Geza Loczi (PROD, ’65)
“I think the world of transportation design is more exciting today than ever before.”
Geza Loczi’s first experience in automotive design began with the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild, a model car competition sponsored by General Motors Corporation. His designs for the competition won him a scholarship to Art Center, where he studied Transportation and Product Design. In 1980, Loczi joined Volkswagen as design manager in its Michigan-based studio. He went on to form his own consulting design company, Loczi Design, and worked as a consultant to Volvo both in California and then in Sweden. When Volvo opened the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in California, he was appointed to his current position as director of design. While at Volvo, Loczi has been involved with a variety of designs, such as the Environmental Concept Car, Safety Concept Car and P2 cars such as the S80, V70 and S60. Loczi taught Transportation Design at Art Center from 1986 to 1996.
What led you to a career in transportation design?
When I was around 5 years old, I started noticing the taillights of cars, and how beautiful they were with their red glow. Each model had its own unique beauty. It was fascinating. When I was about 8 years old I started drawing cars, and I realized then it was an art form. I first learned about transportation design through the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. When I was in eighth grade, I built my first car for the junior division. My dad gave me a piece of sugar pine and carving tools, with which I carved my first car and entered it in my first Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild contest. Over the next seven years, I made seven models for the contest. In the sixth year, I won the styling scholarship, and in the final year, 1965, I won the top national awardâ€”a $5,000 scholarship to study transportation design.
What do you see as your most exciting career achievement?
I would have to say it was when I was the interim chairman of design at the Volvo headquarters in Sweden. I was there a year and a half. It was the most exciting job I ever had. We had 14-hour days, but they just flew by because it was fun. I had a great time. But I didn’t want to stay in Sweden for several years, and I wanted to be with my kids in California. So when the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center opened in Camarillo, Calif., I moved back to work there.
What do you think has been the most significant development in the Transportation Design Field in recent years?
Hybrid systems, new power plants and new power trains. Coupled with the acceptance of new design animals such as crossovers, this has been a huge development.
Where do you see transportation design going in the future?
I think the world of transportation design is more exciting today than ever before. We have the availability of producing new power trains, new design and new platforms, and for a designer this means that the sky is the limit. There are some very exciting challenges for designers today; we’re going to have smaller footprints and smaller cars. We’ve been forced into this creativity because of the climate that we’re inâ€”but it’s the type of thing we’ll only do when we’re forced into it. The new kinds of cars, developments, power plants and proportions that we’re working on now leads to new excitement, energy and emotion.
What is your advice for recent graduates in the transportation design field?
My best advice is to never stop sketching. Art Center students have an ability that a lot of people don’t, and they need to continue to nurture that form of communication. Verbal skills are also very important; learn to talk about your designs. It’s easy for people who have good verbal skills to get up and talk about design, but unless you can back it up with communication through sketches or models, it doesn’t have the depth that is necessary. Your communication skills allow you to walk the talk.
What kind of car do you drive?
My personal cars are a red 2005 Lotus Elise, an orange 1979 MGB convertible and a black 2004 Toyota Tacoma pick-up. I recently sold my 1994 Ducati Monster. My lease cars are a burnt orange-red 2008 CX-7 Mazda Cross-over and a black 2008 F-150 Ford pick-up.