A unique agency that works in the space between design, product and brandc

Founded in 2000, Car Design Research undertakes research projects to usefully inform our clients’ creative projects. We are fluent in car design, see things from a customer point-of-view, and embrace the connected, autonomous, shared, electrified future — and we also take our expertise in this sophisticated and emotive area into non-automotive projects.
Our heartland; working closely with the client team to define their challenge, to create robust and exciting future brand, design and product visions — along with compelling justification to gain buy-in — and then help them execute their strategy within the company.


Challenge - Vision – Rationale
Providing client teams with rich, useful ‘food’ that enables them to make their creative leap from a firmer and higher start point: best practice, trends and forecasting, and powerful insights from research in specific areas relevant to the client challenge.


Best practice – Trends - Insights
Considering potential design implications, exploring directions these might best take, and then realising these as initial design ideations in 2D or 3D digital form.


Exploring – Realising – Execution
Curating experiences that bring clients into direct contact with relevant stimuli and people, and co-creations sessions with other creatives.


Experiences – Co-creation – Workshops
A qualified external view on client issues; headline expert insights, large customer surveys, and rigorous audits for brand, design, product and perceived quality.


Insights – Surveys - Audits
Delivering engaging talks to a range of audiences, ‘master-classes’ to elevate in-house know-how, and design contests and seminars to engage with new ideas and audiences.


Talks – Classes – Events

We work directly with the design leadership of automotive and tech brandsc

95% of our work is for R&D teams within car companies. We also work for other automotive agencies, tiered suppliers and for non-automotive brands who value working with a team fluent with the world’s most sophisticated consumer product, understand commercially critical emotive customer relationships and help them realise commercially more successful designs.

"Car Design Research worked very closely with me to develop a new Design Strategy for Volvo cars that we're rolling out now. Their work was both clear and visually strong for us to use in Design, but also had the commercial substantiation valued by our management team."

Thomas Ingenlath
CEO Polestar, Previously Chief Design Officer, Volvo
Testimonial logo

"When we needed a credible and knowledgeable outside point of view, we naturally turned to Car Design Research. Their vast knowledge of all things design, experience in the field and network of design professionals establishes them as a reference point for car companies."

Laurens Van Den Acker

Chief Design Officer, Renault Group

"What makes the research work of CDR unique is that they understand design and have a passion for it. It allows them to create studies and insights that resonate with designers and make sure that what they do is a real added value to the creative process."

Lowie Vermeersch

Founder & Creative Director

"I've been fortunate to work with some very strong internal creative teams but there is always value in having external input, and for several years I've much valued close support from the team at Car Design Research. Most recently they have worked with me to create key design management tools for Kia and Hyundai that will enable us to consistently differentiate our brands and elevate the contribution design makes to our business. Some agencies deliver useful research, some have expertise in the automotive sector, and a few get car design; in my opinion CDR is unique in having all three of these things."

Peter Schreyer

Executive Design Advisor, Hyundai Motor Group

"Car Design Research brings a unique perspective to projects, adding significant value through their expertise. Their collaboration with internal teams is consistently smooth and professional, ensuring exceptional outcomes. With a deep understanding of the automotive industry and meticulous attention to detail, CDR has helped us push boundaries and create standout designs. Their research-driven approach and strategic guidance have been invaluable in navigating the ever-changing market and meeting customer demands."

Stefan Sielaff

Vice President Global Design, Geely, Zeekr

"I’ve worked with Car Design Research both at Calty Design and ED2, and what I’ve always found is that their research, insight, opinion, and strategic advice consistently adds unique value to our projects. I love their passion for all things design. CDR’s balance of clear vision and creativity, especially in the world of car design, has inspired our design teams to look beyond the expected to deliver real results for our customers."

Ian Cartabiano

VP Advanced Design, Calty Design Research, Toyota/Lexus

"We retained CDR for a comprehensive study on our brand, the beating heart of the our business. Their work enlightened unknown strengths which will make our business run faster in current races. Even more important, they suggested unforeseen game fields where our business proposition is encountering major interests. In essence, our heart was looked after extremely well."

Silvio Pietro Angori

CEO, COO, Pininfarina

Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo
Company logo

A core team of automotive design experts with a diverse body of associatesc

CDR are based in Cambridge, UK, with presence in London, UK, USA, China and Europe. We are unusual in having a core team of automotive design research professionals that then harness a unique body of well informed associates from Europe, Asia, the US and beyond; with expertise in automotive, mobility, and UX design — and several other fields.
Geoff Wardle
Patrick Fuller
Demian Horst
Sarah Douglas
Fabio Filippini
Peter Naumann
John Fu
Tom Matano
Paul Snyder
Paolo Tumminelli
Christopher Butt
Thomas Ridge
Flag Product Specialist
Thomas brings a high level of experience and abilities in automotive research, drawing from finance, engineering and sales experience to inform and substantiate much of the contexts of the creative process in new vehicle development programmes — and particularly advanced product planning. His automotive OEM experience includes managing multi-million pound programmes, leading long term planning process and competitor analysis for the C-suite.
Sam Livingstone
Flag Director
Sam has taken a keen childhood interest in cars and design through design and design management degrees to setting up CDR in 2001. There he has worked closely with many design directors to lead automotive design strategy projects for half of the world’s car companies. Prior to founding CDR he was a management consultant, director and shareholder of Car Design News, and has for the last 22 years tutored at London’s Royal College of Art on the Intelligent Mobility Design programme (previously Vehicle Design) now as Visiting Professor. He also sits on the judging panel of iF Design, and is an award winning critical writer on car design.
Robert Dooley
Flag Design Strategist
Robert works across all areas of CDR projects, in particular on areas that concern emergent technology and creative process. A champion of new mobility (and cycling), he is writing up PhD research that brings computational methods and automation technologies to automotive design practice. Robert holds an MA Vehicle Design (Distinction) from Royal College of Art and a BA Sustainable Design (First Class) from Falmouth University. 
Ethan Robertson
Satoshi Wada
Jason Hill
Peter Stevens
Adriana Monk
Dale Harrow
Miika Heikkinen
Li Chi Fu
Martin Hu
Bumsuk Lim
Raphael Zammit
Ben Urwin
Elliot Richards
Lei Xing
Samuel Chuffart
Satoshi Wada