Good Design Sells Cars – Just Ask Jaguar, Ford and Lexus

Jaguar XJ220S

Jaguar XJ220S

Two things are guaranteed to sell cars: rarity and design.

When a car is both rare and beautiful, it’ll sell for big bucks no matter what’s under the hood. When an everyday car is beautiful and affordable, hundreds of thousands of people will write checks and proudly show off their gorgeous new rides.

There’s no question that Jaguar currently builds some of the most handsome vehicles on the market. It always has, with the possible exception of the unfortunate-looking S-Type. The one time it ventured into supercar-dom, it hit a home run with the XJ220.

2013 Ford FusionOnly 320 of those cars were ever built, and just 6 of them wore the super-exclusive XJ220S label. Those 6 cars were street-legal versions of the race-bred XJ220C. One of those 6 will go up for auction later this month, and because it’s both rare and beautiful, it’s expected to fetch between $225,000 and $300,000. The particular version up for grabs has been customized to throw down 700 hp from its twin-turbo V6, but I hardly doubt that will matter, because buyers at this level typically buy for the beauty factor alone. Sadly, the tires of this rare beast may know only the glossy surface of a climate-controlled garage.

For beauty that will get driven, we look toward the Detroit Auto Show.

Every year at the show, the Eyes on Design awards honor the best designs among production vehicles and concepts from Detroit. Judges are current or former designers and this year Lexus LF-LC conceptrepresented top brass from Volkswagen, Chrysler SRT and General Motors.

In the production category, the new Ford Fusion took home top honors, while the Lexus LF-LC was the top of the concept heap. Both are beautiful cars, and both are sure to sell an impressive number of units, assuming the LF-LC (or something like it) ever goes into production. The Ford brings some Aston Martin-esque design to the masses, while the Lexus, in all its swept-back glory, is simply breathtaking.

Can the redesigned Ford Fusion top the likes of the Toyota Camry in sales? I’m really digging that front end!


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1 Comment

  1. Design/styling can certainly help sell a car but the reason why cars like the Camry stay on top is the combination of design, engineering and execution. Look what happened to Toyota sales when the engineering and execution parts of the equation fell out.
    Oddly, I don’t consider the XJ220 a very successful styling exercise. Take that car 20 years from now and I doubt many people will be able to identify it, yet take something like the Jaguar E-series cars and even 60 or more years later they are icons that immediately evoke the name Jaguar. For some reason, Aston Martin and Ferrari are just two names that seem to be able to tap into their iconic heritage, yet I think Jaguar missed it on this car. Even Audi does better. Not that it isn’t a beauty, it is, but it just doesn’t say Jaguar to me.

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