I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the automotive world, where auto makers are deliberately making all of their cars look alike in some misguided sense of “branding”..
I’m not saying that all manufacturers are guilty of this – Just look at companies like Ford and Subaru. Every one of their cars has a unique look all it’s own, the only thing they share is their badging.
You’ll never mistake one for another. Sure, the Ford Fusion, Ford Edge, and Ford Explorer have a similarly styled grilles, but the rest of the front is different enough that you can easily tell which is which.
Unfortunately, other brands have done just the opposite. In my opinion, one of the worst offenders is Audi, who’s recent A8 redesign makes it look like a slightly larger A4. If I’m spending $80K on Audi’s flagship car, I don’t want people mistaking it for their $32K entry level car! The same holds true for BMW, who’s entire product line looks the same. Acura followed suit in 2009 when they introduced their infamous “beak” grille across their entire model line. (Incidently, that’s why we bought a leftover 2008 TL instead of the new 2009 TL)
But it’s not just luxury brands doing this. Jeep have a ton of vehicles that look alike. My wife saw what she thought was a new Jeep Grand Cherokee on the road the other day, but it turned out to be a Commander or Patriot (I’m still not sure).
And then there’s Dodge. Can you tell the difference between a Caliber, Avenger, and Charger? I know I’ve been fooled more than once!
Dodge got it right with the Challenger, you’ll never mistake it for anything else.. So why not do the same thing for the rest of their model line? Dodge gave the Charger a facelift for 2011, and the most noticable change is in the rear. A HUGE improvement that was long overdue. But the front-end was left alone. The 2011 Dodge Charger SRT8 has an aggressive front-end that is bad-ass. Why didn’t they offer some variation of that snout to the rest of the Chargers?
Here’s hoping that things take a turn for the better.. If not, we’re all going to be driving generic, automatic econoboxes pretty soon!