Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why is Auto Design So Boring Right Now?

It's early in 2008 and the Detroit Auto Show is in full swing (the Media portion is over and the Public portion begins on Saturday the 19th).

How exciting were the new offerings from some of your favorite players in the Automotive world?
If you answered a resounding "Not Very!" then you would be correct...

Let's take a quick peek at what the Automakers think we are interested in, shall we?

The BMW X6
I think the design process went something like this... "Hey guys (and gals?), let's take my existing, hated design and make it larger!" "Sure thing Chris Bangle!"

The Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept
I have always wanted taillights that remind me of a woman's uterus

The Volvo R Design XC90
Does the "R" stand for Really-uninspired-designers?

The Saturn Flextreme Concept
"Umm.. excuse sir/madam, does your car have a a wedgie?"

The Toyota Venza Crossover Sedan
The last one on this list (though I could keep going)... Did you notice a theme amongst these cars? THEY ALL LOOK LIKE THIS!! Who wants more of that anyway?

Now... I don't want you to think that the show is filled with nothing but copycat/boring mid-size SUV/CUV/XUV/WhateverUVs...

Here are a few of the vehicles that give a glimer of hope that some designers & engineers enjoy their work and are constantly trying to take things to the next level:

The Fisker Kharma Hybrid
"Dad, is this a hybrid hybrid?" "No it's a cool hybrid... now hop in and I will get you to school in about 10 seconds, you little scamp..."

The Mazda Furai
Though this car may be a little "too fast... too furious" in the stlye department for some, it is different and inspired, and you will never be able to afford it.

The Corvette ZR-1
If you don't get excited by this car (650+hp!!) then you are most likely dead, or perhaps communist... or maybe a dead commie? This is like pornography for middle-american men...

The Cadillac CTS-V
This is my favorite of the group at the show this year. It has all the comforts of a Caddy, yet all the go-fast of a vette (it has the same engine as the car pictured above, just detuned a bit to a "mild" 550hp).

The Tang Hua "Detroit Fish"
You may be asking yourself why I included this thing... well, it is different, thats why! This vehicle is amphibious. Imagine rolling to the lake and cruising past the startled expressions of the people unloading their boats and jet-skis as you plunge into the water and off into the sunset... or as you motor around the yachtclub past all the boring Duffy's. This is interesting and it deserves to be on this list.

So take note Detroit (and you other guys from across the various ponds...), we don't want 30 examples of a Ford Edge. We want inspired, exciting, passionate, different, unique, and new... back to the drawing board please.