Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Fiat 550

This car competes with the Smart Forfour in Europe. Just as not all Americans like sedans, not all Europeans like hatchbacks. This is a niche vehicle for those who want something different than the Panda.

Here in the US, the Fiat 550 aims to take the brand mainstream. It will have a role similar to the Jetta. Once the Golf grew a trunk, VW had an American hit.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tesla Sedan

This one hardly ever gets seen. It was outside the New York Auto Show in 2009.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ford Fiesta

A gas spike or two ago, there was a big clamor for Ford to bring in the Fiesta. This is a Mexican market Fiesta from before they brought it in. The picture was taken in the US.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Seen but not photographed: Opel Monterey

I saw this one in a parking lot a couple of weeks ago.  It had what looked like all the correct insignias, and it had a white oval with a black "D" for Germany on the back.  On the front, it looked like a different emblem had been there before.  It looked familiar.  It took me a while, but I finally looked it up today.  It was an Isuzu Trooper.

I think that playing with badge engineered cars is a great idea.  The Trooper had so many badges that it had no identity whatsoever.  It brings to mind the US market Isuzu Rodeo / Honda Passport.  A mix of emblems would be pretty funny.

One thing I haven't seen in the US is the current Euro country identifier on a car.  I have looked for the little blue rectangles with the European Union stars and the country abbreviation that are on the left of their license plates, but I haven't seen any for sale.  American license plate openings are often large enough for Euro plates, but we have smaller plates.  It would be easy to just stick the Euro rectangle next to your plate and have the look.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Seen but not photographed: The 2001 BMW Maxima

Design takes a lot of thought, but it should look easy.  The best design is obvious.  An Audi is an Audi from a mile away.  Apple design is widely imitated, but no one comes close.

 A good design language is instantly understood by everyone.  One that has to be explained is gibberish.

BMW is a tortured company that is wandering all over the map.  Nothing is easy.  When you see a BMW, you have to search for the logo to figure out what it is.  In the meantime, every minute of every painful meeting is on display.  Most bad design gives some clue to trying and failing.  BMW design is just baffling.

The latest I saw was a sedan, lightly clad in vinyl by the Here-Comes-a-Prototype!® car concealment company.  The car shot by me while I was on my bike.  I could see the circular taillights and the rear bumper sticking out from the trunk.  The look was, yes, just like a 2001 Maxima.