Styling of a completely new range
It was a dream come true for Scania’s design team – to style a completely new truck range for the very toughest construction operations, and to do it in close cooperation with future users of these new vehicles.
“As a designer, what more can you ask?” says Kristofer Hansén, Head of Styling and Industrial Design at Scania.
The XT range is the second phase in Scania’s new generation of trucks, designed for heavy, tough and rough construction operations. It has been built using Scania’s modular system as a base, but many new parts had to be designed to complete the new range.
Describing their work with the new construction vehicles, Scania’s designers sometimes talk about “being true to the materials”.
“Everything added to this range has its function and is thought out from the users’ point of view,” Hansén explains. “For example, the new bumper is extremely robust and efficient. There is no plastic and no extra parts – it’s a solid metallic bumper. It’s reliable and it works perfectly, and that’s what its design expresses.”
In his work as team leader for the exterior design, Anders Lundgren had to stay true to the key words “athletic”, “dynamic” and “recognisable”, the same key words he adhered to when developing the new generation long-haulage vehicles. “But with these new construction vehicles we introduced another key word – “authentic”, Lundgren says.
“In the construction range it’s very much about heavy work,” he continues, “and that should be experienced in the materials we are working with. Being ‘authentic’ means you never compromise with material. It’s a challenge to style parts in four-millimetre high-tensile steel instead of plastics, and make it work together with the rest of the cab and truck. The feature lines had to be adopted in a certain way. Looking at the final result, I’m truly proud of the work the team has done. I do think we succeeded in expressing the strength of the design in a honest and unique way.”
Lead Exterior Stylist Allan Macdonald stresses the importance of Scania’s modularisation in a project such as the new XT range. “Functions are top of the list on a truck like this,” he says. “You can’t have different functions compromising each other. And as the functions are so visible you can’t separate the styling from the function.”
Another example of the very visible functions is the side step on the body which has been integrated in these trucks to let the driver have a good view over the tipper body. “It’s strong, rigid and combined with a steady roof handle for the driver,” Macdonald says. “This is typically a functionality made for the driver.”
The same driver focus is involved in developing a new interior for the construction vehicles. Anna Börjesson Bodestig, Senior Industrial Designer, describes it as “an optimised day cab for a more tough and rough working situation”.
“We have focused on making the interior as functional and durable as possible,” she says. “We have optimised many small details – the extendable instrument panel, more flexible storage, a rear window, new seats, new mats with higher edges – all to give the construction drivers their best working environment ever.”
Another important focus area for the interior design has been safety
“For a construction driver it’s important to have very good direct vision around the cab and the possibility of reaching all buttons and other things around him or her easily,” she says. “Several small details come together here to optimise the construction driver’s environment.”
A sometimes forgotten safety factor is the impact of colour and material on the driving environment. For Christina Isomaa, Team Leader of Colour and Trim at Scania’s design team, this is an important matter. “We make colour and material choices optimised for our customers and their needs,” she says. “An obvious aspect is to choose easy-to-clean materials for the interior in order to keep it fresh. Interior colours are created for both comfort and safety at the same time. To handle a heavy construction vehicle in a stressful environment, the focus should be completely on the driving. Our target has been to create safety through our colour harmony in the cab; it should please you, not disturb you.”
For the exterior the opposite is true. “Blaze Orange is one colour among many in our Scania palette,” Isomaa says. “The choice here was easy. Orange is a strong colour – a strong colour for a strong brand. It’s also about safety, of course. These vehicles operate in surroundings where their visibility is essential. Orange is, in many ways, nature’s own warning colour.”