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Why are most cars so ugly? - Page 3

post #31 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
The X5 M is a great choice to demonstrate exactly what George and I are saying, even compared to other SUVs in that price point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire
George made a very good argument and I'm not unconvinced there in is most of the answer. At the low to middle end, you need to maximize function and space. Even people that have A-Ms usually have one or more "ugly" vehicles that sees to most of their driving needs.

These cars have mega-buck multi-year design cycles. It does not seem to me an attractive design (a la X5 M) is any more costly to manufacture or design than an ugly one (a la Crosstour.) The Crosstour actually appears to be a more complex design. If costs are equal, labor is equal, and priorities can be maintained (space, size, utility), why would the manufacturer not choose to make the design beautiful? Wouldn't the beautiful design sell more cars?
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by username79 View Post
These cars have mega-buck multi-year design cycles. It does not seem to me an attractive design (a la X5 M) is any more costly to manufacture or design than an ugly one (a la Crosstour.) The Crosstour actually appears to be a more complex design. If costs are equal, labor is equal, and priorities can be maintained (space, size, utility), why would the manufacturer not choose to make the design beautiful? Wouldn't the beautiful design sell more cars?

Not my point. Compare the actual functionality of the BMW to other similarly prices SUVs. Let's say, an RR and and a GL550, as they pop to mind. BMW = smallest interior, harshest ride, smallest cargo capacity, least off road capable. By most functional fortes of an SUV, it is a class laggard.
post #33 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by username79 View Post
These cars have mega-buck multi-year design cycles. It does not seem to me an attractive design (a la X5 M) is any more costly to manufacture or design than an ugly one (a la Crosstour.) The Crosstour actually appears to be a more complex design. If costs are equal, labor is equal, and priorities can be maintained (space, size, utility), why would the manufacturer not choose to make the design beautiful? Wouldn't the beautiful design sell more cars?
Design is about what it evokes and how it is well attuned to solving the problems of daily living (quite different for a family of 4 than for a guy looking to speed on the weekend). The qualities you see in the design of luxury cars would simply be incongruous if attached to a mid to low priced daily driver. ps: you are right, loads of money is spent in designing mid to low priced cars and the designers and teams involved are no less prestigious, the client no less discerning. This is pretty nice: http://www.usounds.com/the-citroen-ds-by-barthes
post #34 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
Not my point. Compare the actual functionality of the BMW to other similarly prices SUVs. Let's say, an RR and and a GL550, as they pop to mind. BMW = smallest interior, harshest ride, smallest cargo capacity, least off road capable. By most functional fortes of an SUV, it is a class laggard.
What the fuck? Your point is irrelevant to the topic. Are you being stupid on purpose? Substitute the RR for the X5 and I could make the same argument, thus invalidating yours. Time for some fresh air. Maybe go for a drive in your minivan? Audi A5 or Honda Accord Coupe. Let's just casually agree they have the same utility, function, and space, and that the differences are irrelevant (because they are to this argument!). Why now, brown cow, is the A5 so attractive and the Honda not? Please don't tell me because of function.
post #35 of 87
Mmmm...
post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
The X5 M is a great choice to demonstrate exactly what George and I are saying, even compared to other SUVs in that price point.

The Accord crosstour, the Acura ZDX, and the BMW X6 and X5 M all share a similar brand of total hideousness.
post #37 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by yerfdog View Post
The Accord crosstour, the Acura ZDX, and the BMW X6 and X5 M all share a similar brand of total hideousness.

+10

...I was just going to make this point, the X6 almost makes an Aztek desirable...
post #38 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by username79 View Post
Why do automakers make ugly cars? I've often thought about it. I've seen an Aston Martin parked next to a new Accord. The difference is very striking. Does the Aston have curves that are hard to make (costly) in mass production? I would think with the economies of scale of Honda/Toyota that they could make just about anything at a price far cheaper or equivalent to Aston's/Fords manufacture.

I'll take a crack at this, as one of my favorite subjects is cars that are much nicer looking than their price-points would indicate.

First, the cars you're talking about aren't shooting for ugly but rather innocuous. The goal is to sell lots of them, and so the design can't be polarizing. I think several Bangle BMWs are beautiful, lots of people hate them, and BMW had record sales for the models because both views are at the extreme; most people simply bought the latest BMW and have no idea who Chris Bangle is. Adrian Van Hooydonk? His name seriously won't be coming up... Honda and Toyota don't need or want such debates. People don't buy their cars for design or performance, they buy them to avoid walking.

Second, beautiful cars raise expectation levels. The Pontiac Solstice is a gorgeous design and a decent spors car, but its looks make you wish it had nicer leather, better plastics, a more refined engine note; there's a small cottage industry in updating Solstice/Sky interiors with wood and leather. The stock interior is perfectly serviceable and right in line with the car's price and the Pontiac line overall, for the time. The dis-satisfaction comes from the design of the car looking so much nicer than its materials.

A Honda that looks as nice as an Aston Martin is writing a check with it's looks that the rest of the car can't cash. Better to tone the looks down to materials and performance levels.

Third, this is an America-centric view. Some European car makers have mastered the art of nice-looking cars made with bargain materials. VW's managed it for a while, especially with their Seat and Skoda lines. The Dacia Logan is nice-looking, basic transportation. Peugeot, Citroen, Alfa Romeo and Fiat all make interesting, attractive cheap cars (Brera, 500). Hell, even Ford's Euro/UK division has done some cool, cheap cars. - I've always liked the first Focus and the Ka, especially the SportKa. Even the Smart Fortwo shows some thoughtful design choices and style risks.

However, lots of these cars won't play in Peoria and the car makers know it, as does much of SF. Americans overall don't care enough about design, style, or quality to warrant effort in these directions, and the people that do are seen as snobby, trendy, superficial or overpaid, same as with clothes.

And there's something to that: for every person that buys an item from an appreciation of its design or history, 10 more buy it because of the label/brand/make, and would be happy with a knock-off.
post #39 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by username79 View Post


What the fuck? Your point is irrelevant to the topic. Are you being stupid on purpose? Substitute the RR for the X5 and I could make the same argument, thus invalidating yours. Time for some fresh air. Maybe go for a drive in your minivan?

Audi A5 or Honda Accord Coupe. Let's just casually agree they have the same utility, function, and space, and that the differences are irrelevant (because they are to this argument!). Why now, brown cow, is the A5 so attractive and the Honda not? Please don't tell me because of function.



No, stupid is natural for me. Sadly though, it's quite apparent my natural state is far superior to yours.

You do realize neither George nor I proposed this concept as a grand unified theory, right? I mean, surely you're not so simple to think one explanation will explain the entire car market, right? Oh wait...I've read your prior posts.

Question answered.
post #40 of 87
this even works for simple things like clothes right? why do people wear such shitty clothes when can buy, with the same amount, better fitting and looking clothes. some people just don't give a shit and will drive the Aztek . I love how the show breaking bad uses the Aztek as the ultimate example of sloppy american middle class consumerism and just seeing a fictional character drive one makes viewers feel despair and depression seep in. but it does go the other way too... the other car in breaking bad is the jeep wagoneer. this was considered ugly and now is really kick ass in my opinion.
post #41 of 87
I've always dicussed this same issue with friends. The only thing I can think of is that they can come up with some nice looking concepts but in the end mass production and the end consumer ends up killing cars. Parts have to be made simply and cheaply to decrease the product cost, part and gap tolerances are not as high as handbuilt cars, wheel gaps are increased to lessen the amount of road issues, and products are made more vanilla to get mass appeal. The best looking cars tend to be handbuilt, for a niche market, small production, and very expensive so custom formed body panels and other details can be had that you'd never see in a production car.
post #42 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology View Post
The best looking cars tend to be handbuilt, for a niche market, small production, and very expensive so custom formed body panels and other details can be had that you'd never see in a production car.

That used to be true. Part of why the Bangle-era Bimmers look as they do is that advances in metal-shaping technology made it possible to mass-produce more complex shapes than previous stampings. The idea behind "flame-surfacing" was to take advantage of this. Combined with the freedom modern light systems (shaped lenses, HIDs, and LEDs - remember when all headlights were round?) the shape of a car is far less limited than before, and as we go on more designers will capitalize on that.

Where exotics now stand out from other cars is exotic materials like carbon fiber chassis and advanced technology like dual clutch automated transmissions.
post #43 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
No, stupid is natural for me. Sadly though, it's quite apparent my natural state is far superior to yours. You do realize neither George nor I proposed this concept as a grand unified theory, right? I mean, surely you're not so simple to think one explanation will explain the entire car market, right? Oh wait...I've read your prior posts.
Someone asks why most cars are ugly. They give an example of an X5 versus a Honda Crosstour, based solely on design. You then make the completely relevant point that a X5 does not have equal utility to a Range Rover or a Mercedes. Very helpful and entirely relevant to the original point. Thanks again.
post #44 of 87
maybe the consumer does not look at their ford focus and see a ugly car? Not exceptionally beautiful but not ugly.
post #45 of 87
Nvm. Fuuma can deal with it.
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