By on May 22, 2016

Lexus LFLC Concept, Image: Lexus

… unless you’re Chinese, in which case Japanese luxury brands are definitely designing those grilles for you.

According to Automotive News, China is poised to eclipse the United States as the number one luxury car market. To get ready for that eventuality, Japanese luxury car brands are designing their cars to cater to the tastes of affluent, young, Chinese car buyers.

The reason behind the expressive designs? A lack of brand awareness is the biggest culprit, Shiro Nakamura of Nissan explains.

“It’s with China in mind because China is a rather young market,” Nakamura said to Automotive News during the Beijing auto show last month. “They don’t know the name of the brand; they don’t know the quality, the performance. So visual communication is most important. In the first encounter, you judge visually.”

However, the Japanese brands use these brazen designs as a tool to set themselves apart from the luxury status quo. Vehicles from German luxury manufacturers, which have controlled the Chinese luxury market for decades, are very much on the conservative end of the design spectrum.

As most products are now global affairs, vehicles sold in the United States wear visual treatments primarily aimed at a Chinese audience. Big, Predator-esque grilles and hoods with less-than-subtle “power bumps” are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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111 Comments on “Japanese Luxury Automakers Aren’t Designing Those Grilles for You...”


  • avatar

    Well they can keep them…

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I get to agree with Big Truck!

      Haute Car Couture can go all East Asian fish-worship; we’ll just puke a little less over here when China siphons them off.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Agreed,
      Lexus went from boring to fugly styling in one model cycle.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        That’s for sure. I don’t want my car to look like Alien vs Predator. That Lexus grill is unbelievably fugly.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          Admittedly, the Lexus grille design does look better on the road than it looks in pictures. I wouldnt call it award winning design, but it does differentitate itself from any other vehicle occupying the same slab of tarmac.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            I would respectfully disagree here. They look much worse to me in the flesh as opposed to in pictures. Just like with the previous generation Mazda 3, the looks would be a deal breaker. Yes, we were in the market and did buy new but not a Mazda. The new gen is decent looking.

            In the case of Toyota trucks and Lexus they look bad enough I wouldn’t visit the showroom.

          • 0 avatar
            Mr. Orange

            What road? In what bizarro universe cause I know not in this one.

            When I see them in person I get to experience the horror in real life. The grill on the LX, GX, RX and NX all make me shudder when seen. No other luxury lineup is as overwrought as to what Lexus has done in the name of defining itself.

        • 0 avatar
          TheDoctorIsOut

          Twentieth Century Fox, which owns the rights to the “Predator” series, ought to be siccing their lawyers on Lexus for at least IP rights if not outright copyright infringement.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        Sort of like the way Acura went from boring to fugly. Acura is now working its way back to boring.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The article is a bit misleading.

          The Japanese started the movement to fugly for the US market – decided that they needed to inject some “excitement” into their lineup and what they came up with was polarizing, if not fugly design elements (having striking sheetmetal doesn’t mean polarizing, overwrought designs with lines going everywhere).

          After the misadventure with the “beak” and the overwrought lines of the last TL, Acura has placed more restraint on their most recent design.

          Same for Infiniti whose designs look much better – toning down the more busy lines that had represented their previous design language.

          Conversely, the reason why Cadillac toned down their designs was b/c of the Chinese luxury market (even so, they toned them down too much).

          But even if the Japanese are going after the younger luxury market in China, as opposed to the Germans and Cadillac, people are people and think the majority would be turned off by the more polarizing designs.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Whoever designed and whoever approved the increasingly ridiculous predator MAW on the Lexi should be forced to do compulsory seppeku.

      It’s positively & absolutely heinous, as is much of Lexus’ new aesthetic design.

      • 0 avatar
        jefmad

        Of course Lexus sales are up since they started the new grille design. Additionally, you look at Lexus forums and you can see threads of people trying to figure out how to graft the new grille onto their older car. Just shows how far the “enthusiast” is from the mainstream car buyer.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          That’s a common, but misleading refrain.

          Lexus sales are up b/c of the additions of new models like the NX and RC and not necessarily b/c of the now uniform “face” of Lexus.

          4G GS sales have never approached that of its predecessor (which was a poorer handler) and GS sales are really struggling right now.

          Even the larger 3G IS has never hit the sales mark of the 2G IS, and irrespective of the age factor, LS sales have never been lower.

          And speaking of “enthusiasts” – GS-F and RC-F sales have been disappointing and Lexus dealerhsips have an oversupply of them.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s just your opinion, not founded in any kinda of aesthetic except comparisons with obsolete designs.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I could see this coming and I’ve stated this a number of times on TTAC. The Chinese influence in motor vehicles will become more pronounced.

    People will become accustomed gradually, like those funny looking cars from the EU.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Yep, they will get more wealthy as we get generally poorer, particularly if Hillary gets elected and Democrats get a hold of the House and Senate.

      In 10 years, the US might not even be a major auto market for luxury cars. We will probably shift to smaller economy cars and used cars, while the bigger and more flamboyant stuff goes overseas.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        If it has any car market. I think it will be all Pickup Trucks, the danger being a large economic fallout

      • 0 avatar
        xpistns

        –super
        Really? How so? Keep drinking that Kool-aid, buddy.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …Yep, they will get more wealthy as we get generally poorer, particularly if Hillary gets elected and Democrats get a hold of the House and Senate. …

        Yawn. And now on Fox News…

      • 0 avatar
        SayHiToYourMom

        You’re an idiot. The economy, in EVERY facet, is better under Democrats, and always has been.

        http://www.factcheck.org/2015/10/clinton-economy-better-under-democrats/

        GDP growth is better, wages, stock market, and even defense spending goes up under Dems.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        Mark, I have a modest proposal for you – one which will have a direct and positive impact on pageviews from now until November: An instant one month ban for anyone mentioning a presidential candidate in a way not *directly* related to cars.

        I’ve said it before: I come to TTAC specifically to talk about cars and to avoid the frothing rage permeating every other corner of the Internet. Please, please, *please* – if ever there was a time for a ‘safe space’, make this one safe from politics.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Wow the hyperbole. And the award for breathless repetition of political talking points goes to…

        Pro tip, at least choose plausible talking points.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Um, it was the Big Business-wing of the Republican Party that pushed for opening of trade with China (the union-wing of the Democratic party was against that and NAFTA).

        Walmart was the one that really got the export of manufacturing jobs to China going and Walmart has long been a supporter of the Republicans.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    So going forward this means luxury automakers will be designing their complex, non user serviceable, proprietary parts only, visually unappealing , overpriced platform amortization products burdened with nanny electronics for a different market then North America?

    Big loss to us that is .
    Behold, the worlds smallest violin playeth on my shoulder.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Where is the Volvo 740 when we need it most?

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    This explains why Trump is doing well in the campaign. Perhaps this will finally push Americans into buying domestic over these ugly faced imports. What’s next? giant fins?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Trump is doing well because he spent his money on understanding primal fears of the electorate and how to trigger them to his advantage.

      Xenophobia happens to be one of them. We fear any member of another tribe.

      • 0 avatar

        TRUMP IS WINNING BECAUSE

        #1. The presidency has become a colt of personality and the opponents are all trash . Trump stands out because of his loudmouth and his attitude which some might referred to as “charisma”.

        #2. very few people are stupid enough to actually believe Bernie Sanders can give them lots of free stuff with the exception of these indebted college kids who aren’t old enough to remember the 90’s… to pledge loyalty to Hillary.

        #3. Islamic terrorism

        #4. They are currently feeling what I’ve been saying for very long time. America’s jobs are in Asia and Americans are fighting over scraps. Welfare.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          …a colt of personality…

          Right from the horse’s A$$

          • 0 avatar
            VenomV12

            I’m still convinced that 90% of his idiotic statements are just an act. He somehow in his mind has decided that this is the part he is going to play in life to attract a certain fanbase much like most Republican radio and TV personalities out there. I suspect most if none of them are really like how they come off on radio and TV when they are in the privacy of their homes.

            For the Republicans out there though that are now hot and bothered about the Chinese market and their money and power, here’s an interesting fact for you. One of my neighbors in here is one of the guys, if not literally the guy who setup the move for US companies to move manufacturing jobs over to China back in the early 90s, he still spends months over there consulting at a time even though he is mostly retired. He and his wife are also super dyed in the wool Republicans some of the most staunch I have ever seen.

            At the end of the day labor is the number one cost for a business and companies will always looks for a way to reduce labor costs. Trump himself even said that if Americans want the jobs to come back they should be willing to work for less. He himself seems to have no problem with having his products made in China or hiring lots of Mexicans for that matter. My buddy’s house in Palm Beach is about 10 or so houses away from his place Mar-a-Lago and I can assure you that everyone working out there on those houses is almost always Mexican. You will see those big landscaping trucks going down the streets with 10 plus Mexicans sitting in the back going to the various houses, ditto in The Hamptons.

            These guys just spout of a bunch of nonsense that their idiot mass fanbase wants to hear and then go back to business as usual. They aren’t going to build any wall because they need the cheap labor, terrorism is fantastic business for them also, so they probably don’t have any real desire to actually stop it anytime soon either.

            Interesting thing about him though, I’ve seen my fair share of guys like BTSR, also seen my fair share of them go to prison. They all seem to share the same personality traits. They tend to be very arrogant, very unethical, very greedy and tend to believe that pledging allegiance to a certain party and being particularly vocal about it gives them protection. Not too long ago a guy just like him, in more or less the same business, was hunted down by his own buddy that he used to hang with at the country club, the attorney general, and put in prison for embezzling millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme. As my grandfather used to say “moonlight runs until daylight catches it”:)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @golden2husky – LOL

            Saying stupid things has worked for the Comb-over-in-chief.

            Need I say more!

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          Not winning at this time. Consult Princeton Election Consotuim and Nate Silver’s website,

          While I am at it how about these two links to right wing websites?

          http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2014/11/the-missing-story-of-the-2014-election/#28114101=0

          http://www.redstate.com/diary/6755mm/2013/08/10/can-any-republican-win-270-electoral-votes-in-2016-or-ever-again/

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “The presidency has become a colt of personality and the opponents are all trash . Trump stands out because of his loudmouth and his attitude which some might referred to as “charisma”.

          In other words…it’s a personality cult.

          Congrats on proving your own point, BTSR.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Trump is winning (at least among the Republican base) b/c he is using the oldest political tricks in the book (basically demonize others for all the troubles).

          All the other xenophobic, ultra-nationalist strongmen use the exact same playbook – Putin, Erdogan, Netanyahu, Chavez and now Maduro, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Yeah, it’s a primal fear to not want to lose your good paying job and go work at Walmart or Cracker Barrel instead. Silly silly them!

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          This is too easy.

          “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Well Trump is the wrong person as he has a history of outsourcing overseas or bringing in cheaper, foreign labor when it has come to his business interests.

          In fact, Trump has done everything the Republican base has supposedly hated –

          – use the bankruptcy laws to his advantage numerous times,

          – take advantage of the “small fish”

          – extremely litigious; has sued and/or threatens to sue all the time (btw, his claim of “never settling” lawsuits is just one of the numerous lies he has told)

          – the biggest FLIP-FLOPPER the American political scene has ever seen (make Romney look like an amateur), etc.

          Add to that he is a pompous windbag, a serial LIAR and not religious (which he has totally lied about) and is one of the elite (not just b/c of his wealth, but b/c he graduated from an Ivy) – all the stuff that the Republican base has long despised, but none of that matters as long as he says the “right” things about the Mexicans, Muslims, etc.

          And I guess BTSR has never heard of the “Iron Lady” – aka Margaret Thatcher or Indira Gandhi or Golda Meir.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        he panders to caricatures of MURICA FREEDUM and they eat it up

        since this is such a small subset of actual voters, hes going to lose by a landslide.

        • 0 avatar

          If I were running I’d be winning…saying the exact same things Trump is.

          Protected Minorirty status LOL

          • 0 avatar

            I tried to call an expert in an attempt to better understand Hillary but Vince Foster isn’t taking any calls.

          • 0 avatar

            Hillary is a woman.

            NO ONE trusts a woman in time of war.

            ALWAYS, ALWAYS they want an alpha male. (Trump)

            How anyone could want “sanders” to protect this country is well-beyond me. I’d just as soon vote for a caveman with a board and a nail in it.

            I’m gonna need more popcorn till November.

            Besides watching the DNC tear itself apart and watching rivers of tears in my community as Trump is sworn in – I might as well be buying stock in cleenex and Tazer (for the inevitable protests from angry foreigners whose opinion doesn’t count).

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            BigTrucks,
            What war?

            The “wars” you speak are not wars.

            WWI and WWII are wars that did pose a threat to the US more so than “a Commie under your bed” or now the terrorist threat.

            Don’t get me wrong, I do believe something has to happen to rid the world of these types, but these are not wars as such.

            The upside is these military actions keep the US military industrial complex in business.

            The US public has always been fed this fear of imminent destruction happening.

            Like your lax and ridiculous gun laws from several Centuries ago. Why do you need assualt weapons and pistols?? Does every American think they are that important they are targets, even at home and of course abroad.

          • 0 avatar

            This is fixin’ to get REAL good.

          • 0 avatar
            jpolicke

            “No one trusts a woman in time of war”
            Unfortunately Margaret Thatcher is a) Not a natural born citizen, and b) deceased.
            Considering the opposition I’d give her a pass on both counts.

          • 0 avatar

            The Presidency has become a CULT OF PERSONALITY (sorry about the voice-to-text mispelling).

            30% of these idiots are voting based on skin color.
            How the president looks and sounds.

            Spending time making fun of his hair.

            Spending time insulting his speech patterns.

            All the while he’s climbing up the polls – eliminating viable-candidate after viable-candidate.

            Modern day liberalism has trained children to HATE the very visage of a CEO corporate White-male businessmen. The very existence of Trump is an affront to their brainwashing.

            This is a war to place “a face” in the office.

            Everyone will look to that face to place blame or praise – depending upon how things go.

            No one remembers the congress’ role in all this – nor the supreme courts – but they do remember the president’s face.

            The figurehead.

            Donald Trump has revived a sense of “nationalism” in a county that has watched its jobs devoured by foreign markets and watched social cultural norms flipped upside down in just 8 years.

            Is Obamacare legal? It’s not healthcare. It’s a tax.

            Should transexual men be allowed in the women’s bathroom?

            The vote in November is a REFERENDUM on Obama, Hillary and Democrats – just as the vote in 2014 was.

            Illegal Aliens have lined up against Trump but many people seem to have forgotten that THEIR VOTE DOESN’T COUNT BECAUSE ILLEGALS ARE ILLEGAL.

            Legal immigrants are hurt just as much by illegal immigration as natural citizens.

            As for those Europeans who don’t like Trump:

            WHO GAVE THESE PEOPLE THE IDEA THAT THEY MATTERED?

            WHO GAVE THEM THE IDEA THAT THEIR VOICE HAS ANY SAY WHATSOEVER IN AMERICAN POLICY?

            THEY DON’T MATTER.

            When Trump swears in THEY’LL KNOW THEY DON’T MATTER.

            Unfortunately I have to wait till that moment.

            Trump’s election will be a bullet hole in the heart of liberalism.

            It will be a painful death to the rampant brainwahsing occuring on college campuses. Trump’s inauguration will send many scrambling for their safe spaces as “micro aggressions” become Tactical thermo nuclear assault MEGA aggressions.

            Trump’s election will be a realignment of American policy.

            Anti-globalism – to start…protectionism in the long run.

            I have no idea if Trump can make the changes he’s suggested and promised happen…BUT I’M GOING TO GIVE HIM 4 YEARS TO SHOW ME.

            Down with Hillary.

            Down with Communist Sanders.

            When the time finally comes to cast my vote, I will do it with such furor that I may rip the voting handle off the booth.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bigtruckseriesreview,
            You are one of those who fear, fear. What is there to fear? Why do you fear others? You act tough, but you are fearful like a child.

            Read below and learn.

            Lesson 16: Protectionism vs. Globalization

            HomeTeacher ResourcesLesson PlansEconomic History for LeadersLesson 16: Protectionism vs. Globalization
            KEY FORCES IN AMERICAN HISTORY

            2. Economic freedom, rule of law, and well-defined property rights promote growth and prosperity.

            4. Wars harm economies and people.

            7. Government is the arena of competition among interest groups.

            KEY IDEAS

            International trade has enriched the American economy from the beginning and has had a profound impact on the mix of goods produced in the U.S.
            Trade based on comparative advantage – producing the goods one can make at a lower opportunity cost – materially benefits both trading partners.
            The comparative advantage of producers in the U.S. has shifted significantly over time from agricultural products (like tobacco and cotton) to capital- and resource-intensive goods (like petroleum, steel and metal products, and machinery) to high-technology goods and those based on an educated, skilled work force. Shifts in comparative advantage create winners and losers and can generate substantial political reactions.
            Tariffs (taxes on imports) provided the majority of federal government revenue until the end of the nineteenth century.
            Tariffs and other trade restrictions have had a substantial impact on the distribution of income within the U.S. – boosting the incomes of producers of protected goods (both employers and workers), while reducing the incomes of consumers of protected goods. The conflicting interests of these groups have been sharply contested in the political arena.
            Over the centuries the volume of international trade has substantially expanded, largely driven by declining transportation and transactions costs – although restrictions on trade and international tensions have, at times, dampened the trend.
            Because disruptions of trade in time of war, economic war (such as embargoes) and “trade wars” have substantially reduced national income, the U.S. has taken the lead (with occasional backsliding) in reducing trade barriers since World War II.
            Trade gaps are generally caused by imbalances between domestic savings and investment, rather than the inability to compete internationally.

            …………………………………………………………………..

            Bigtrucks, by the way; The Chinese economy has lost over 30 million manufacturing jobs. Did you know this.

            So, they are hurting as well.

            The changes in our societies is currently driven by technological changes. The US adapted the newer technologies straight after the Civil War’s idle factories in the North. That’s what made ‘Murica. The Civil War.

            Why don’t read and learn history, you’ll be amazed. Nationalism is dangerous. Patriotism is better.

            Only fools are Nationalists, why don’t you move to Russia, it’s full of Nationalists. Nationalists are socialists.

            Hmmmm ……….. you need to learn and stop acting like a Redneck yokel.

          • 0 avatar

            I knew this was gonna be good. I briefly thought about rebutting Al but I thought it better to wait on BTSR. Glad I did.

            And… The trade deficit in US trade is 40+ billion. For a nation of over 300 billion with 94+ billion of those not working, “protectionism” should be the name of the game. We don’t need foreign goods that could be made here.

            “Globalization” is the name of the game for losers. And we’re more than a little tired of “losing,” right BTSR?

            If helping your neighbors (globalization) means your family loses their house, you fix your own problems first and then see who you can help. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here.

            Whatever you want to call BTSR he’s an American and we love him. He’s an African-American so I’m pretty sure that redneck yokel stuff is a huge surprise to him.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Fear mongering at its finest.

            BTSR –

            Thank you for proving my earlier point.

            Superdessucke – automation has killed more jobs in the USA than China or Mexico.

            Deport the Godless Commie socialist gay robots.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            WhiskeyRiver,
            You are talking cliches. A person who talks cliches doesn’t have an answer or most likely a clue.

            What jobs can be kept in the US?

            What will occur will be American companies will be removed from the countries they operate out of if the US takes a hardline on globalisation.

            The cost of good and services in the US will rise dramatically.

            Your standard of living will drop significantly.

            Yep, you guys are correct protectionism sounds great.

      • 0 avatar
        rickentropic

        not about cars

        • 0 avatar

          Our standard of living has been dropping steadily for 7 years.

          My “cliches” have real numbers. I’ve never seen anyone dispute real numbers with that defense.

          You’re suggesting we shouldn’t TRY to fix anything. Just go with the globalization flow, right? Even though that flow is gonna bankrupt us.

          You’re obviously out of ammo Al.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Interestingly enough globalization is a neoliberal ideology. (Read: right wing free markets)

            G.W.Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld are all proponents of open unfettered trade with minimal regulation from the government. They are all disciples of Milton Friedman.

            BTSR’s rant about “Trump’s election will be a bullet hole in the heart of liberalism.” is true if one is referring to neoliberal business ideology.

            The problem with neoliberal business/trade patterns is it only benefits those wealthy enough to take advantage of it. Any country that has adopted that style of trade/business regardless of political leanings have seen a collapse of the middle class and a burgeoning lower class.

            Sound familiar?

            The right is terrified of Trump.

            The left sees him as a blackhole sucking the Republican party to oblivion.

            Running against Trump is Hillary’s wet dream.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m constantly amused at this kind of analysis. Hillary is scared of Trump and she’s got absolutely nothing to fight him with. The “right” is only terrified of losing their power, as is the “left.”

            But to counter your point, Hillary can’t hardly beat a devout self-declared socialist, whom, I might add, is not even a Democrat. He’s an independent who only caucuses with the Democrats. If she can’t hardly beat him, she’s gonna have a REAL problem beating a serious capitalist.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Its all smoke and mirrors as they all work for the same people.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Lou bc

            To be fair hillary is entirely a neo liberal conservative in regards to economic policy. The status quo is a huge part of her appeal in wealthy suburbs, more so even than her not hating gay people or suporting women’s rights is. This is the very heart of the Bernie/hillary divide in the democratic party. Kind of similar to how the republicans are spilt on individual liberty with the evangelicals vs the libertarians (frankly it’s not possible to top the absurdity of libertarians voting with theocrats but maybe that’s just me).

          • 0 avatar

            “Its all smoke and mirrors as they all work for the same people.”

            As long as individual Americans have a good job and have job-flexibility and can change jobs when necessary THEY DON’T CARE.

            This entire issue with America begins and ends at PRODUCTION.

            PRODUCTION = JOBS.

            PRODUCTION grows our economy – NOT CONSUMER SPENDING. Consumer spending creates more jobs only when there is money to redistribute through sales – those jobs are all reliant on PRODUCTION – so ultimately it is still PRODUCTION that grows our economy.

            WHISKEYRIVER

            I think you meant “million” not “billion”?

            321 Million Americans
            3 Billion Asians living in poverty = slave labor
            94 million not working/ underemployed out of America’s 321M.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            Umm make that about thirty years rather than 7, but I get your drift, it is all Obama’s fault, right?

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            The standard of living for the upper middle class and upper class has never been better since the time of the robber barons.

            The standard of living for the working and middle classes has been going down since the 1980s.

            Guess when was the time the working and middle class had it the best?

            During the 1960s (Eisenhower) when the US was most like European socialist countries.

            High tax rates on the wealthy.

            Big govt. tax payer financed projects like the interstate highway system.

            It has been the Republicans who kept pressure on Obama when it came to tax cuts for the wealthy (Obama renewed the Bush tax cuts, as the concession in giving the middle class a larger tax cut) – which only kept the budget deficit being larger than it would have been.

            Look at the economies of Kansas and Louisiana – their Republican governors gave more tax cuts to the wealthy and now they don’t have the $$ to keep basic govt. functions like public school education going.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Toyota generally is trying to make bolder statements, and Lexus in particular borrowed the aggressive grille idea from Audi.

    TTAC devoted a fair amount of airtime to trashing Audi’s design cues, but not so much time to acknowledging that they actually work in North America and elsewhere. There are times when the analysis around here isn’t exactly great.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      There’s a difference of kind between Audi’s impersonal, rounded rectangles or polygons and the deliberate distensions and flangings of the Asians’ maws to suggest Gaia’s bounteous marine carrion feeders.

      It’s creepily non-functional like pagoda roofs.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Chrysler started that oversized grill thing around the same time as Audi, but in reality, it’s just a repeat of what had been done in the past and what we had still seen in the uber-lux segment (Rolls and Bentley).

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    There are certainly people who select their cars based on looks. This is the only explanation as to why people buy terrible cars that happen to catch their eye. I’m sure each of you can cite your own examples of this.

    Other people buy cars based on what a specific car will do for them. This explains why people buy cars, such as the new Prius, that many people perceive as unattractive.

    Personally, I buy based on my perception of value. That is, what can a certain vehicle do for me, for how long, at what overall cost? It hardly matters to me whether the exterior of a car looks good or bad – I spend more time on the inside than on the outside of my car.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I got the new Prius on the “it is an appliance” school of thought. I considered printing up a bumper sticker that says “My car is uglier than your truck”. Ugly dogs can be endearing. The problem is the more I live with it, the better it looks. It is growing on me. Thankfully Toyota steered clear of the whale shark look and went with sports car pointy sloping hood line instead.

  • avatar
    Fred

    It use to be some person would design a car because they liked the way it looked. Now it’s done by committee to satisfy a perceived demograhic. Throw in safety and manufacturing concerns, and you get the above.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Great, I’ll just continue to buy American/Swedish. Nguyen-Nguyen.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Good thing I never wanted a Lexus anyway. Good luck selling to the Chinese.

  • avatar
    bricoler1946

    You have to admit that Lexus do ugly very well, the picture reminds me of a whale eating krill. Surely Lexus engineers can do better than that.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Seems like a golden opportunity for the traditional American luxury makes to make some headway then by building cars Americans want to buy as we will still be a sizable market.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      No, the American luxury makers are, like everyone else, more interested in making headway into the Chinese market. Do you know why the Art & Science lines are so much softer on the ATS than other Cadillacs? Because GM thinks the Chinese want softer lines. The ATS was made for that market, not ours.

      Lincoln is going all out to make the Continental a hit in China. They know they can’t make money off of heritage in America any longer. But the Chinese can be duped into anything, as long as they’re told this is how rich foreigners live.

      What else explains a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 running you $44 a bottle in China?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> What else explains a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 running you $44 a bottle in China?

        The taste for PBR doesn’t surprise me. Probably the perfect companion for a meal of tong zi dan.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          And to think when I went to college, the “poor” kids bought PBR….how things change…

          • 0 avatar
            Johnster

            When I went to college no one called it “PBR.” If anyone actually mentioned it by name they said the whole name out loud, or at least they said “Pabst”.

            Hey, the marketing worked!

            I guess that eventually everything becomes trendy if you wait long enough.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Nobody said PBR at that time….I was being lazy! Pabst it was!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            At least I can still get Hamm’s for about $13.50 for a 30-pack.

        • 0 avatar

          Not that much difference between urine and PBR.

          EDIT: I knew that tong zi dan are eggs boiled in urine but after looking it up I discovered it’s boiled in urine collected from toilets in schools preferably from boys under 10 years old.

          This factoid qualifies mcs for “awesome poster of the day.”

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Some of these new Lexus grill applications are worse than others. I saw a new LS the other day and was shocked at how grotesque it was from all angles. My friend bought the previous version and told me he’d never consider this one. He was pretty emphatic.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      It’s not universally awful, seriously! The non-F Sport ISs are really sharp looking. Meshing out the bottom half of the grill looks vastly better than the chrome horizontal slats across the full height.

  • avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    The Chinese market seems to have a preference for cartoonish throw-away designs that have a shelf life of six months…. all to the delight of car manufacturers. They have mastered the Apple Marketing playbook.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      That statement makes no sense, what designs does Apple have that have a shelf life of only 6 months? Apple is anything tends to dabble in longevity when it come to hardware design and UI design.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Bullsh!t, Chinese folks have better sense and taste. So called “designers” sniff glue and smoke crack before turning in their proposals which don’t seem to undergo real scrutiny to get approved. The prerogative of an automotive concern is to move the metal by any means, period. They’d approve anything if they thought it will up volume.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well… they can all “go fish”…

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I don’t like the Predator look but in the LF LC Concept pictured it actually looks good.

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    Earlier today, after a few moments of looking about, I thought BTSR had been kicked off TTAC and I rejoiced. Looking back in the archives I found an apparently deleted article about our resident bloviator and thought that someone at this site finally had the wherewithal to clean house and return the discussions back to the auto industry.
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ttacs-bigtruckseriesreview-goes-viral/#comment-7799466
    Alas, no. It’s like trying to not look at a car crash as you motor past all the carnage. I can’t bear it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Somebody call a waahmbulance and tell them to toss a gown on the gurney. Medium oughtta do.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I can remember times past (two or so years ago) where one or two mild comments were deleted from this site in the spirit of hosing down potential flame wars. One comment I remember was not even deliberately referential to anyone else or comment and it was deleted.
      Obviously the commentary moderation has changed considerably since there.

  • avatar
    nsrla

    I guess hearses have different styling in Asia, because from the side, the new Lexus RX looks a LOT like a hearse, especially in darker colors. Every time I see one, I can’t get that image out of my head.

  • avatar
    LD

    Lexus is committing harakiri. These grotesquely ugly beaks have turned off traditional buyers in it’s existing markets. I for one will never buy a Lexus with these ugly beaks, no matter how good the quality. Buying a car is as much an emotional decision about feeling good when you drive the car as it is an economic decision.

    As far as the Chinese market is concerned, I was talking to a young Chinese professional in Canada, who regularly as clockwork leases a new Mercedes every 3 years. She seems to be leaning towards something different when her current Mercedes lease expires. So I suggested a Lexus and she snootily responded, “I dont drive Japanese cars”. So much for Lexus’s dreams. She was quite open to the idea of a Maserati Quatroporte though. No wonder BMW, Mercedes and Audi combined sold about 1.4 million cars in China in 2015. Lexus sold 88,000 of which almost half was the ES, a rebadged Toyota Avalon.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    All I can see when Lexus changed its grille a few years back is Sigma’s logo (the Mavericks) from Mega Man X.

    http://i.imgur.com/Lk80u5h.png

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    “Vehicles from German luxury manufacturers, which have controlled the Chinese luxury market for decades, are very much on the conservative end of the design spectrum.”

    Germans these days have more options than ‘conservative.’ Porsche Panamera? BMW 6 and MB CLS 4-door ‘coupes?’ Like them or not, they are not conservative designs. And these German vehicles are opposite to current Lexuses being strange about everything except the trademark design language up front.

    Which brings up an observation that, concept cars aside, Lexus doesn’t go all the way with the grill; it is this outlandish thing glued to otherwise straightforward cars/CUV’s. If one is going to be outlandish with something like the grill, one needs to go big or go home and make the whole car just as over-the-top.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I know they aren’t designing them for me – I’d never have their hideous garbage near me for a reason.

    There is not a handsome design from any Japanese automaker that is currently on sale. Each year they get uglier and uglier.

    Why would I want a car that looks like it is Aunt Ester screwing “you fish eyed fool” while looking like a carp or a wide-mouth bass.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “As close as a blade” Victor Kiam,Remington. This Lexus grill looks like the foil on an electric shaver. Lexus could market an electric shaver with this design for the foil with the Lexus symbol imbedded in the foil.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Car on this picture is a sports-car so if it looks a’bit “crazy” ( but expensive ..) shouldn’t be a problem ..

    (It’s even good that asian-cars look oryginal, “more asian” than european or american cars ..
    We’ve got a problem if american and european producers adapt “more asian design ques than asian car producers themselves”..

    Chasing “ignorant, nouveauriche chinesse customer” should be “shameful and disgraceful” for these traditional car producers .. ,
    .. but as it seems it’s not so much for a big&powerful stock-market-corporations..>)

    Idea for Cadillac’s future >

    .. so if our nouveauriche asian friends like so much “good, traditional western brands” and .. at the same time they love “ostentatious style” .. and .. Cadillac’s Art&Science is getting nowhere(no more XLR’s “edging sharpness”, rather new “hipster-life-style” bluntness) so maybe they should come back with nice, classy “tailfins” .. >) cool, retro-modern Eldorado would be a hit in China and .. in US as well..>)

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