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Why are most cars so ugly?

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

  1. visionology

    visionology Senior member

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    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.
     
  2. epb

    epb Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. username79

    username79 Senior member

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    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.
     
  4. Desi

    Desi Senior member

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    maybe the consumer does not look at their ford focus and see a ugly car? Not exceptionally beautiful but not ugly.
     
  5. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Nvm. Fuuma can deal with it.
     
  6. Southern-Nupe

    Southern-Nupe Senior member

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    IMO...practicality does play a role in the styling of the mainstream automobile, (not including most niche vehicles). Take for example, the share of concept cars that look amazing when rotating on a pedestal, yet when production takes place, the cars are usually dumbed down for safety features, more appropriate sized wheels/wheel wellls, etc.
     
  7. username79

    username79 Senior member

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    since 90% of the respondents can't seem to wrap their head around the OP's point, change the question to: why can't a cheap car manufacturer duplicate the look of a 911 turbo yet just make it cheaper? aesthetically it would remain basically the same.

    Piobaire would like to let you know that the 911 Turbo is not as fast as the Mercedes SLR.
     
  8. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Piobaire would like to let you know that the 911 Turbo is not as fast as the Mercedes SLR.

    [​IMG]

    Someone is in a tizzy (again).
     
  9. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    To answer the original question, Yes, good design is much more expensive to acheive. Honda is building a car around the average consumer's budget, A-M is not.

    Complicated curves and deep fenders are something that are expensive to manufacture, thus they were removed from the designs of many cars. Take a look at the width of the fenders in some of the 60's models and compare to the average car of today, manufacturing has been slowly but effectively becoming more efficient to keep cost down and now designers have to work around that more so then in previous years.

    I was witness to the evolution of design in the 'new camaro', from the point where the original design was crafted and to where GM corporate execs chimed in on how the design would need to be altered for it to be capable of being manufactured.

    The original designer was a computer graphic designer who participated in a message board devoted to Classic cars that I participated in at the same time (while building my camaro). One of his designs caught the eye of a GM exec and they decided to put it to work, however not before making changes.

    The change that struck me the most was a comment about how the fenders had depth limits because of the tooling used in their manufacturing plants and how they would need to change the designs of certain curved panels to fit those parameters.

    Good design is much more expensive to produce and those manufacturers working around a typical consumers budget are far more restricted in their design.
     
  10. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Why are there more McMansions than Frank Gehry houses? Its niche design devoted to a small group of people, similar to the Austin Martin.
     
  11. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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  12. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    That man really enjoys his jaguar.
     
  13. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    That man really enjoys his jaguar.

    $10 says the author and the poster are one in the same. And having seen Hunts' Jag, who could blame him.
     
  14. MetroStyles

    MetroStyles Senior member

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    To answer the original question, Yes, good design is much more expensive to acheive. Honda is building a car around the average consumer's budget, A-M is not.

    Complicated curves and deep fenders are something that are expensive to manufacture, thus they were removed from the designs of many cars. Take a look at the width of the fenders in some of the 60's models and compare to the average car of today, manufacturing has been slowly but effectively becoming more efficient to keep cost down and now designers have to work around that more so then in previous years.

    I was witness to the evolution of design in the 'new camaro', from the point where the original design was crafted and to where GM corporate execs chimed in on how the design would need to be altered for it to be capable of being manufactured.

    The original designer was a computer graphic designer who participated in a message board devoted to Classic cars that I participated in at the same time (while building my camaro). One of his designs caught the eye of a GM exec and they decided to put it to work, however not before making changes.

    The change that struck me the most was a comment about how the fenders had depth limits because of the tooling used in their manufacturing plants and how they would need to change the designs of certain curved panels to fit those parameters.

    Good design is much more expensive to produce and those manufacturers working around a typical consumers budget are far more restricted in their design.


    Even with the design concessions, the new Camaro looks a whole lot nicer than the new Mustang, for example.
     
  15. LawrenceMD

    LawrenceMD Senior member

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    Alright, well then flip it around. Not why aren't the cars beautiful, but why are they so damn ugly? Almost intentionally so. I posted the Impreza as an excellent example of a reasonably-priced car with great lines. So there's got to be more to the story.

    apathy towards high design.... sometimes "new car" already makes it nice (to the masses) despite its ugliness.

    if someone gave me a brand new lincon towncar (which i think is really ugly) I'd still like the fact that its a brand new car.

    ugly cars are still cars. they transport people from point A to point B. while what a car looks like factors high in desirability, great lines and aesthetics are not essential to its purpose.

    finding a great mix of price, safety, performance, and looks requires a little work on the consumers part.

    So if you do find a reasonably priced car that looks great (on top of the more essential things) then kudos to you especially if you're in the minority.
     
  16. crazyquik

    crazyquik 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.

    Actually, the harsh (errr, responsive) suspension and greatest on-road capability make it the best for going 75 mph down the interstate, carving up on-ramps, and grabbing a good spot at the mall; all the main functional fortes of SUVs in its class.
     
  17. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Actually, the harsh (errr, responsive) suspension and greatest on-road capability make it the best for going 75 mph down the interstate, carving up on-ramps, and grabbing a good spot at the mall; all the main functional fortes of SUVs in its class.

    Now you've moved into a different realm. Many folks will tell you attempting sporty driving in an SUV is almost oxymoronic (I'm not one of them, but for different reasons). The form of the SUV is pretty much non-optimal for the function of sport driving and so many sporty cars look far better than the X5 (which I actually think is not that attractive).
     
  18. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    People also continuously let themselves be influenced by a label. I see it everywhere - if you debadged some of the cars people laud for styling, or put a Hyundai or Geely badge on them, you'd really get a sense of it.
     
  19. Germanicus

    Germanicus Senior member

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    People also continuously let themselves be influenced by a label. I see it everywhere - if you debadged some of the cars people laud for styling, or put a Hyundai or Geely badge on them, you'd really get a sense of it.

    Definitely. I often wonder how people can like AUDIs if they all look the same, just in a diferent size. If it was a Hyundai they would be complaining about it all day long.
     
  20. sjd

    sjd Senior member

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    Look at the number 1 selling car in the U.S. it's the Toyota Camry, a car that has no style and is pretty bland from a design standpoint. But it sells because it is a road appliance, a toaster on wheels. It's meant for going to point to A to point B and be reliable. Most people don't want to stand out, which is why most cars are silver or black. When Chris Bangle and Adrian Van Hooydonk redid BMW's design language people hated it. My point is that the majority of people hate change and hate radical design.
     

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