Saab History Chats With Saab Designer, Anthony Lo

Posted on 04. Jan, 2008 by in 2000-2009, Designers

anthony_lo_200.jpgThis morning, I had the great opportunity to chat with Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design at the GM Design Center in Europe. Anthony Lo is also a former Saab designer and head of design for Saab Automobile beween 2000 and August of 2004.

Anthony Lo, was responsible as a designer for the Saab 9-X, Saab 9-3X, Saab 9-3 SportHatch as well as the recent Saab Aero-X concept car.

I sincerely thank GM and staff as well as Anthony Lo for answering my many Saab related questions during this time:

This chat took place on GM’s new “GM Next” website between 6:00am and 8:00am.

Here is our entire chat transcript for your reading enjoyment below:

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (05:40):Hi Ryan good to have you in the chat, my name is Vijay Iyer. I’ll be your session moderator for this session, we will start in about 20 minutes

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (05:42): Okay. I’m looking forward to chatting with Anthony Lo. His inspirational design work has really created quite the following and enthusiasm for the Saab automobile brand.

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (05:59): Welcome everyone, my name is Vijay Iyer I’m the manager Design communication for GM Europe and I will be your moderator for this session.

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (06:00): Your host is Anthony Lo, Director Advanced Design GM Europe Design

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:00): Welcome Anthony Lo.

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (06:01): We are ready to take your questions in a second, please make sure that you give us your name and publication/site that your work with with your questions

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (06:03): We are ready to go please shot with the first questions

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:04): What was it like to work with Saab Automobile as a designer, then as head of design?

Anthony Lo says to (06:06): Hi Ryan, it was very different. First is the environment in Sweden

Anthony Lo says to (06:07): It was very exciting to work for a brand that I feel passionate about.

Anthony Lo says to (06:08): The difference is that now I am a lot more involved with the day to day business of the company on a strategic level

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:09): What gave you that passion to work with the Saab brand, and are you involved in shaping Saab’s strategic direction in the future of design?

Anthony Lo says to (06:11): It has a rich history with very distinctive products. Absolutely, I am part of a team that shapes Saab’s strategic direction in design

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:12): This is good to hear.

Anthony Lo says to (06:12): The Aero X is our attempt to give a glimpse of what is coming from Saab brand

Anthony Lo says to (06:13): That does not mean that we will stop there.

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:13): Going back to your time with Saab, I would like to ask you some questions that relate to that experience. First, how and why did the “X” naming suffix come to be, beginning with the Saab 9-X concept car? Were you involved with that ?

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:14): The naming convention itself “X”

Anthony Lo says to (06:17): The ‘X’ naming suffix came from a brain storming sessions between Design and the Saab brand team. It can mean ‘experimental’ or ‘extreme’. It also allows us to use ‘X’ on future show cars.

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:17): Thank you. What inspired the Saab 9-X? / Are there other cars besides the updated Saab 9-5 that will be inspired by the 9-X?

Anthony Lo says to (06:20): The 9-X and the Aero X were inspired by Saab’s aviation heritage (wrap around windscreen, fuselage inspired body section…).

Anthony Lo says to (06:21): And you will see elements of our show cars in all future Saab products

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:23): That is good to hear that there will be more design elements of the Saab’s 9-X that will be applied to future Saabs, moving forward.

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:25): What led to the Saab 9-3X? / Are there more vehicles that will be following this design besides the Saab 9-3 SportCombi in terms of the C-Pillar design element such as the new 9-4x crossover?

Anthony Lo says to (06:49): Ryan, the 9-3X concept was an attempt to broaden the Saab range with an innovative cross over concept. I have to say that we have moved on with design cues after we have done the Aero X

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:50): Okay, that certainly helps give us a better picture of what to expect.

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:51): Speaking about design cues, why did Saab Automobile choose to end production of the 9-3 Hatchback in 2002?

Anthony Lo says to (06:53): Design elements or cues will continue to develop. How we apply to future Saab products will also depend on the market needs

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (07:01): Anthony, in your role you are in charge of Advanced Design for Saab, Opel & Vauxhall. How do you manage and make sure that the brands are cleary differentiated?

Anthony Lo says to (07:07): It helps when I am leading the design strategy development in the Advanced phase. We can monitor and ensure that all new models that are developed in our studios are following the strategies that we laid out

Anthony Lo says to (07:12): This is the beauty of having a global network of 11 design studios that we are continuously connected

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (07:14): In your involvement in the strategic direction of Saab products now, how much were you involved with the 9-4x, new 9-5 as well as the 9-1?

Anthony Lo says to (07:18): Ryan, you seem to know more than I do in new Saab denominations!:)

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (07:18): This brings up a good question, are these naming conventions accurate or not? 🙂

Anthony Lo says to (07:21): Yes, I have been very much involved in the new products and you will see, read, and hear more in the weeks to come

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (07:27): Anthony as a advanced designer you need to look into the future of where design and technology are heading. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Anthony Lo says to (07:30): I get a lot of information from trend and market research. I also attend all international motor shows and design trade shows like the Milan furniture fair.

Anthony Lo says to (07:33): It is also important be aware of social and environmental shifts. Like the recent concerns on global warming will certainly change how we design in the future. It creates challengesand opportunities at the same time.

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (07:31): We’ll see you at the 2008 NAIAS in Detroit next weekend?

Anthony Lo says to (07:34): Yes, I will see you there!

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (07:34): What was your most memorable part about working with Saab Automobile?

Anthony Lo says to (07:39): Ryan, it has to be during the unvealing of the Aero X. I didn’t expect such an overwhelming acceptance of the concept. It helped to confirm that the road we are heading is the right one!

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (07:40): Thank you. I also look forward to meeting with you at the 2008 NAIAS. Any chance you would be available for an interview?

A. Lo Session Moderator says to (07:43): Ryan, we can certainly set up an interview with Anthony at the show.

Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (07:44): Anthony, thanks for your time today, and I appreciate you answering these questions. I plan on sharing them on my website today, Saabhistory.com just after your Bio. I invite you to visit and thanks. See you in Detroit! 🙂

Anthony Lo says to (07:46): Ryan, it was fun chating with you today. I will certainly check out your website later today!

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One Response to “Saab History Chats With Saab Designer, Anthony Lo”

  1. b dash rian

    04. Jan, 2008

    “Ryan – Saabhistory.com says (06:51): Speaking about design cues, why did Saab Automobile choose to end production of the 9-3 Hatchback in 2002?

    Anthony Lo says to (06:53): Design elements or cues will continue to develop. How we apply to future Saab products will also depend on the market needs”

    right… because getting rid of a hatchback in 2002 was dependant on market needs…. i think not. Look at the cars that everyone else came out with immediately after saab stopped making a hatch. Thats right…. Hatch backs… good call saab

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