Tag: car design

By on October 18, 2018

1992 Cadillac Brougham Front, Image: Sajeev MehtaCadillac suffered no dearth of cultural relevance back in ’92, but mercifully today’s tone deaf marketing digs make way for a move back to DetroitAnd while my heavily East Asian/European design influences at CCS were no harbinger of global platforms, inauthentic proportioning and ridiculous alphanumeric names, I secretly wish Kanye’s CCS mic-drop coulda done me a solid and went there instead. 

No matter. The “Without the Escalade, I don’t know where we would be” situation is proof that brand-relevant design must remain in modernization/globalization’s righteous quest. (Read More…)

By on September 14, 2018

1958 Continental Mark III Front End, Image: AutoEvolution

Mister Steve writes:

Sajeev:

There seems to be a trend, at least among the younger crop of auto writers, to anthropomorphize an automobile based on its looks. It seems like you can barely get through a review of a new car without mention of automotive anthropomorphism: “angry eyes” or “ugly mouth” to describe styling. Definitely not how I recall descriptions from the likes of David E. Davis, Jr. or Chubby Chedder.

My theory for this is that they’re the generation that grew up during the Cars movie franchise. Seeing as I’m one of the “olds” who grew up when this wasn’t a thing, I could be wrong.

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2018

Trabant 601 front, © 2018 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

On a frigid Detroit winter morning in 1998, I foolishly argued with a CCS professor over the need for conventional sedans or hatchbacks for our India design projects. Almost a decade later, the Tata Nano’s hatchback design was the justification I needed for believing designers place far too much weight in their creativity. Even if the Nano isn’t a smashing success, it proved the point.

No such worries exist with the Trabant 601: the socioeconomic backdrop ensured the success of Dr. Werner Lang’s creation. (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 Regular Cab Side View, Image: Ken Grody Ford

Having previously discussed Day Light Opening (DLO), let’s define DLO FAIL.

And perhaps learn why DLOs sometimes fail?
(Read More…)

By on December 19, 2017

1937 Delage D8 120 S Pourtout Aero Coupe, Image: www.coachbuild.com

With reader feedback always on my mind, perhaps an overview of commonly used terms in the car design trade is needed. Let’s define the Daylight Opening (DLO) and dig into one of the more confusing terms in a car designer’s handbook. (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2017

1940 Continental, Image: http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu

With reader feedback always on my mind, perhaps an overview of commonly used terms in the car design trade is needed.

Let’s discuss the dash-to-axle: a notion that’s (probably) been a car design staple since Edsel Ford’s vision for an European-inspired flagship — one which added 7 inches to the hood of a mere luxury car. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2017

2019 Audi A7 silhoutte - Image: AudiAt 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 19, 2017, the second-generation Audi A7 will be unveiled. Based on the silhouette Audi has already revealed, and based on Audi’s historic design habits, the second-generation A7 will appear remarkably similar to the first-generation Audi A7.

At some point in November, Audi USA will sell its 50,000th A7, making the hatchbacked A6 a low-volume car even by the standards of America’s third-ranked German luxury brand. Yet as a style and status symbol, the A7 remains a model of great importance to the overall Audi lineup. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Dodge Dart Audi A8 rear end - Images: FCA & AudiMy Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era in which I was a sentient being.

As for the newer Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car. By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.

Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely liked the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.

I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2017

E-Class, 5 Series, A6, Panamera - Images: BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche“I think the British do a pretty good job — they seem to produce cars that look British,” Ford Motor Company’s retired design chief J Mays says.

Given that Minis essentially look the same as they’ve always looked, Mays makes a good case.

But Mays tells Automotive News he’s “a big stickler for cultural relevance.” And while the man whose influence can still be seen across much of the Ford lineup — he retired three years ago — credits the Brits for bringing culture to car design, he gives no such credit to the Germans. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

Images: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta

Tell me something: how can one fault Lee Iacocca for suggesting this vehicle — this blend of architecture, curves and beveled jewelry — generated over a billion dollars annually for Ford?

And how could you resist? There wasn’t a Lexus yet!
(Read More…)

By on August 22, 2017

ND Mazda MX-5 Miata Design Exercises - Image: MazdaThe end result is tasty. Maybe the narrow headlamps are sliced too thinly; the hood cut line that intersects with the housing too obvious. Perhaps the rear end could use a bit more breadth. The wheels still appear a bit small from some angles.

But the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata — known in Mazda circles as the ND, succeeding the NA, NB, and NC — is generally regarded as an eye-catching, modern, successful evolution of the venerable Mazda sports car.

How did Mazda arrive at the end result? What led Mazda to settle on the final production version? Which styling direction was rejected?

In a fit of transparency, Mazda’s PR department has released the entire background of the process, including 140 photos detailing the evolution of what would become the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2017

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar - Image: Land RoverIt’s 2017. If this isn’t The Year Of The Luxury SUV, then surely we’re fast approaching The Year Of The Luxury SUV.

Therefore, Land Rover can pretty well do whatever it wants. “A brand like ours,” says Land Rover’s chief design officer Gerry McGovern, “has this ability to stretch.”

Bentley Bentayga rival? “Absolutely,” McGovern says.

Identically sized Range Rovers? “If they had two personalities then they’ve both got equal appeal but to different customers,” McGovern tells Automotive News Europe.

There’s no reason to doubt Land Rover’s self-belief. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2017 Ssangyong Rexton - Image: SsangyongOn one end of the spectrum, there’s the Ssangyong Rodius, which actually isn’t as catastrophically designed in its second-generation form as it was from 2004 to 2013.

On the other, there’s the Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Pininfarina.

Somewhere in between will be the next edition of Ssangyong’s large Rexton SUV, due in the early part of the next decade and styled by one of the world’s foremost design houses.

Bentley Bentayga, BMW X4, Lexus LX570? Get in line. The Ssangyong Rexton has secured Pininfarina’s services already. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

2011-2015-2018 Hyundai Sonatas - Images: HyundaiAfter the forgotten third-generation car, the odd and bulbous fourth-generation car, and the dull fifth-generation car, the sixth Hyundai Sonata was unveiled at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. It was surprising, even shocking, that Hyundai so dramatically transformed its staid midsize car into a radical “fluidic sculpture” sedan.

In the United States, after averaging 132,000 sales over the previous half-decade, the Hyundai Sonata exploded. By 2012, Hyundai sold more than 230,000 copies, and the Sonata averaged 215,000 U.S. sales between 2010 and 2014, a 63-percent increase compared with the previous half-decade average.

The momentum was not sustained. The seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata debuted in the United States at 2014’s New York International Auto Show. Where did the fun go? Where was the drama, the cat-like headlamps, the desire to stand out from the pack?

“We went from a very striking design, to a very beautiful car, but it just didn’t turn heads like the car before it did,” Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of product planning, Mike O’Brien, tells Automotive News. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2017

2018 Honda Accord Touring - Image: HondaThe 2018 Honda Accord will be assembled in Marysville, Ohio. The overwhelming majority of its sales will occur in the United States of America. Its dimensions, inside and out, suit the U.S. market. In 2016, the Accord ranked second on Cars.com’s American-Made Index.

Open its trunk and a family of bald eagles fly out, having successfully incubated apple pies, having binge-watched every season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. There’s a subtle Statue of Liberty easter egg on the windshield, Hollywood signs engraved in its cupholders, and a 3D hologram of Mount Rushmore featuring a fifth character — Soichiro Honda — that emerges from the glovebox if you shift the manual transmission into sixth, say VTEC three times, and spit over your left shoulder.

The Accord, according to lead exterior designer Tetsuji Morikawa, “is an American car.”

To make sure of that, however, Morikawa said the design team, “wanted to feel like Americans.” And they wanted to finish their design of the 10th-generation Accord in the United States, not Japan. (Read More…)

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