How Much Do You Know About Automotive Design and Production?

By: Mark Lichtenstein

6 Min Quiz

Image: Test Hero Credit

About This Quiz

Automotive design and production are big business. Do you think your knowledge has kept pace? Take this quiz to find out.

The automobile industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. Because of the extreme level of competitiveness, and the changing demands of consumers, automotive design and production are big business. An automaker that fails to keep up with new trends -- heck, an automaker who fails to introduce new trends -- is an automaker that will likely not be around for very long. But, automakers know this. No one is going to launch a new car company with the assumption that they can make a car that will remain the same for very long. Designs have to change and the way cars are produced has to keep pace with the times. For this reason, car designs are being constantly updated. Some designs resonate well with consumers and some don't, but carmakers have to take a chance with their designs and either keep pace with consumer demand or blaze new trails and give car buyers features that they didn't even know they wanted ("need" is the word the industry likes to use, but no one really "needs" Sirius Radio in the car, do they).

Let's find out how much you really know about automotive design and production.

What is a beltline?

The beltline is one of the most important factors in automobile design. It can provide (though not necessarily) safety in side impacts, and gives a car much of its personality. It can also reduce visibility if set too high, and make the side windows much smaller.


What is a car's deck?

The deck can be the lid of a trunk, or the cover of the cargo area of an SUV or hatchback.


What is a car's dog leg?

The dog leg is the part of the back of a car that looks a bit like the hind legs of a crouching dog.


What is DRG?

Down the Road Graphics are the parts of the front of the car that make the brand recognizable, like the graphics and the grille.


What is a car's leafscreen?

The leafscreen is the bit of the car that keep leaves that collect at the base of the windscreen, protecting the engine bay from getting things in it that could damage the car's works.


What is a unibody chassis?

Most cars are made with unibody frames today, but the design element goes back to 1922.


What is Alpina?

Alpina is a tuning company that works on BMWs, modifying the mechanical parts, interior and bodywork.


What do a Ferrari Boxer and a Tesla Model S have in common?

Both cars have a trunk in the front, or a "frunk"


Is Brabus a tuning company?

If AMG is a cold, Brabus is bird flu. While AMG might give a car 500 BHP, Brabus won't be satisfied until that number is closer to 800. In fact, Brabus changes so much about its cars that under German law, they aren't a tuning company, but a manufacturer.


What does the BMW logo symbolize?

While the association between BMWs and airplanes seems obvious, given the company's history in WW2, the logo actually symbolizes the Bavarian national flag.


What was Citroën's big "first"?

Citroën produced FWD technology in 1934, starting a trend that eventually took hold throughout the auto industry.


What is a ladder frame?

The ladder frame is an essential piece of body-on-frame construction, one of the oldest methods of constructing a car. The benefit of this method is that if the body is damaged, the car can be repaired easily because the chassis remains undamaged. The most recently built car with this old body-on-frame construction is the Ford Crown Victoria, which is why it was favored by taxi fleets and police departments for so long.


How did Lotus sell the producers of James Bond on using the Elise in their movies?

When Lotus wanted to temp the Broccolis into using their new car in the James Bond franchise, they just parked one across the street from the production offices and when asked, refused to talk about it. Albert Broccoli pursued Lotus and got the car, which was used as a submarine.


What is the single largest cause of job losses in the US auto industry?

Automation has killed off more jobs in the auto industry than any other factor. Automation can increase productivity, but at the cost of jobs.


The vehicle's "greenhouse" is what exactly?

Owing nothing to greenhouse gases, the greenhouse of a car is the area enclosed in glass.


What is a C pillar?

The C pillar is the rear pillars in a car, which hold up the roof of the car. The A pillar holds up the roof in the front, and the optional B pillar sits between the front and rear doors.


How did BMW come to exist?

BMW was assembled from several companies that merged in 1929.


When did BMW found the Motorsport Division?

In 1972 BMW decided to take on the racing world with the M division, which developed technology which eventually filtered into regular BMW cars.


Why have C pillars gotten so huge?

New safety regulations mean that cars need to be able to support more weight on the roof, so the passenger compartment will not be crushed in an accident.


What is a six line?

The six line extends from the C pillar down and around the rear wheel well. It is a styling element.


What does wedge-positive mean?

Wedge shape can be positive, negative, or neutral. A wedge positive shape means the front end is lower than the back end.


What is a swage line?

The swage line is a line in the side of the car that is there for visual appeal, though they can occasionally help with rigidity and or aerodynamics.


What is Ponton styling?

Ponton styling means the old fashioned styling that included huge separate fenders, running boards, and wood accents on the outside of cars.


Which of these is the name of a BMW design language?

Flame surfacing is an older BMW design language that styled the edges of things like headlights so they looked like flames.


Where did Chris Bangle start his career?

Chris Bangle started his career designing for Opel in 1981


What line of cars did Marcello Gandini contribute to for BMW?

Gandini's contribution to Bavarian Motor Works was the E12 5 series, made mostly in the 1970s.


What "piece of art" is Leonardo Fioravanti known for designing around 1980?

The Ferrari 520 BBi was comfortable, gorgeous to look at, it performed well, and it retains its value well.


What is the name of the city after which Marcello Gandini's contribution to Alfa Romeo is named?

Gandini's Alfa Romeo Montreal was produced from 1970 to 1977 and was from the time when Alfas were unreliable things of beauty.


What Audi did Giorgetto Giugiaro design?

Giorgetto Giugiaro designed only one Audi, the 80. In 1999 he was named Car Designer of The Century, and in 2004 he was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame.


What was Harley Earl the first to build?

Earl's brainchild, the Buick Y-Job, was the world's first concept car.


For which company does Chris Bangle Associates now work?

Sumsung hired Chris Bangle Associates to do design work for them, putting their expertise to work building electronics.


Who is the head of design at Ford?

Callum became the new head of design in 2013, initiating an overhaul of the look of Ford vehicles, so their new tech innovations would be clear to the naked eye.


What is the flagship vehicle of the brand Ralph Gilles runs?

The SRT Viper became the flagship vehicle of SRT when the Viper stopped being a Dodge product.


What was Chris Bangle's unique distinction at BMW?

In 1992 Chris Bangle became the first American Chief of Design at BMW.


Before working for Kia, for which automaker did Peter Schreyer work?

Peter Schreyer was a designer for Audi, where, through his contributions to the creation of the Audi TT, he helped influence the Audi design language.


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