25 June 2007

Ford : Home Of The Original Styling Cue


See that Lexus up there? In the US, it was sold as the Lexus IS300, the Lexus answer to the BMW 3 Series. In Japan it was sold as the Toyota Altezza. Sales started in 1998. It had some issues- namely, it didn't have that big of an engine, and the interior really wasn't all that Lexussy. It was a case of Lexus trying to be BMW a bit too hard. It even had an inline 6. What it DID have going for it was its looks- it's a handsome car from all angles, and even managed to look good in wagon form- a rarity. Notice those tail lamps? The IS300/Altezza started a trend in 98- 'Altezza' lights, which are basically clear casings with lots of chrome bits showing through. A more common sighting of Altezza lights would be Nissan, which cribbed the idea to an extreme in 2002 with the Altima (now in extra large versions with the current gen).

Well driving around this morning, it struck me just how hard the American makes are trying to make the rear ends of their vehicles look like Altezzas. It's quite funny actually. Especially in light of all the brouhaha they make about 'traditional American style' being the key area where they can trump the Japanese. The entire Saturn lineup is starting to look like Nissans from behind now... but the biggest offender is Ford. Who are methodically turning the front of their cars into Mach 3 razor blade replacement cartridges, and the rear of their cars into 1998 Toyota Altezzas. From the Fusion (which started it) to the yet to be released Focus, all the new Ford coming out are cribbing this styling element. Without grace or style I might add. Even moreso than the Altima, which was a shameless offender in previous gen guise in terms of a 'tacked on look' to the tails, the current Ford products look like 2 different designers had a go at the car- one at the front and one at the back.

Bear witness:






All of them with ultra glitzy rear ends for no other purpose than to copy the Japanese. Who would have thought the day would come where American style would be influenced by the Japanese? Well, it's here.

6 comments:

69Firebird400 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
69Firebird400 said...

Very true! Don't forget the 2004+ Chevy Equinox's Altezza wannabe taillights. Even the 2008 Pontiac G8 GT has derivatives of the Altezza lamps. You should have also used the "shameful copying" tag on this post. :)

Mags said...

Done and done. Tag added.

69Firebird400 said...

I just remembered that the 2007 Aveo has them too. You could come up with a whole other post of the GMs that took the Altezza lights if you wanted to...

Anonymous said...

Ahem, the 2007 Sentra has them, as many newer Korean cars. It's called a "Styling trend".

Look it up,

tomcatt630@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

America had head lights and tail light long before Japan even had an auto manufacturer. Styling is irrelivant when they had America and Europe opening the doors and paving the roads for them.