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Le Design automobile face aux défis de la globalisation et du développement durable : à la recherche de nouveaux paradigmes

Abstract : From the first migration, the human element has caused important interferences in the environmental balance of the planet, some of which are irreparable. Technological development, especially after the Industrial Revolution and more precisely in the 20th Century, has given human action dimension and intensity of industrial scale. It is therefore inevitable that interrelations exist among social human relations, sustainable development and the production of consumer goods. The automobile, one of the most ubiquitous products in everyday life, is one of the main means for human mobility and therefore a vector for the industrial development of consumer goods. Mobility, through the use of automobiles and transportation system, stimulated the establishment, expansion and reorganization of urban spaces, forcing us to go further and faster, consuming increasing amounts of natural resources. An efficient car represents the main demand for the automotive industry for this century. Paradoxically, in the twenty-first century, the automobile, in all its technical evolution, remains engulfed in its initial technical characteristics, as conceived in the late nineteenth century. Within that archetype, three industrial standards are examined for the purposes of the present work (identified along the history of the automobile), namely: the propulsion standard (or energetic standard); the standard of production and that of the architectural configuration of the product. Despite the unquestionable evolution in terms of technical characteristics and of consumer/user relations, the automobile is thought to cater primarily to a market profile based on the patterns mentioned. This fact contributes to the generation of deficient products, particularly as regards the social-environmental plan. In order to comply with such standards, the solutions are conceived in isolation from the context of mobility, and of the real needs attached to the product. When focused on sustainable concepts, the project results favor “value shifts” and do not necessarily constitute a value adding project action. Thus, corporate strategies (which guide the projects) increasingly prioritize the product development phase, when it should actually return to the conception phase, and rethink the main function of the automobile as concerns individual/ collective mobility, associating technical values (tangible, material and objective) to the symbolic ones (immaterial, intangible and subjective). The automobile presently constitutes a formula, much like an industrial recipe that contemplates competitiveness within the economic sphere (when the sustainable concept is approached – social, economic and environmental). The aforementioned standards determine the profile of the next automobile even before the process of conception and development begins. The project teams may compose, adjust and update this “technical puzzle”, by adopting technological solutions available, formal-aesthetic trends, within a limit of industrial cost, and attending to a certain usage and market profile. With the aim of “adding value”, the so called “green” products must present themselves as “ordinary” (in its technical aspects and in its symbolisms) and, at the same time, cannot generate losses and/or deficiencies to the consumers/users when analyzed in light of the present-day technological standards. Rethinking the mobility strategy (and not restricting it solely to the car) requires the integration of all social actors: industry; government and consumers/users. Contrary to common practice, the automobile cannot be thought of in isolation, but as a “part” of a wider system, as both cause and effect, as motive for and motivating of changes which require new conception standards throughout the stages of its lifecycle, and in a global manner.
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Róber Dias Botelho. Le Design automobile face aux défis de la globalisation et du développement durable : à la recherche de nouveaux paradigmes. Science politique. Université de Cergy Pontoise; Universidade federal de Minas Gerais, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012CERG0659⟩. ⟨tel-00961215⟩

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