We ask ourselves every time we see heavy traffic, is there no variance
anymore amongst car models? In the old days, as a matter of fact only
five ore ten years ago every single car brand seemed to have it's own
personality, today they look more like a cluster of copycats. What went
wrong?
One reason is that the automotive industry has certain trends it has to
follow, just like fashion designers and musical composers. In times of
recession and decreasing sales there is less room to take chances and
manufacturers are prone to follow the common pattern as a safer bet
rather than releasing a controversial product that might or might not
sell very well. This makes for different models to conform considerably
under the rules and regulations for the design of a car of this decade.
Another reason is that many manufacturers actually cooperate and by
contracts copy each others models. The Mitsubishi 3000 GT for example is
practically the same car as the Dodge Stealth, only the Mitsubishi is
made in Japan at the original factory and the Stealth is made in the US
at the Dodge factory. Apart from the two emblems respectively, very few
details differ the two cars. Honda who have been in need of a sport
utility vehicle in order to grab their share of that part of the market,
which has grown considerably the last decade have taken almost desperate
measures. They have simply bought the rights to re-badge the Isuzu Rodeo
as the Honda Passport and marketed it as an all new model.
The last and maybe the most logical reason is that all manufacturers
are striving towards 'the perfect car'. All cars are supposed to offer a
maximum of performance, passenger room and cargo space, and a minimum of
fuel consumption and cost to manufacture and maintain. There are only so
many ways to technically achieve these goals. Cars tend to get more
rounded edges in order to be more aerodynamic. The trunk lid is high in
order to offer greater cargo space without imposing on the passengers.
The design of the trunk lid is also approaching the 'optimal' shape for
easy loading and access. Windows are large and pillars are thin for
better view. The lights, both back and front, are homing in on the
design for maximum visibility. The wheel base is decided on basis of
good turning ability both in the case of parking and at high speeds.
Everyone is simply trying to design 'the perfect car' so it is natural
that they are all headed in the same scientific direction.
Considering the facts that all car manufacturers seem to have the same
aims with their models, that they cooperate and use same parts, series
of parts and even the same models under different names it seems quite
natural that modern cars tend to look more and more alike.