A Vehicle with Broad Cultural Appeal

An automotive company sought our help developing a vehicle with broad, international appeal. We designed an immersive research program that took us inside the daily lives of consumers in four countries: China, Brazil, Italy, and US.

Early on, we recognized the challenge of finding a coherent thread across substantial cultural differences. We learned, for instance, that Chinese consumers were interested in an eye-catching type of design they refer to as “daqi” (pronounced dah-chee); Italian consumers needed a vehicle that would fit into their tiny garage spaces; Brazilians favored bold off-roading design cues, even for city driving; and American consumers preferred a casual sense of design and were seeking symbols of authenticity.

In workshop settings with our client, we eventually identified key common themes that guided the development of our design strategy. The vehicle must support adventurous getaways, social outings with multiple friends, and the desire to project a unique identity. 

The research led to the development of the Jeep Renegade, which was introduced in 2015. In spite of its small chassis (it shares a platform with the Fiat 500X), it has managed to fit comfortably into the Jeep family of vehicles, honoring the history of the brand through numerous “easter eggs,” or symbols of the Jeep legacy embedded into the design.

The Renegade has emerged as one of the best-selling SUVs in more than 10 countries and the 2016 model was named Car of the Year in Brazil. The vehicle’s popularity was bolstered by a partnership with the band X Ambassadors who created a song for the Renegade’s TV commercial that celebrates the fun, rebellious spirit of the vehicle. The song became a Billboard hit. SEE THE COMMERCIAL

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