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Why are most cars so ugly?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by username79, May 8, 2010.

  1. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    Fuuma, despite being annoying and too obtuse to realize your own pretensions (oh, look at me, I look like an artist and I'm original), you are at most times not even remotely entertaining. I'm not sure what purpose you serve.

    Purpose? I'm not into teleological interpretations related to man's destiny so I dunno what to say. Maybe I serve to remind you there is always someone more snobbish than you can ever be.
     
  2. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    FWIW, I usually find him quite entertaining. I mean, dragging teleology into this? :clap:

    However, let's re-rail the thread.

    If you follow the form/function concept, the duties of most cars are far from pretty.
     
  3. username79

    username79 Senior member

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    FWIW, I usually find him quite entertaining. I mean, dragging teleology into this? :clap: However, let's re-rail the thread. If you follow the form/function concept, the duties of most cars are far from pretty.
    Right. Despite all the suggestions as to socioeconomic stature thus far put forward, the simple fact that remains that nearly everyone considers the Aston Martin a beautiful car. Old people, teenage girls, homeless people, car enthusiasts, people who think cars are only for A-B, Prius drivers, even most on this forum. Would it not make sense for Honda to design a more beautiful car? Would it not increase sales? They have hundreds if not thousands of people working years on each car design. How much cost would it add to make the car beautiful? Is that cost somehow more expensive than the gain? Or is there simply a shortage of talented designers and they are all working for the high end firms that produce the few beautiful cars? This is plausible. The other interesting thing is that Acura goes to great length to showcase their new design center and prowess while turning out some of the most downright ugly cars, a mixture of parent brand blandness slapped with showy and garish chrome. They've showcased and named the young female designer of their new crossover. In "style," their marketing magazine, they devote a great amount of space to showing how attractive they think their cars to be. They have a feature on the TSX, showcasing it's "really great design." A quarter of the article about the TSX is spent about the "pure pleasure" of the body of the NSX, a now nineteen year old design! Really bizarre.
     
  4. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    Anytime someone drags "teleology" into anything, they've proven to me they went to community college.

    You've got me there. Cubicle job, community college, daily SUV driver, yep, that's me!
     
  5. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Anytime someone drags "teleology" into anything, they've proven to me they went to community college.

    Don't be bitter. If you don't make it to CC, maybe one of your kids will.

    Topic:

    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.
     
  6. George

    George Senior member

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    Right. Despite all the suggestions as to socioeconomic stature thus far put forward, the simple fact that remains that nearly everyone considers the Aston Martin a beautiful car. Old people, teenage girls, homeless people, car enthusiasts, people who think cars are only for A-B, Prius drivers, even most on this forum. Would it not make sense for Honda to design a more beautiful car? Would it not increase sales? They have hundreds if not thousands of people working years on each car design. How much cost would it add to make the car beautiful? Is that cost somehow more expensive than the gain? Or is there simply a shortage of talented designers and they are all working for the high end firms that produce the few beautiful cars?
    Try and find us an example of what you consider is a beautiful car that is in the same sector as the Honda. Your point interests me, but an Aston /Honda comparison is unfair for some of the reasons I stated.
     
  7. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    Don't be bitter. If you don't make it to CC, maybe one of your kids will. Topic: 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.
    That the designs are more prosaic is almost unavoidable and not a bad thing for most drivers. Luxury cars are "concept" cars hence the bolder and invariably less practical designs (that I happen to find gaudy but I'll easily grant you this is beside the point). The class consciousness (aspirational or not) of posters in this thread is a very sad thing to behold...
     
  8. JoyDiffusion

    JoyDiffusion Senior member

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    Because most people have bad tastes and revel in mediocrity.

    Same reason why most Americans aspire to live in houses like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. username79

    username79 Senior member

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    Try and find us an example of what you consider is a beautiful car that is in the same sector as the Honda. Your point interests me, but an Aston /Honda comparison is unfair for some of the reasons I stated.
    There isn't one, which is the point of the thread. Why can't Honda maximize space and function, while also making a beautiful car? Expand this to SUVs. While more controversial, the X5 M is a very attractive SUV. Compare to a Honda SUV. Yes, they are in different classes and price ranges, but why can't Honda make an SUV that looks as good as the X5 M? Why do they come out with the Crosstour, which looks like a misshapen turd? This isn't about function or interior space. Why does a huge company like Honda have to have a single "priority?" I argue there are as much resources in Honda's exterior design department as there are at Aston Martin's. Constraints of function, visibility, and interior space cannot account for the difference in aesthetics. Consider the outgoing BMW 550i Sport. Here's a car that has as much space and practicality as the Accord but is far more attractive. Again, why? Also, I don't buy the "Americans have bad taste because they are not as sophisticated as StyleForum posters" argument above. All these Americans would turn and stare at the A-M. Some would pretend to jack off. It would be a different matter entirely if they found the Honda attractive and the A-M ugly. This is not the case.
     
  10. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    There isn't one, which is the point of the thread. Why can't Honda maximize space and function, while also making a beautiful car? Expand this to SUVs. While more controversial, the X5 M is a very attractive SUV. Compare to a Honda SUV. Yes, they are in different classes and price ranges, but why can't Honda make an SUV that looks as good as the X5 M? Why do they come out with the Crosstour, which looks like a misshapen turd? This isn't about function or interior space.

    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.
     
  11. username79

    username79 Senior member

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    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.

    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?
     
  12. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    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.
     
  13. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    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
     
  14. username79

    username79 Senior member

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    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.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] 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.
     
  15. George

    George Senior member

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  16. yerfdog

    yerfdog Senior member

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    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.
     
  17. Southern-Nupe

    Southern-Nupe Senior member

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    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...
     
  18. epb

    epb Senior member

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    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.
     
  19. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    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.


    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  20. LawrenceMD

    LawrenceMD Senior member

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    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. [​IMG] 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. [​IMG]
     

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