In Conversation with Patrick le Quément

Automotive designer Patrick le Quément spearheaded the designs behind 60 million cars and Renault’s campaign to build the image of innovation and quality it enjoys today.

During an interview with presenter and content creator Jess Rogers, Patrick discussed his journey from his very first visit to the UK as a 12-year-old and his studies at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts (BCU predecessor institution) to his impressive career at Simca, Ford, Volkswagen Group and Renault.

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0:07 Speaker 1: it's now time for me to introduce our next two guests. first up is Jess Rogers. Jess who will be interviewing Patrick le Quément tonight is a broadcast journalist a presenter and content creator across sport, sustainability and adventure for the likes of Sky Sports, Eurosport and sale GP. Jess is also the co-founder and creative director of environmental startup carbon jacked. Jess completed a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism from BCU. and on now to Patrick le Quément, born in Marseille France. Patrick was sent to school in the UK when he was just 11 years old. He soon decided that he wanted to become a designer and he arrived in Birmingham in 1962 to study industrial design at the Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts one of the colleges which ultimately became BCU after graduating in 1966 Patrick was keen to become a designer for a top automotive company as he had grown incredibly passionate about cars. He secured himself a role at Simca which was later bought by U.S based Chrysler as an automobile designer. Patrick soon moved to Ford where he worked for 17 years for both Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany, working his way up the ladder to become head of design in Germany. At Ford Patrick was responsible for the design of the likes of the Ford cargo and the Ford Sierra, a vehicle that had a significant influence in the automotive industry the alumnus joined the Volkswagen Audi group in 1985 for two years before he was given the opportunity to take charge of design at Renault. He arrived as the vice president of design but he eventually worked his way up to senior vice president. Patrick's first major project at Renault was the Twingo, this year marks 30 years since the Renault Twingo was launched in Continental European markets and it is now in its third generation. It's a four-seater City car that was designed under the direction of Patrick who took an unusual approach and added a front-end layout to the car that resembled a smile, as well as the Twingo, Patrick spearheaded Renault’s campaign to build the image of innovation and quality it enjoys today, leading on the designs of the likes of the scenic aspass, spider, Kango, Laguna, avantime, McGann and zero emission Vehicles, the tweezy and Zoe as well as the low-cost dasier range. It's a lot of vehicles. From his time at Ford to Renault and everything in between Patrick has now been responsible for an incredible 60 million cars in his career and he's won several major industry Awards. Since leaving Renault in 2009 Patrick has also designed over 30 luxury Yachts as well as co-founding the sustainable design school in France. Could we have a round of applause for our guests Jess and Patrick please [Applause] 3:08 Jess: Hello everyone, good evening good evening everyone, wow, what's what intros were they Patrick quite nice weren't they? 3:21 Patrick: Indeed, we just saw the long list I heard of the long list here 3:25 Jess: um Patrick was just telling me that um in in English we always say that you're um you get a big head your head swells when you you know when things are going your way and in French it's your ankles 3:37 Patrick: it's your ankles yes 3:39 Jess: so um I can assure you Patrick hasn't got any swollen ankles out there. um but yeah thank you so much for all being here this evening, it's an absolutely honour to come back um listening to the amazing performances out there and looking at the exhibition um makes me really proud to have been at BCU um and to have graduated here and um yeah Patrick welcome back. 4:00 Patrick: thank you. 4:01 Jess: um now we always talk about cars when it comes to you most people associate you with cars but I would like to start by asking you what do you say you do or how would you describe your career yourself, what are you? 4:20 Patrik: um I think I'm a missionary basically, you know, I've I've promoted design and I've promoted the rise of Design within companies and very much so this has been really one of my fundamental goals and I'm pleased to see that in many ways this has succeeded and when I see the the role that designers have today when you know, and I compare it to the times when I began, it's it's really you know made a difference I was thinking that you know when I left uh Renault I I um I was contacted by the Chinese Society of automobile engineers and they they knew that I wouldn't work for a Chinese company because that was outside uh possibility, I didn't want to but what they wanted to ask me to help them is how do you raise the position of Design within corporate uh you know within large companies and this I did, and in fact I made 11 trips to China giving conferences and so on so forth, so yes that's been my really my life's uh journey is to to work on that. 5:44 Jess: fascinating, a missionary because I think so often you'll get spoken about and introduced but I I always like to find out from the person themselves how they how they perceive themselves. Okay, well let's take it back to the beginning a little bit okay, Patrick you're a child you you were born in south of France in Marseille um but then you went to you came to England at the age of 12 um to study here you first of all went to London then to Kent and before that though I just want to ask you what type of childhood did you have and were you always interested in cars? 6:26 Patrick: the answer is yes so I I was the the son of a doctor in the Foreign Legion and my mother was English but I never learned you know, we never spoke well I never learned English until until 12 and in fact my parents they spoke in English when they didn't want the children to understand so and they said so certainly not the sort of thing one would do today um and um yes I love cars and and at the time my father had a a a car where half of the family or because we were quite quite a few, there were five children but as we drove as he drove in France there weren't that many cars on the road for a start and there weren't very many different brands and each person was had chosen a brand 7:20 Jess: so each of you children we would count them off 7:22 Patrick: you know and being the youngest they gave me Renault as the the brand and this became my favourite brand because I always won you see there were more Renaut’s than anything else. 7:39 Jess: what a story um well we know that you ended up at Renault but before we get there you you came to, what you you came to the UK at the age of 12 not knowing English so you have to be a very abrupt um learning of the language then um and then you ended up in Birmingham at BCU at the age of 18. 7: 52 Patrick: yes, it's a choice, it was definitely a choice 7:56 Jess: well before I ask you why, why Birmingham, why BCU, um what would 18 18 year old Patrick have been like what were you like as an 18 year old? 8:13 Patrick: Well I remember that um the the Headmaster of my school, my College, writing to my mother, my mother told me later that they had made me a prefect because they would rather I was on their side than against them so I thought that was you know, but I imagine I've always been a relatively artistic person you know um I was I played sport, I was a rugby you know and in fact when I was here I played for the Birmingham Architects, um but I was a very artistically oriented I think you know I was fascinated by by drawing and uh I I I I drew a lot even at that period I don't think I was a brilliant student uh I think it was good at art for sure. I passed my you know o levels and a levels but um I really needed a bit of prodding, okay it didn't come naturally, I became a hard-working guy later 9:10 Jess: So from the off you were interested in cars particularly Renault, you were Arty, but you were relatively timid and then you end up in Birmingham, why why Birmingham ? because it was back then it was called Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts and one of the colleges that that then became BCU, why here? 9:29 Patrick: I was fascinated by the Bauhaus, you know which was really the most important School of the 20th century and I had read that um there was a professor in Birmingham who himself had been a very young 23 year old teacher at the Bauhaus and whose name was Nam Slutsky and um that was it, and I said well I'm gonna go to Birmingham because of the Bauhaus, because they had him on a teaching staff and because it had already you know of course had then inquired about all the various schools, and clearly Birmingham was one of the best schools in terms of what was then called product design engineering. So yes and and I have to say I never regretted it you know, it was a I have a very happy uh period in in Birmingham and I I didn't feel um I think I don't think that I wasted my time any any week you know, everyweek I felt I was really learning and so yes um that that's that's what I can say about it 10:39 Jess: so you did product design here and we've spoken about that you're interested in cars from from an early age but why product design? what was it about actually trying to build a car design a car that interested you? 10:50 Patrick: Well, um yeah it there wasn't a course on automobile design and Noam Slutsky being a Bauhaus man, um didn't like anything to do with styling and in fact he had a a bet Noir named Remo Louis uh you know Remo Lowry the Great American Franco American designer who used to say that the best the best curves are the sales curves you know all the dice Cisco something like that and he felt, Noam Slutsky, that uh um this man was a heretic you know that he was just a money-oriented and didn't think about design being good for uh the living and so on so forth so you just couldn't mention a styling or Remy Louis or if so you had to you know go out and rinse your mouth and come back you know so he certainly wouldn't have spoken to to us if we had mentioned Remy Louis so we forgot about cars there was a couple of us, trita, you know there were three who like cars but we drew, we uh drew and at in the evening we would compare sketches but as soon as the teachers would come in we you know we'd put everything back and hide it that's the way it was 12:10 Jess: so it wasn't as straightforward as uh as we think it might have been haha. okay so take us back to your experience at um at University what were the Halls that you were walking around? like give us a flavor of of what it looked like what it felt like. 12:23 Patrick: um well this morning I had to walk through some of the the shops and I I thought I I felt there was the same sort of spirit, certainly not the size uh and and probably again not certainly the machines were are so far more uh modern and uh and and adapted to uh to the to the current um needs but um I I studied in a couple of places uh three places in fact one in Bourneville one in uh I think it was in Broad Street and um and then of course I went to Gosta Green in the last couple of years and Gosta Green was just brand new you know and we uh this was uh for us quite remarkable but we were not that many students, I think we must have been about 100 about under 10 so there were 10 students probably okay in product design engineering and they were all Brits you know they were I was the only uh only the French frog. 13:29 Jess: and I’ve got a question for you then about that time, so you were here in the 1960s what car did you like that was on the road? 13:39 Patrick: Well I I loved all the um all the English roadsters, you know the mg or or healy um and these these I had all you know my eyes were on those you know I I just love those those cars and I I love the the because probably of my Bauhaus like teaching um the notion of lightness and essential use of material what um Colin Chapman used to he referred to um light is right you know and and so I I'm very much into that that's why I today I've have difficultlu with these huge bricks that are on the road but um so yes I was very very much limit of these kind of cars 14:30 Jess: okay, well after University we know that you went on to have have a lot of success but it wasn't necessarily as easy to get that first in the car industry as people might expect so can you um, you knew what you wanted to go into which I also want to say a lot of people don't know at that age do they? you you had your passion you to do but how did you get that first job? 14:57 Patrick: it was very difficult I wrote a lot of letters, um and 15:02 Patrick: over 100 letters yeah I believe 15:04 Patrick: 100 letters yeah and in fact I got three answers, which is a you know terrible today when I was the head of design I ensured that we answered people within a week and even kids of eight years old and so on because it was abominable. so so in fact uh three companies were interested, turned out one was they didn't tell me but they invited me in fact was to translate which was not exactly my my thing and um I got an offer from Ramon Louis in Paris but I basically I had to choose between having a roof or being able to feed myself and then the other company was Simca which was a French manufacturer and they offered me a salary which meant that I could actually live somewhere with a roof and and feed myself so the choice was kind of you know made very easily 16:05 Jess: and then you spend a few years there but before moving on very shortly okay 16:09 Patrick: very short 16:10 Jess: very short very short before you went to Ford 16:13 Patrick: yeah, one of the things which doesn't appear to too often but is I spent a few uh months in Simca and there there was an American designer who taught me an enormous amount he was a one of the former Mustang designers and he we didn't have that much work and he uh he was like a teacher to me and I progressed and began doing things that weren't used you know weren't uh already in used by French designers or European designers he’s one of the first guys to use acrylic paint and he's always made huge illustrations so I learned all this thing and we elected to go out of the back door and create a company which we called style International and we offered our services to Simca which was just a mad mad thing and we actually did win one car which was Zinc 1000 prototype it was it went all the way to actually being photographed as a as a vehicle and then um um there was May 1968. and that was the students revolvt one of the men is in France and um and and we lost all our business so I had to look for a job and so I applied um I I applied to Ford and General Motors and Ford replied very quickly and they replied because they had lost 16 designers to uh what became well what was British Motor Corporation and the design centre was here in Birmingham and so I was offered a job immediately as I flew over and I was hired immediately. 18:04 Jess: um before we move on to what you were doing at Ford you've touched on a couple of different things and first of all you said that you're a missionary but would you also describe yourself as a creative? 18:15 Patrick: oh very much so I think so uh you are being bold but yes yeah absolutely I've been fascinated by by create creativity, I've been uh very much involved for myself putting groups in creating the conditions for people to to be more creative the environment being extremely important um and uh yes I I feel that all my life has been associated with uh with creativity very much involved 18:57 Jess: yes so when you're at Ford uh we touched upon this person when we were talking um but you didn't go straight away and work solely on cars did you tell us a bit about what you were doing at Ford? 19:04 Patrick: well at at um at Ford at the beginning I was I was asked to contribute to various designs okay um and I I always lost and I was 19:15 Jess: what do you mean by that? 19:17 Patrick: well namely that I never was I was never chosen so I was not chosen because this was an interior design and the chief designer of the time was a man called Uver Banson and he um uh we had great conversations and he liked what I did but basically I was looked upon as being too advanced and my projects were never chosen because of that. um you know with after a while it got a bit painful but he uh then made me an offer to go back to college um to study it for an MBA so I did I did that in uh what is now known as uh Anglia Ruskin University so I I worked part of the week in in the design centre and the rest of the week I was studying which meant I studied every weekend you know because there were some subjects which I wasn't too good fortunately my wife was great at good graduated in you know in business so she could help me a lot yeah. 20:23 Jess: so you ended up working on lorries at Ford. 20:30 Patrick: That was much later 20:34 Jess: okay 20:35 Patrick: no later because I moved from Britain I got a promotion went to Germany, stayed in Germany for a while and then for a few years and then I came back to Britain and when I came to Britain then I was in a position a title was executive of um of advanced and truck design and then I worked yes and I worked on one truck which happens to be one of the two projects that I've I always quote um as being the ones that I've been very much uh you know I feel the closest to and the most challenging uh the Twingo which we probably will talk about and this was the Ford Cargo and one interesting thing about these two projects in both cases the head you know the the president or whoever that the top person was somebody who was new in a position of of overseeing everything including design so basically somebody was was you know knew nothing about design and in each case managed to sell them a very modern design and had they probably had a lot of experience they would never approve them but the four cargos yeah that was really I think a very modern truck, it was elected truck of the year in Europe and it was built for 40 years yeah 22:08 Jess: that's a long time. yeah um speaking of another car or automobile which has been around for a long time it is the 30th anniversary of the Renault Twingo so after spending was it 17 years? 22:21 Patrick: 17 years yeah 22:24: 17 years at Ford, you you left um and you spent a time at the Volkswagen Audi group for a couple of years 22:30 Patrick: yes 22:32 Patrick: and then Renault Came Calling but you had applied there several times am I right? 22:38 Patrick: in fact I had applied 11 times 22:40 Jess: 11 times you're teaching something in perseverance today absolutely so this was it was just whilst you're at Ford or during your career you'd applied here several times? 22:47 Patrick: all the way through 22:49 Jess: okay yeah 22:50 Patrick: but I have to say that they were also the ones who didn't reply to me 22:55 Jess: I hope you chased that up 22:57 Patrick: uh yeah but um yes in fact I was I was in the uh Volkswagen uh Audi group where I was being earmarked to become the first head of the uh the design for the fleet for the only three brands at the time, so there was Volkswagen there was Audi and there was Seat and um suddenly I was contacted by by Renault and say you know the president of the company would really like to to meet with you so um yeah 22:32 Jess: you caught their eye 22:34 Patrick: well let me tell you the story because it's funny uh in Renault they the the head of what was then called styling um asked for an earlier time because of health reasons and within the company being a very very engineer oriented company they had chosen somebody who was not a designer but he was a an engineer coming from a prestigious School in France called Polytechnic you I tend to say about polytechnic that they know everything and nothing else and they they appointed him you know they wanted him to become the head of design uh so everything was going wonderful for this fellow who almost was of course totally qualified because he dressed formally, his father was Gallery owner and he did caricatures you know just what you expect of the designer so there's just the perfect candidate that the um the what you call that the director's Committee in the styling area they said they refused you know they I said they're not okay they said all right we accept each individually that we are not at the right level to become the successor of the current director but we refuse that it should be somebody from either marketing or or age there why don't you go and take a real professional and that's when my name was uh uttered and as a result they contacted me you know um and uh so there I was and one day I was downstairs you know pressing the Bell to go and see the president because we didn't meet in his office but in his home you know so because of you know not being recognized and so on so yeah press the bell and I started talking to him about design and he said no I I don't know anything about design he said oh that's not true you have a fantastic sense of humor you're not sure he said I did go to the Paris Fair last year and we we bought a toilet brush where we were told it was very very designed and there was a smile on his face and I I could see that a guy had a really a good sense of humor, so yeah I he gave me you know a Carte Blanche totally free hand I didn't talk to him about salary because that wasn't my motivation I wanted to get there but I did say that I would only accept the job as long as this new entity which I propose to call design would be on par with engineering and product planning and not answering to engineering and he said absolutely and that was it so I joined you know I was ready 26:28 Jess: and and speaking about that almost um we spoke about it a little bit earlier but about ensuring that that creative role is as important um if not equally important or more important than maybe more traditional roles and to make sure you have the ability to make decisions but we'll go on to that in a second but one of the when you when you were first there one of your jobs was to was to kind of relaunch or re-re-model like previous editions of cars yes one of which was the Twingo. 27:00 Patrick: became the Twingo well in fact just before I left I the Gaston Joshua was the man in charge of styling really on probably the last two days you know in December I I was appointed on the um basically the first of January 1988 and he gave me two keys and he said uh this is the the keys where we have two models put it nothing the models not prototypes of a um entry level vehicle which we had proposed but um it was um it was not approved to go ahead because the the cars proved to be not to be uh economically sound you know that clearly we were going to lose money and one must remember that I was joining a company which was close to bankruptcy okay as soon as I arrived I wrote my little two keys and I said I want to see the cars you know so they brought these two these two models one was not I felt not terribly interesting it was had been a card designed by Marcelo Gandini which looked to me like an anteater it was thin and then there was this little car which was a one box design so you know one box one silhouette it was smaller than what the Twingo was and in fact in in when I looked at it I felt it might have been a vehicle uh for City and in France we have a something which I don't think exists in England and and uh I don't think it's a great idea but it's to allow people of 17 before they have their driving license that they can drive these small what they call them what 28:47 Dangerous: dangerous okay 28:49: dangerous yes um and um I thought it was close to that you know in terms of feeling you did you wouldn't probably want to go and drive on the autoroute, motorway you know with your family and so on um so the first thing I did is I arranged for a meeting with the with the president who was um Levy he was the one that had given me the assignment to bring back Innovation to Renault that was you know the Carte Blanche was that, you you have really a totally total free and you must make the recommendations for Renaut to move from these rather boring cars that we've been making in the past he was new right he he was he was not a man from the motor trade he had been in steel and something else um and he came to Renault when the president was assassinated by a left-wing group so he'd had only been there a year and anyway um I asked him to come and have a look at the car and I said you know I know it has lots of problems associated with the cost but I I think we should give it another go. it's not the right type of car yet it's too small and so on it should be made into a mammoth but it's it's got to increase and in fact it was a very interesting car but it extremely sad looking interesting enough and so the car evolved and we made it just a little bit bigger but I certainly was not one to push for you know mammoth you know gigantic cars not at all just had to be right with an interesting concept on the interior, we didn't we weren't close to that yet but you know the one that they became. but um he made it about the right size and I felt happy and there was a a very uh stressful period because the person who had designed the the car who had followed on uh the development he was the same because of course he would put him on there and um who today by the way is the head of stilantis design um it's a very clever one of the best designers I know but he couldn't come up with a good a good front end and I was into this idea that this car had the potential of being something very different that we should forget about you know aggressive look and that we should go for something radically uh different and then one morning I did what I had sort of promised that I wouldn't do I actually did a sketch the reason why I did this sketch and why I had never want to do that is because I had a group of designers a large group and I thought in in a way it was disrespectful you know 31:48 Jess: to sketch yourself 31:50 Patrick: if the boss does the drawing then you know what are we sort of you know slaves or whatever so um but this time it was urgent you know we were coming to a show and therefore I did this sketch and it's a very simple sketch and it just showed this car from the front with this big smile and it that eyes and inside was a fellow with a large grin and I say okay this is what we're going to do you know we're going to do a happy car and in French we call it la voiture du bonheur, love where children are the car of Happiness so it was totally the opposite of what people were looking you know serious or whatever no that's not that was that was not what we wanted to do and so we modeled that and uh lo and behold came the time for a major review I remember it took place you know upstairs and they the economics were still not right you know and most people felt very sad um but somebody said well let's go and have a look at the model you know even though it was far from improve but it was not conclusive so we went downstairs and there was this model in the show one model covered and we took off the cover and and the car smiled to the president and he smiled back and I said to him um this is not a car this is a pet and uh I added that um in the winter you know when you go you drive home if it's snowing or the weather is bad you don't leave it parked on the curbside you put it under your arm and you install it in front of the chimney and everybody because I was new in the company and everybody thought I was going to be fired and I would say some of them stepped back because they did want to get blood all over them and the president totally understood he really understood what it's all about and um and the program continued and we we went on and until we had a market research 34:10 Jess: well I just want to take you back with it but that was all about giving a car a personality wasn't it um is that important to you do you have you always tried to do that? 34:19 Patrick: essential, essential and also as a designer you know I've worked now for well several companies I never imposed a design Patrick le Quément signature never there is no you know when I was working in in Ford I was working according to DNA of Ford when I was in Volkswagen Audi it was you know Audi's Volkswagen and Seat so when I arrived in Renault my the my first things that I worked on was the the the company DNA which was not a question of creating it it was there it was just assembling it but there was an awful lot of thinking so um a company quite remarkable in terms of its past you know that that um he had invented you know after if you just look at the after the war but even before the war Louis Renault in France was known as Mr 1000 patents that's how you know creative he was and then um after the war um there was the the you know the the 4L the Carrell you know which was the first car with the tailgate and then after that there was the R16 which had this model interior and then after that it was the R5 and so then the espresso it was a highly creative company and then they had gone into this period of coming out with these extremely boring cars you know very very boring you know yeah so um yeah I was I was really getting into the history trying to understand it not to you know to make sure that I was on course and there I had an enormous amount of back-end from the president and that's 36:26 Jess: I I could talk to you about Renault all day but I know we have got a time limit but you really did manage to convince and get on with the president I know you became very close and he took risks on your behalf I suppose because there were some negative feedback I suppose in some ways on the Twingo um was it polled that 50 of people hated it 36:41 Patrick: well they didn't dislike it they hated it 36:43 Jess: fifty percent of people surveyed hated the twingo but 25 percent loved it 36:61 Patrick: I mean not liked it loved it and 25 said yeah but I certainly wouldn't be the first I wouldn't want to be the first one in the street and the you know the market research arrived and everybody saw the 50 and I saw the 25 percent and I I asked I said well what is our ambition in terms of market part you know and basically you know we were in kind of four percent you know and we had these 25 percent of people I mean they went as far as to say we will wait until it comes out but then there was an enormous amount of pressure to change the car and basically to make a resume or what it was is wipe the smile off that car you know make it serious make it look serious that people don't look at it as being a joke no um and um and so I left that meeting, no support abs- no no I mean of course history is Rewritten you know because 37:52 Jess: like the people you know 37:55 Patrick: I love photographs but but everybody every today everybody was for but back then there was nobody nobody nobody and I went on a long weekend to the south of France and um it was before emails and and I just wrote a little note to the president so you know president but and I said you know the biggest risk for the company is not to take any risk and I ask you to choose between instinctive design and extinctive marketing and he wrote back on the note and sent it back and he said je suis d’accord um I'm completely in agreement with you my dear director we’ll go let's go ahead and that was it that was a decision 38:46 Jess: but not many people would take those risks necessarily but you knew it was right you knew in your gut that that was the car you what you wanted to create and you knew it would be a success 38:54 patrick: yeah because I knew that well I felt that this car I never I never had seen anywhere in my life results as good as that you know and just just one thing there was um David Ogilvy had this fantastic quote he wrote you know the agency overview Mathis he said most companies use market research like a drunkard uses a Lamppost more more for support rather than illumination and I think it's absolutely true you know and so uh 39:31 Jess: you should put that on a t-shirt yeah I like that 39:34 Patrick: yeah and to me it's so true so it wasn't you know my ego talking is just I was convinced it was going to work and it worked I mean the first day I drove in Paris to the to the the to the motor show at the traffic lights people will stop and they would stop they would smile and they said what is it you know and when we got to the murder show it was the biggest success ah that the the the the last one as big as that was that the launch of the Citroen DS and we were facing the Peugeot stand and there were an awful lot of people on the Peugeot stand because they couldn't get on the Renault stand and they were upstairs to look at the launch you know 40:19 Jess: how brilliant 40:20 Patrick: yeah 40:21 Jess: and I mean and we we could talk about that all day but I mean what what are cars for and and design for if it's not to make people smile and make people happy I mean I wish there was more smiling cars out there but we we must move on from Renault but I do want to ask you as an environmentalist myself and you've mentioned how how you're interested in the environment as the the rise of electric cars and and how you see that evolving and and Technology also um kind of pushing the car industry forward how how have you seen it change? 40:53 Patrick: I became very much aware of uh you know adding concerns about the environment uh I must say rather late because it was in the late 90s. Um but then I I went on a trek in in Brazil and and saw you know Plastics everywhere and um so uh to me electric cars was going to be a play major role and in fact in the concept cars that we we did, we did a whole series of electric cars which people don't remember too much but they um, I'm writing an article on that right now, but anyway uh the future yes electric cars the only problem I have with an electric cars is the fact that uh when you come come down to it if you produce electricity from Cohen Burnett called coal Burning uh Central uh you know power stations yeah then it's it's not that as interesting as it is you know you really have to have uh to to you know if you saw that Source back to the producing of electricity this is where it all starts so it's dangerous when one limits one's at you you only a very small part and I'm interested in you know in the big in the bigger picture basically. 42:15 Jess: absolutely and but before we move past cars I want to ask you a very important question if you were a car what would you be Patrick? 42:28 Patrick: um afraid I would still be a Ferrari, 42:31 Jess: not electric and arguably it doesn’t have a smile but makes you smile clearly 42:28 Patrick: Yeah um full of contradictions as you can see you still have to go with that heart though you know what it feels like inside um I so you spent I mean over 50 years working in the in the car industry and now you've moved to boats tell us about that and and you spent about 15 years now working with Yachts and boats 43:01 Patrick: 13 years 43:02 Jess: 13 years 43:03 Patrick: well I I um I left Renault I'll say very quietly I retired um but I I didn't want to as I said you know I did didn't want to spend the rest of my life just cycling or learning to knit or whatever so I what I wanted to do was I wanted to do something new I didn't want to be what some call a trophy designer where they use your name and so on and so I wanted to go into into doing something where I knew nothing I wanted to become an apprentice again I didn't choose the um I didn't choose boats I a sailor I'm not no not a seafaring person I chose me but but just out of luck you know basically I when I left the company I was contacted to help out a large group both building boats to help them improve their perceived quality because I was also a corporate senior vice president of quality in Renault for a few years and and I said yes oh I'll I'll help you out and then I did my job I introduced processes and so on and then they said you know would you be interested to design the our next animal ship and so I know nothing about boats he said well don't worry you'll be in a good team and they'll help you out and and so yeah I designed uh I did the exterior design of this boat it was multi-hull of the year in the United States the European boat of the year and then you know that was my first boat and it was a catamaran and then I had a second and a third and fourth and so on it just went on it just went on forever 44:41 Jess: it shows you like a challenge do you have a boat yourself? 44:44 Patrick: no no no 44:45 Jess: just the cars 44:45 Patrick: no no my original family comes from Brittany and people the britanne you know we never get seasick and and no I I suffer from Earth sickness but not seasickness 45:05 Jess: well um to round off this wonderful chat I mean there's so many areas we we haven't been able to touch on and Patrick will be around for 20 minutes or so after this downstairs if you do have any questions but we're here back at Birmingham City University you have worked across so many different cars so many different design processes learned a lot you're a creative you're a missionary what is one of the key pieces of advice that you were you'd give to people I suppose in their career whatever that career is, but we've spoken about resilience and perseverance what is what is the one thing that you would advise to to be able to keep going? 45:37 Patrick: well I think it's um trying always to look Beyond the Horizon namely not to concentrate your sight on something which is close namely open your eyes to the outside world and this is something which uh I've pushed with my my designers I found that some of my designers when I made a reference to I remember the name Ross lovegrove they didn't know who he was you know and so I I've pushed them to go and look out you know and I send them on transmission to go in in places like Milan so my my thing is looking out never never um just becoming a specialist of a specialist you know it's really looking out broadening your look and accepting the influences from everywhere and I love International Teams for example because it broadens and I had a team of 29 nationalities and it was not accident because it's necessary to open out and have all these influences from the rest of the world and it also stops you from being arrogant be it an arrogant British or an arrogant French very important 46:55 Jess: very important indeed, well Patrick you you are a missionary you are creative and you are responsible for over 60 million cars I want to say a huge thank you for being with us today Patrick le Quement thank you so much everyone it's been an absolute pleasure um to interview you this evening I've been Jess Rogers and Dan we'll pass back to you and then we'll all go downstairs and and have a little drink and chat 47:27 Speaker 1: yeah you've done it that's all that's all I need to say if you want to head back where we came from there'll be a chance to network have a chat have another drink so head back where we came from please thanks very much Jason battery that was that was fascinating 47:39 Jess: Patrick thank you so much. 47:44 Patrick: thank you