19 Sept 2012

New car released by car manufacturer

No we haven't lost the plot - the headline really does say that.  Every day we receive press releases telling us about this new car and that new special edition.  We sift through the hype and PR blurb and look for cars, bikes and stories that interest us.

But today we received a press release for a new car by a big car manufacture.  And we really struggled to care.  The design of the car is dementedly bland.  Novocain for the eyes.

So we tried an experiment.  We obscured the logos and posted the following photo on twitter and facebook and invited people to guess what it was.  The only clue we gave was that it was brand new and made by a large car manufacturer.

Still awake?  If so, here are the answers that came back:

Is that the new Prius?
Honda Civic
Honda Civic
Kia or Hyundai
Toyota Auris
New Golf
Toyota Verso
Honda Civic
Honda Civic

The good news is that two people got it right.  The bad news is that of the two, one is a motoring journalist and the other works for the car company that makes the new car.

What on earth is going on?  The car company in question has sold nearly 2.5 million vehicles in it's history and sold 6,000 examples of the outgoing version of the new car (in the UK) in the first six months of this year.

Car design in the right hands can be a wonderful, beautiful thing.  See Zagato, Jaguar, McLaren, Ferrari, Land Rover and even Mercedes-Benz for recent examples of outstanding contemporary design.  BMW had a go and got it wrong but at least they tried.

This new car is symptomatic of a creeping awfulness in design that is seeping into the car industry.  The car as white good.  To be sold in millions of units.  To be consumed rather than appreciated and loved.  Designed to go from A to B without wanting to explore the bits in between for the sheer joy of it.

The car with no pleasure whatsoever.

The automotive manufacturer who have released this car should be ashamed of themselves.  Particularly because they have recently released a brand new sportscar that has reinvented the sector and features modern, elegant design that incorporates functionality as well as beauty.

Honda's new Accord is a car that could have been a fantastic, elegant vehicle.  The concept looked every bit the must-have mid-range saloon car.  But when photos of the actual car that will actually hit the showrooms were released we realised we had been conned.  All the interesting bits had been removed and replaced with a blob of metal masquerading as a car.

Whether this new car also had an interesting looking concept early in its design we will never know.  We hope this manufacturer, and others guilty of similar crimes, see the error of their ways and hire new designers with at least an ounce of soul.  And then let their designs actually make their way onto the finished products.

If you want to know what the car is please get in touch via twitter and we'll tell you.