So, your company wants to launch a dynamic, four-door sedan? A car that is aggressive enough for fathers to lust over it, and yet practical enough to carry a family much in the way the ubiquitous crossovers would? You should gather all your best designers, let them at a clean sheet of paper, even let them employ funky details such as a fake floating roof – why not? Just make sure of one thing…
When the seventh generation of the Hyundai Sonata came out in 2014 there was a strong sense of disappointment, as the new model seemed to have lost most of what the previous, game-changing generation so special. Gone were the bold swoops and a coupe-like shape, replaced with a more “mature” design that was neither as sophisticated or as original as the best rivals. It is easy to understand what Hyundai was going for, trying to appeal to conservative buyers without alienating those who liked the design of the sixth generation, but it is fair to say the execution should have been better. Consumers noticed and voted with their wallets: the seventh generation has so far been unable to match the annual sales figures of its predecessor.
Chevy showed off its new Cruze hatchback today, and it’s a pretty good-looking car, with styling that manages to strike a good balance between an aggressive front and a family-friendly shape, and has the potential to do pretty well for the brand. However, there is no denying that its overall stance and some of the detailing look a lot like one if its closest competitors in the marketplace… [Read more…]
You ever look at a good-looking car for the 100th time and then it hits you just how much one aspect of its design reminds you of another car? Not necessarily a big thing, but one small detail that has you wondering “huh, I wonder if they really came up with this on their own or whether, maybe subconsciously, they were influenced by that other car”. Well, I had one such moment with the Mazda CX-5, one of my favorite compact SUVs, when I looked at its headlamp and fenders and realized just how much they look like those on the… [Read more…]
You know the feeling when you’ve worked on something for a while, and then the end result is really great? At first you’re happy with how it all turned out, and you’re looking forward to all the accolade you’ll receive. But then it dawns on you that, before long, others will probably copy your good solution because, hey, if it works why not copy it? That is what I imagine Jeep felt like when it put the finishing touches on the Mk IV Grand Cherokee. [Read more…]
Is your company about to launch your first S-class competitor? Let’s see if you did your homework:
- Purpose-built RWD platform? Check
- Tons of tech, only some of it useful? Check
- A suitably pompous name, maybe derived from a dead language like Latin? Check
- A classy design that does not look like a FWD car from two classes below? Umm…
Some people may forget but VW was in trouble in the US well before Dieselgate hit the fan. Causes included a narrow model range and SUVs too expensive for the marketplace, but arguably the biggest reason VW was less than halfway towards its stated 800,000 units per year target was that consumers were losing interest in the boring designs of the mainstream Jetta and Passat sedans. VW had to do something, and the MY 2014 Jetta is what it came up with… [Read more…]
The new Audi A4 is not exactly the most original-looking of cars – it looks almost like the previous generation, with a hint of the big-brother A6 and sporty-brother TT mixed in. But that is to be expected, as Audi is the mayor in all-models-should-look-similar-to-establish-a-family-look-town. Alas, the new A4 also borrows a design element from a quite different source… [Read more…]
Now, don’t get me wrong – I want Alfa Romeo to succeed just like the next person. If that means they need to copy from the best, well, so be it. But in their rush to finish the Giulia in time (the development took a record 26 months) I feel that Alfa’s designers borrowed a little too liberally, copying the good stuff as well as the bad, and not just from the car you are already thinking of… [Read more…]
This may be one of those situations where you’ll say “Hey, the end product looks great, so what are you complaining about?”, but the Infiniti’s designers desire to pay homage to one of its competitors (aka copy its design) is just too obvious to ignore.