Some people have an uncanny ability to spot a car and instantly recognize what other brand of car it resembles.
Look-alike cars have been around since the Model T, and each era since has had vehicles that seem like they were created by a single group of traveling designers.
The car that sparked this conversation in my household was the old rusted 1977 Porsche 924 that pulled up beside us and looked, to my wife, nearly identical to a 1970s Datsun hatchback. I can’t argue with her. Even the shape of the window behind the B-pillar is nearly identical.
Her next comparison was even more ridiculous… but right on.
“Um, it’s a big truck,” I replied.
“Yes, but look at the back. It’s the ugliest truck I’ve ever seen. The back of it looks like the front of the PT Cruiser. Which is the ugliest car ever.”
And you know what? She’s right, at least about the similarity.
We could go on and on about cars that look strikingly similar to other cars. The Ford Fusion looks like a Tesla Model S, which in turn shares similar lines with the Jaguar XF. The auto industry is loaded with borrowed designs and even accusations of design theft.
The truth of the matter is that much of a car’s design is dictated by safety and fuel-economy requirements. The larger front ends are partly the result of pedestrian safety standards, and the big door pillars protect vehicle occupants in rollovers. Safety concerns are also moving us toward smaller greenhouses and higher door sills.
Does that mean the future of car design is doomed? Of course not. Designers will forever take cues and hints from other successful cars, but those same designers will also take risks and break new ground in vehicle design.
Do you think too many cars look the same?