Horrendous Design at Detroit

First off, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder; it’s in the eye of the buyer. And in the U.S. one can never underestimate the taste of automobile buyers.

In the past, they have bought cars like the AMC Pacer in large numbers—and probably thought they were beautiful.

Who is going to buy anything like the Chevrolet Tru 130R concept shown above? Here’s a retro muscle car with 150 hp and matte gold 20-inch wheels. The bulging hood hides a mighty 1.4-liter turbo four.

It’s much easier to produce an ugly car than a beautiful one, and the Detroit show demonstrates that principle in spades. High-end brands can occasionally produce amazing, if not beautiful, concepts like BMW’s i8 (which may be going to production), but mass-market cars are a different story.

The new Dodge Dart and Ford Fusion look like their designers were serious people, intent on making a product that people would buy. Then we have makers like Hyundai who, on the one hand, produce a sharp car like the Elantra, named Car of the Year in Detroit. And then turn around and mess up the Genesis sport coupe (above) with “more aggressive styling.”

They have added numerous mechanical and tech improvements, detailed in the longest press release ever, but the car still looks awful, front to back. More pix here. The designers may have been pressed to make a production deadline.

Lexus has totally transformed its once-beautiful LFA concept into the glitzy LF-LC, with chrome wheels and a grille that makes no design sense at all.

Not to be outdone, Acura took the best-looking car it ever produced, the NSX, and turned it into a grinning jumble of front-end design clichés.

Chrysler’s design team threw this bloated 700C concept minivan together one night after a party of heavy drinking and giggling. “Let’s see how this one flies with the fools at Detroit.” And so they have set up a poll to sample opinion on the car, which you can take here. “Stupid” is what a 38-percent majority has voted so far.

Maybe car buyers aren’t as dumb as we thought.

Give us your vote for the worst of these ugly cars.


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Ford Fusion
Used Hyundai Elantra
Used Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Used Acura NSX


  1. and “TA-DA”– The Chevy is yet another Malibu look alike. Must be pushing 20 models with the same basic front end design at this point. Somebody at Chevy is getting paid to do nothing (the design team running the Xerox) and the guy approving this ad nauseum design technique. Smells like a Bob Luzt dropping.

    It’s the first chance I’ve had to see the NSX, and yes, I just knew they would ruin it. The original NSX was a car I really wanted to buy but couldn’t afford at the time. Now that I can afford one, I don’t want it. I’d buy a used Ferrari instead.

    Remember, though, a lot of the auto show cars can get toned down before production and some might actually improve. Bottom line, though, is that the buying public seems to not have much taste, common sense or class. Still though, a million times better than the dark decades of the K-Car and cookie cutter GM crapmobiles.

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