On3CherryShake of Farox
After sending a few armed men to the Shromet headquarters, the Farox proposal was up next. It’s a very crossover-like design, and a good one too. The problem is, it’s too crossover-like. It feels out-of-date for 2020 on the front, the grille design is decent but too Nissan, the rear is quite good but too round. Not to mention, it sits too low, the wheels are tiny, and the infamous RED CALIPERS. It’s a decent design, don’t get me wrong. The fascias are great, the detail is great but it’s just not very fit for the Mei Ling style.
@thecarlover of RCM
RCM’s proposal was the next to come in. The team was attracted to the interesting roofline but couldn’t help to think that the designers once again shot themselves in the foot with the body choice. It’s too tall both near the side skirt as well as the greenhouse. The a-pillar profile is awkward. Not much the designer’s fault than the body. The front fascia is okay but plain, the rear is just plain. It sits a bit low, or at least feels like it too. Body’s fault there too.
@GetWrekt01 of Hermes Design
The Hermes Design concept is more of an avant-garde approach compared to the other entries. The thin upper headlights are futuristic and stylish, but a bit primitive when paired with the rest of the front fascia. The rear is cluttered and noisy, while the side profile isn’t too exciting. Its crossover-like stance and rounder rear window at the D-pillar don’t help its cause either.
@EnCR of AMB
AMB’s proposal was in the next file folder. The team was instantly turned off by its blobby body, alongside the rest of the round elements on the body, notably the blobby and uninspiring rear fascia design. Maybe on their proposed crossover, definitely not their SUV. The crossover-like stance of the rest of the vehicle was a major turn-off too.
@FitRS of Katsuro
The last proposal comes from Katsuro. Different elements of various shapes clash at the front fascia, while similar occurs in the rear. The grille design is plain and uninspiring while the rear follows the same suit. The large front bumper feels like its in an awkward place as well, as it is rather tacked on. At least it looks more suited for off-road and utilitarian excursions than most of the other proposals…
After a bit of brainstorming and a strongly-written warning letter to the Shromet corporation, the Mei Ling designers sat down and evaluated three potential options - from Nanjing Corp, LaVelle, and Nobushigahara.
A very utilitarian and appealing design overall, albeit being too Nohda-esque on the front fascia. The front grille can use with some fill while the side vents can do without being there.
Was off to a promising start, but shares a design element as jarring as the Nohda-like Nanjing proposal’s side vent - a strange discontinuity in the taillights. Still a pretty solid design.
Nobushibahara’s proposal is by far the most well-rounded out there. It looks sharp, it’s fitting for the era, and its crossover-like stance is quite easy to fix. Reduce the wheel size, extend the rear out, lift it by a couple millimetres and you have a solid design that can work for a modern Mei Ling. Most importantly though, this is the most Chinese design out of the three. Ample chrome, large grille, sharp headlight design, it’s very fitting. A lot of elements have been taken from the Maxus D90, which is fair, because the design references are there for a reason. Despite this, the vehicle gives the existing design a bit of a spin, and a good one too.
The problem is… the designers inside the meeting room felt that all three of these designs had very large underlying problems within them, and nearly all of them had a hard time reflecting the Mei Ling design language, which was somewhat forgivable given the lack of documentation on the brand’s modern concepts. Regardless, all three designs were quite decent in their own ways, and each will have some influence on the final Mei Ling prototype.
Of course though, as much as I want to, I cannot say there is no winner as per CSC regulations, so the ranking of the top three off most appropriate and fitting designs is as follows:
and 1st place goes to… @Lazar!
Congratulations! Your CSC win is well-deserved. A mix of neat and creative elements, Chinese design and a sense of ruggedness has you with the W, and elements of the vehicle will definitely influence the new SUVs final design.
Speaking of final design... I've been working on it a bit too. This was the rough idea I wanted the entries to get at:
That mix of utilitarian and modern. An imposing, wide stance, and so on. Of course, all this is preliminary and is subject to change later. Perhaps Nobushigahara’s design language may help quite a bit with it too.
But oh well, what can you do. Thank you wonderful fellas and DoctorNarfy for submitting your entries. It was a fun CSC