Monday, April 30, 2012

Seen but not photographed: Mercedes loaf of bread.

Some neighbors used to have a VW bus with a personalized license plate that said, "LOAFIE." A box with rounded corners is as valid a shape as any, but there are different connotations. What's fun for a cheap van undermines the intent of a status symbol.

The Mercedes I saw looked like most of their other SUVs in the US. Most look like loaves of bread, while there are a few G-wagens that are high crisp boxes.

There are a few possibilities I can think of for this one.

1. A future drivetrain for Mercedes or a related company is being tested. Underneath, it could be a 2017 Toureg, Cayenne or whatever.

2. This is the future of Mercedes styling. The iPhone is inspired by German design, and this SUV anticipates the advent of a fat iPhone, a loaPhone, that also doubles as a server.

3. It's an older prototype. The driving company has to return it soon, but they use it to run errands in the meantime.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I have always wondered why prototypes are covered in weird paint, strange wraps, or endless vinyl cladding like this one. If it wasn't for that, they would be much harder to notice. At any given time, most cars look alike. This one, taken in late 2008, was probably the Chevy Traverse, which is good enough, but not exactly exciting.

I wonder who thinks they need to dodge the imaginary paparazzi. I have talked to guys at the driving companies, and they don't worry about it at all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012 VW Superbeetle

Sometimes, you can get close to prototypes and take all kinds of pictures. I only took 3. The other two will appear in August.

This VIN says that it's a 2012 model, made in Puebla, Mexico. It was the 33rd off the line. Two VIN decoders ran aground with the check digit. VIN numbers on such cars have a lot of zeros. This one has a large glass roof, a current trend in Europe.

It's a nice design, but Volkswagen is painting themselves into a corner. Now that the first New Beetle is outdated, we have the new New Beetle, which is an update of a retro look. Old VW ads proclaimed that the cars stayed the same from one year to the next. By contrast, the New Beetle is like all the others in that it follows fashion.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fiat 550

The Fiat 550 will do for Fiat what the Jetta did for Volkswagen.

If you don't see one, watch this space!