An encounter with automotive in-betweens at the Salon d’Automobile in Paris 2006
"In the past, designers were servants in car companies; today, they are kings," says one of these designers: Patrick Le Quement is head of design at Renault, which was the first car company to create the post of design director. As cars have become better and more similar in quality, aesthetic criteria have become much more important over the last 15 years. Not the functional, but the symbolic-social utility value of a car is the primary incentive to buy today.
In design, however, it is not the unique imaginative power of a designer that manifests itself, but a certain cultural habitus. With Bourdieu, car design can also be seen as a "Social order turned into a body" today. It is a mirror of man’s body dreams. What the cultural scientist Hartmut Bohme writes about the human relationship to animals also applies to the relationship to automobiles in an astonishing way: they are not only useful objects, the human relationship to them also makes them objects of desire "objects of desire, of projection, of exchange and of feelings." The closeness and intensity of the human-animal relationship thus finds its modern counterpart in the human relationship with the car.