By on January 14, 2011

If you like your appliance-style Toyota (there is statistical proof that you are not alone) then better run and buy it now. The Nikkei [sub] rattles its readers this morning with the news that Toyota “plans to build vehicles that are more eye-catching to counter criticism its cars are too bland,”

Jim Lentz, head of Toyota U.S., said that the new Camry, to be unveiled at the New York auto show in April, will already look more stylish. And that’s just the beginning. “In the years to come, you’ll see a much more emotive styling,” Lentz said.

Even Akio Toyoda conceded that “our cars need to be better looking”.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice-president for product management and research and development, promised that Toyota will be “allocating even greater resources to support the creativity of our designers.”

After a carmageddon-induced pause, Toyota will launch ten new models this year, including two Lexi, and one Scion. So again: If you like the understated Maytag look, buy your Toyota now.

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75 Comments on “Toyota Fires Maytag Man...”


  • avatar
    newcarscostalot

    I don’t see the Camry as “Bland.” I don’t like the way it looks, but it is more radically styled than a Hyundai Azera for example.

  • avatar
    James2

    Easier to say it than to do it. Toyota (or Honda) would have been better off to buy Pininfarina when it was up for sale… and then leave them alone.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If Toyota uses the same approach as Honda is using for the 2012 Civic, then ‘bland’ will remain their staple.

    I liked the looks of the 96-01 models the best.

    Toyota will have to match the Sonata/Elantra looks – combined with competitive pricing – in order to pull Camry sales out of their 10-year sales slide.  You can actually goose a Camry all the way up to $37k in the configurator.  The top Sonata barely cracks $30k.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    It’s very nearly a zero-sum game. You could win buyers or you could loose them.
     
    Market research tells Toyota that the “look” of a car is very low down on a buyer’s priority list. Why worry? It will be a mistake for them to try “too hard”.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I know an awful lot of people who feel the look of a car is about one down from the top, after reliability, and won’t buy a car they would be embarrassed to be seen in.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      I’m one of those people. If I don’t like what a car looks like, it never makes my list for further consideration. There’s no shortage of perfectly reliable cars, and I’m not expecting perfection. So what if car “A” is quantifiably 10% “better” than car “B”? If both would serve my needs, I’m going with the one whose appearance I perfer.

    • 0 avatar
      jbcrzn

      I always find it interesting when I receive surveys as to how they are worded, such as “…of the top three considered vehicles, what led you to the final selection?”  Of the top three I considered, aesthetics would not be a consideration, as the “Aztecs” were already filtered out of the selection process, so for years, my survey answers might reflect that I do not care for the looks of a vehicles I drive, when in reality, appearance is one of the most important attributes for my selections.

    • 0 avatar
      PeteMoran

      @ nrd515 and @Steve65
       
      Actually I think I could have phrased that better. Market research tells Toyota that buyers are pretty neutral or favourable about their styling but that when “favourable” it is not critical in their decision. It’s like a “middle path” I guess. Say you had it as a distribution, you’ve got 75% of your potential buyers not at all concerned about styling.
       
      Unless they’ve seen a big change in that sort of response I think they would be wise to stay conservative; the numbers would suggest it doesn’t hurt them, and I don’t believe it can “win” them customers.
       
      @ jbcrzn
       
      I’m fairly certain Toyota are smart enough not to survey their new owners with generalist pre-purchase questions.

  • avatar
    vassilis

    After Sotiris Kovos’s 1999 Toyota Yaris which affected the design of most Toyotas, not much progress has been made.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I’ll believe this when I see it. Bizarre styling can still be “appliance like”, and if it doesn’t work, it’s even worse than “blah”. Toyota and Honda seem to put “blah” as job one. Toyota has made some decent looking cars over the years, but Honda’s non dullsville cars can be counted on one hand. A decent looking car isn’t any more expensive than an ugly or blah one!

  • avatar
    crackers

    This means they’ll follow in the footsteps of Acura and beat their vehicles with an ugly stick. The horror!

  • avatar
    stroker49

    The problem I have with Toyota is not that the cars are bland. The new Avensis for example is beautiful in my opinion.
    The problem is that one model doesn´t looks like another. And there is no way to see that a 1999 year model is related to a 2010.
    Look at BMW as a good example. They are all sharing the same design language. And you can see that a 1973 BMW is a BMW and a 2010 BMW is related to the very same BMW.
    However, this is not only a concern for Toyota.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Given that companies like Audi, to whom appearance is a priority, are also producing a whole bunch of severely bland Dove-bar appliances, Toyota has a long, hard road ahead of them to actually pull this off. More than likely we’ll see more “weird” than attractive: things like Mazda’s god-awful baleen whale design, or Hyundai’s randomly-placed creases, or Hondacura’s weird chiseling that never worked as well as GM’s — which was also bland.
     
    Perhaps the sad truth is that bland is simply in.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Be careful of what you wish for.  The current Tacoma and former Solara were stylized to the point of being ugly.  The current Matrix looks acceptable, but it also looks low budget.  The RAV-4 and Hignlander suffer from a front end treatment that appear to be tacked on as an after thought.
     
    Toyota’s problem with their cars is that in N. America they sell mainly, front wheel drive, 4 sedans.  The basic packaging of which is now over 20 years old.  Maybe a Prius type top hat will help.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    I don’t think that most Toyotas are bland either. I think many people equate blandness with familiarity. It is easy to become blind to things that have become too ‘familiar,’ and we get excited and stimulated instead by things that appear new and different. This is pretty normal and it happens all the time in all kinds of areas (places, relationships, and so on), and it often requires a conscious effort to see beyond the sense of blandness that familiarity can generate.
     
    Cars like the Camry are so ubiquitous, so familiar that it is easy to think of them as bland. But if you look beyond their familiarity, most Toyotas are actually decent looking vehicles, the Camry included.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I think some vehicles are simply bland, others ugly, but if BMW’s were as common or ubiquitous as Toyotas and Hondas many people would get tired of that look as well.

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      Good observation.
      Consumers are swayed by appeals to exclusivity, to seek limited editions, newness and so forth.
       
      Beer drinkers will seek hard-to-find micro brews even though there are nationally distributed craft brews that are excellent because it is fun to hunt and forage for those hidden gems.
       
      Canadians and Americans generally don’t see the other country as being ‘foreign’ because so much is familiar and in close proximity.

  • avatar
    IGB

    It’s not bland styling that has damaged Toyota lately. Having said that, if they’d like to make their cars more interesting, why put them down for it?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, let’s see…headlight blobs pulled back to the bottom corners of the windshield, looking like an aging star with one-too-many facelifts (Joan Rivers?): Check. Bigger, blobbier tail light modules that do not meld into the lines of the car: Check. ‘Way too many side creases to emphasize “style”? Check. Larger eagle-beak with 45 rpm-record-sized Toyota logo? Check. Dramatic TV ads by Toyota’s very own Lee Iacocca look-alike? Check. Ho hum. Nothing new here, but hoping, hoping, hoping for something different that someone can see out of! I’ll wait and see.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      Speaking of facelift, have you seen the Prius c concept? Except for the headlights it looks interesting and daring, don’t you think?
      By the way, you seem to be alluding to a car’s appearance from the driving position (dark, relaxing IP, good seats, good outward visibility, good lights) which is how I primarily choose a car.

  • avatar
    colin42

    How about concentrating on the driving dynamics – that in my mind is the bland part!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      +1 Who gives a crap what it looks like as long as the handling is good?  I don’t think the Nissan Altima is beautiful but I’m quite sure it could out autocross a Camry.  (Base model vs. base model)

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      THIS is my big beef with every late-model Toyota: they steer and handle like crap! The power steering is way overassisted and the suspension calibration is lousy, and they generally feel dull as dishwater.
       
      Calibrating the power steering so that at least *some* feedback makes it through to the driver costs nothing. Setting the spring rates and damping rates correctly costs little or nothing, either. Bigger brakes (designed for more than occasional 55mph use …) will cost something, but not much, and maybe the rotors would last longer without warping.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I don’t really have a complaint with Toyota’s current styling. I don’t like the bulging Camry nose, but that same design looks great on the Corolla with a black grill. Toyoda has been making repeated comments to the press about trying to push the company into making “sportier” cars that are more interesting and I think that’s what this is really about. One comment I saw of his was almost adversarial in tone to the engineering teams that develop the mainstream vehicles (discussing the the rwd coupe), so I see this as the bigwig challenging his employees to heed the new company priorities. Good for him, and if it works Toyota might not end up stuck in the “chevy slide” over the next few decades.
     
    There is no reason that the Corolla and Camry can’t be more competitive. They should be aiming to make VW quality cars with Japanese reliability and something approaching Korean prices. That is mission possible for a company with Toyota’s resources and collaborative partners, we just don’t know if the corporate culture is up to the challenge.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      If they made an economical RWD, as in Datsun 510 takes on BMW, car, they would be unstoppable for sales.  Oops, I used a wrong word at Toyota… the cars would be show stoppers … there ya go!  Ford had a good RWD called the Lincoln LS, but Lincoln evidently was poor marketing or something.  Wish they would use the platform, or the Mustang platform to make cool coupes and sedan…. call them the Fairlane 500 — bring ’em back!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Ask Ford how well injecting “visual spice” into the “boring” Taurus worked for them.  Hint: it nearly decimated their sales in the segment.
     
    Bland sells.  You can make a some of criticism of Kat Watanabe’s reign at Toyota, but failing to understand what customers want is not one of them.

    • 0 avatar

      I assume you are talking about the 1996 ovoid Taurus.  Funny thing is the equally crazy looking 1996 Sable sold much better than the blander one.  I think the ’96 Taurus’ biggest problem was price and rear seat headroom.
       
      Conversely, the 2010 Taurus which was restyled to be more “exciting” helped sales a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The point is that when you’re selling 300-400K units a year and you’re top of the heap and your nearest competitors are also hocking equally-unexciting products**, dramatic visual or character changes is asking for trouble.
       
      ** and lets be serious, nothing in this class has a drop of personality.  Calling the Camry boring is kind of pointless when the Accord, Sonata, Fusion, 6, Malibu and Sebring are, at best, very slightly less dull, or dull in different ways.  You want excitement?  Buy a Kizashi and get your thrills from hoping that Suzuki stays in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      Spice is good — weird is not.  Problem with Taurus was they took the Infinity J car and tried to clone it.  It was an inferior clone.  The copy of an Audi was simply better, AND the Infinity was not too popular.  All in all quality was not so hot and the Taurus was sold too much to fleet sales.  The look was not terrible, IMHO, and only needed to be altered a tad, or then maybe not…

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      On the topic of spices apropos motor vehicles and vehicular thrills

      Now now people, let’s not forget that Toyota once sold a “Chili” version of the RAV4. It was positively caliente!  I couldn’t tell I was looking at a cute-ute expressly designed for 5’3” women; it was positively Italian in its design language.

      Oh wait, I dreamed all that.  It was a front air dam, $5 stickers of said chili peppers, and nicer rims.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      A buddy of mine bought a Chili RAV/4.  Someone stole it from his driveway on a flatbed.
       
      What can I say? It was hot.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Somebody stealing a RAV4?  Now who’s dreaming?

  • avatar
    stryker1

    In other news, monkeys to fly out of everyones’ respective butts.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    As we’re all probably aware, The blandness of Toyota’s is more than skin-deep.

    With their Routan, new Jetta and new Passat, Volkswagen seems to be stepping into the Maytag role with great relish.

  • avatar
    Superboy

    I actually think that the current Camry, when is SE trim, is very handsome.

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      Yep it is… and it’s a 5 year old model… so not too bad.  With a V-6 it also outperforms much of its competition.  And the handling is at least noticeably better than the base version. 

      And at the end of the day, it’s still a pleasing family sedan with respectable fuel economy and good reliabitlity.  Many of these aspects are also true of the competition.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Reliability is the most important factor for me, which rules out German cars. Love the styling of un-bangled BMW’s. Not brave enough to buy one.

    I have rejected reliable cars because I didn’t think I could stand looking at them for the next “X” number of years. All current Acuras and most Lexi are in this category. Neighbor has a 2007 Lexus ES. To my eyes the front end looks like a smiling bug!

    http://articles.dashzracing.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/lexus-es300-projector-headlights-2005-2006-13.jpg

  • avatar

    Let’s see how this works for them.  This is a strange world we live in.  VW is going blander and Toyota is getting stylish.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    They should focus more on the interior and overall quality. They can start making the most exiting cars in the world, if the interiors are going to be just as horrible as they are now, I still won’t buy them. The late 80’s, early 90’s Corollas, Camrys, etc, weren’t super exiting either, but were built VERY well, were extremely reliable and had nice interiors with soft materials. I wish they would rather go back to that.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    If if this website is around 30 years from now and past history is any indication (for example all the people here who view the CRX as the best car ever) a generation or two down the road the kids or the grandchildren of this generation will be saying how great these ‘ugly bland’ cars were compared to the tiny ugly electric ‘every one looks the same’ transportation of the future . And really Maytag as a symbol of a reliable appliance ? That stopped being the case years ago – they’re just low priced/low quality garbage sold at Home Cheapo these days .

  • avatar
    Wagen

    “plans to build vehicles that are more eye-catching to counter criticism its cars are too bland,”

    If only the blandness of Toyotas were only skin deep.  They’ll have to do something about the blandness of the steering, suspension, etc. before I’d consider a Toyota. 

    @MR2turbo4evr: agreed.  If one must have bland, at least give them real, tangible quality like the ’92-6 Camry, not this decontented sells-on-name-alone stuff we have today.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Toyota used to know how to make pretty cars.
     
    http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/two2tone/1967-toyota-2000-gt-11_460x0w.jpg
     

  • avatar
    erikl

    Echoing MR2turbo4evr, Toyota absolutely needs to go back to the drawing board on cabin fit & finish. The 3rd Gen Prius interior finish quality is embarassing. Toyota went nuts on the decontenting, and the entire dash assembly crackles and creaks more than my 220k, 20 year old saab 900 spg. This is with 5k on the odometer. Laughable!

    Ford is coming, and their Focus Hybrid interior will be leaps and bounds above the Prius and counterparts. Toyota needs to step it up.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Don’t worry. They will replace bland and generic with hideous ugly overstyled disasters like the current batch of new Nissans like the Juke and Cube for example. The blandness continues inside with dull boring mouse fur gray, dark gray or tan as the only interior color choices in every new Toyota, something that started in the later 90’s and has been copied by every other manufacturer since and one that is getting very tiresome and old quickly. People coming into dealers want a little more spice and color in there interiors and thankfully companies like Chrysler, GM and Ford and Hyundai have listened and given consumers some choices in interiors with nice two-tone combinations, red or blue seats or the brown moroccan hides as seen in the current Malibu or Sonata.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      Malibu and Sonata  — exterior wise appears to be a choice of under the radar or over the top styling.  Possibly the best styled car I ever owned was the ’91 Dodge Stealth by Mitsubishi.  Ya know, over the years Mitsubishi came through with some good styles.  I kinda liked the 90’s look and for Toyota Camry, I would say the ’92 or was it ’93 look just about nailed it — smooth, yet styled perfect front and rear which belonged together style wise.  Ever notice how some cars get one or the other correct, as in what happened to the but or the face on this poor thing.

  • avatar
    view2share

    Well it is more than looks which is old.  Handling, brakes and such appear to be more final era Olds. than anything.  I just assumed Toyota to be the current GM Olds line and that people liked it that way.  Gone is the Supra and Celica.  I owned a Corolla some years ago and it was reliable.  Handling was not Honda Civic like however, and the car bobbled in the wind.  My dad has a 2000 Camry which bobbles in the wind — evidently design engineering is not a strong point with Toys.
    I would recommend dumping the EPS and go with electric-hydraulic assist for steering, lower the belt line and bring on the glass area again, and be sure the brakes feel solid and not spongy, like an old American boat car. Get rid of the big butt look too.  And please, someone – anyone, start making coupes and sedans with the brake and gas pedal closer to being at level heights.  My Accord and Miata are pretty good in respect to pedal placement — most cars are NOT these days.  And those gawd awful massive A pillars should go too.  Better steel, and less of it please.  With the too tall doors, and far A pillar, one feels not only claustrophobic when inside, they can not see things well, can not hang an elbow out the window, and think they are in an army personnel carrier.  My Accord has sort of fat A pillars, but great otherwise to see out of, as an ’07 model.  The A pillar is better positioned for driving the new Miatas — a tad fat, but shaped and placed for optimized driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      When I was a new driver (1993) the slow car that I got stuck behind was an Oldsmobile or a Panther platform.  After college (Class of 1999) it was a Buick that would be holding up traffic.  Now that I’m 33yrs old, 99% of the time it’s a Toyota holding up traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      Kinda sad, the old OLDS commercial of ” This Ain’t Your Father’s Oldsmoblie.”  I was thinking, at the time the ad came out, gee I wish it was.  My father’s Olds was fine — Cutlass Supremes in the earliest 70’s were hot.  I would say a ’72 looks better than a current Malibu, wouldn’t you!  Once noted for having the Rocket ’88 and the 442 later on, they started to simply go downhill and into the bland and underpowered – old mans car only mode.  It was a sad thing to watch.  And look at the hot looking ’66 Toronado — WOW!  Today we have GM cars looking very much Japanese bland and boring — such are the days of mediocrity.  TV is lacking – Music world is lacking – Cars mostly look the same and are FWD with EPS steering.

    • 0 avatar
      z350

      Regarding “Educator’s” comment – Toyota drivers have been holding me up in traffic more than any other foreign car since I started driving in the early 80’s. It wasn’t until I made a long day trip in a rental Camry that I understood it was because the drivers were asleep! 

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      EDIT: +1 on the statement about Camry drivers being asleep.

      @Dan

      Your comment about Toyotas slowing traffic is spot on. The other day I was attempting to merge onto the freeway at about 10pm. The roads had a dusting of snow, but nothing to sneeze at and certainly nothing to be afraid of. I was stuck behind 2 Camrys (same color, different generations) and the lead Camry (an 03ish model) was doing 35 mph by the time we hit the freeway. The reason I bring it up, and remember, is because when I started merging, at half of freeway speed since I had no choice, I checked all of my mirrors and over my shoulder to make sure it was clear and started my merge. Next thing I know I have a chick in a cherry red Monte Carlo SS barreling down the freeway and almost sideswipe me. I was a little irritated, especially since there was no reason to have been going that slow while trying to merge.

      There’s cautious and there’s overly-cautious. This person was the latter, by a long shot.  It wasn’t even a hybrid so hypermiling wouldn’t have been the culprit.

  • avatar
    Petra

    Every couple years- usually around when the time the Camry or Corolla is about to be redesigned- a story like this gets published. And every couple years, nothing happens. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • avatar

    How Toyota’s cars look is one thing; their driving dynamics are another. If the driving experience remains as bland as it is now, what does it matter how the cars look?

  • avatar
    ixim

    Today’s Camrys look OK. They’re just too fat and heavy. Which is irrelevant to all the Camry owners I know. They just loooove the reliability and the currently low price.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I’ve never understood why Toyotas are called “bland and boring” when they look pretty much like everything else out there. If not for the oversized logos that all manufacturers seem to love these days, I couldn’t tell 90% of cars apart. There are very few vehicles that stand out, and as aerodymics and pedestrian safety dictate more and more what vehicles must look like; it will only become more so.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    Seems to me that marketing spin masters performed their dirty trick here again. Just like some time ago they confused sh*t out of people with their never-ending proliferation of AWD-TOD-4WD-4×4 acronyms, now they come all over with “bland” vs “interesting”. In the process totally overlooking such simple terms as “elegant”, “beautiful”, “timeless”. Or proportional, for fcuck sake! Why in the last 10-15 years “bold” and “interesting” started to be understood as teenager hairdo-ugly or gangsta-rap-in-ya-face flashy?

    Most modern “designs” – I am looking at you, Toyota, Kia, Pontiac (RIP), BMW et al – just make me sick. I would not even start on the French, but at least they are consistent and are sticking with a long line of plug-ugly self-propelled contraptions.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    I don’t see Toyota design as bland, with a couple of exceptions (Corolla).  I don’t see too many designs as being “ugly,” either, with again some exceptions.  I do see a lot of stale design, where the needle just hasn’t moved a lot.

    This is in a way disappointing because it seems Toyota still doesn’t get it.  The decline isn’t because cars are boring (come on, the Malibu looks pretty boring too – to bring up an example in the sedan class).  I see one of the biggest issues is they don’t have a single offering that says, “hey, we know how to do sports cars.”

    Beyond the IS-F and LSA, which the average slob can’t afford – you don’t have a Genesis coupe, you don’t have a 370-Z, you don’t have a Camaro, a Mustang, etc. etc.  There is nothing that says, youthful, truly sporty (the tC is a joke in the performance department), fun, and makes a statement to get people in the showroom.  Not everyone that walks into a Nissan showroom to look at a 370-Z drives off with one – ditto any of the other sports cars.  Toyota has zilch, nada, zero, in this category.  The FT-86 wearing a Scion badge and being sold side-by-side with the tC – big mistake – it isn’t TOYOTA.  They don’t have drop top.  They don’t over an AWD sedan.  They don’t offer a coupe in any flavor at Toyota.  Sure, the Solara was the anti-sports car and had all the charm of a drop top Sebring – but it was SOMETHING you could point to.

    Toyota needs a Celica, needs a Supra, needs a MR2, needs something that the average car buying slob can look at and go, wow that’s really cool, I can’t fit my wife and kids in it so where are the Camry’s again.  The idea of Toyota being boring is because – Toyota is quite boring.

    You can’t put lipstick on a pig.  You can’t put excitement into a squishy handling, soft braked, electric steering sedan by changing the sheet metal.  You need to change the chassis dynamics, the pedal feel, the steering firmness.  I get “by the numbers” a V6 SE Camry is impressive – but it doesn’t “feel” that way when you drive it.  The acceleration feels rubbery, the brake pedal feels numb, the steering does not send a message of heavy confidence.  It is all way to soft – THOSE are the things they need to address to challenge boring.  Mazda calls it Zoom Zoom – and Toyota lacks it – completely.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Toyota is today’s Oldsmobile and Mercury – geezermobiles.

    Toyota sold it’s soul for success in the US by eliminating any styling that could give their vehicles a semblence of personality. We see this all the time in marketing.

    Pop music is starting to all sound alike, thanks to a need to sell music, not create music.
    Retail stores are starting to be a Wal-Mart, in order to compete with Wal-Mart. A generation ago, it was A&P that stores attempted to be, and Sears.

    Toyota is in the business of SELLING cars, not creating cars. When you are on top, your mission is to stay on top and that makes leaders cautious. Who wants to be the guy who tanks Camry sales because he thought apeing the new Jaguar was the ticket to the top? Who wants to be the guy who tanks Corolla sales because he just had to have the new Corolla look like a Kia Soul? These decision makers aren’t risk takers. While they took risks to get to the top of the Toyota heap, they turned in their genius cards when they got their first paychecks.

    Toyota and Honda sell their cars to old people. They know this. This is why they launched new brands. Toyota is working on making Scion an attractive brand to breathing drivers, and working on making Prius a brand of cars for people who feel so guilty for living they recycle their farts.

    Honda is trying to decide what an Acura is and are now trying to reach drivers who are willing to drop $50 grand for a vehicle with a bird’s beak.

    Ford has always worked very hard to not insult anyone’s eyesight. They struck gold with the Taurus, but got burned with the 1996 edition. The Ford family ate everyone who helped design that Ovid Failure after lopping off their heads and now they are feeling their oats again after pumping out such artistic treasures as the 500, the Freestyle, and the Mountaineer. It took Ford 15 years before trying something different and stylish.

    Toyotas are any more bland than the prechewed breakfasts their senior drivers dine on daily.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The problem isn’t that they look bland. It’s that they drive bland. Until Toyota fixes that, I don’t care what they do with styling.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    When i see a ugly design, I think of the designer being a 40 year old geek still living at home and sporting a bowtie and pocket protector.  I guess the Japanese have their geeks too.  Lately, Japanese manufacturers have released some of their most bland and uninspiring frog-like sheet metal to date.  I actually feel myself drawn to the smooth lines and mid seventies inspired taillights of a Cobalt coupe over anything with a big (Toyota) zit in the middle of the grille.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming.  I just complimented GM !!

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    Perhaps this is a function of age, but right now just about every car out there is (to me) an ugly parody of designers emulating (and combining) each other’s baroque excessiveness, which have become seemingly obligatory cliches:

    1) Bangled “flame-surfaciing” crease down the side of the vehicle; and

    2) Overwrought and over-sized grilles and molded headlight assemblies (some sort of phallic-envy going on here?); and

    3) Front-ends designed to emulate a human face (particularly a “smiley face”); and

    4) Too-small gun-slit side windows (foisted upon us via the Chrysler 300 and Hummer), making the side sheet metal of the vehicle look out of proportion; and

    5) Exaggerated wheel arches stamped into the side sheet metal.
     
    Ironically, some of the most tasteful and stylish vehicles today (relatively speaking) seem to be coming from Hyundai-KIA. Whodda thunk?

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  • SSJeep: Agreed, and a sound strategy. Toyota seems to go with hybridization for achieving MPG rather than newer...
  • SSJeep: Ford is now on the “D” builds (over 300000 built) for the Explorer and they seem to be coming off...
  • Detroit-X: Hey Aston Marton Vaginasquish, 1990s Oldsmobile called, they want their dull, monotone steering wheel back.

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  • Matthew Guy
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