If you've been paying attention to the cars you see daily on the road or have gone car shopping over the past decade, you might have observed that most of the new cars being produced look quite alike. Auto brands only try to stand out from others with distinctive headlights and badged grilles here and there.
On your own, if you're asked to identify a compact car based on its body styling, chances are that you will fail at it. Well, except you're a car enthusiast. And talking about compact cars, it's no news that popular car brands, Toyota and Honda, that have been battling for supremacy in the auto world, share a similarity in their compact car segment-Camry and Accord.
So, the question is: why are there similarities between the cars produced by automakers? Are they bereft of ideas and designs? There must be a reason why your next car will probably look similar to your current car design. We've compiled some reasons for the homogeneity, which this post will be highlighting.
Let's see them.
5 Reasons why your next car will look similar to your current car design
1. Aerodynamic efficiency
Aerodynamics teaches us that a car designed to achieve maximum mileage will have to slip through the air effortlessly with minimal drama. There should be drag reduction, low wind noise, and better handling so that vehicles won't roll over when running on the road. This has necessitated automakers to comply with aerodynamically efficient designs for their cars’ bodywork. And this means they will be letting go of many stylish designs that could have distinguished their cars from other brands to achieve the principles of aerodynamics. We see this played out in the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight which featured skirted rears to help them ride smoothly.
In addition, the more a car is aerodynamically efficient, the less fuel it will use up while on the road. Car shoppers are looking for efficient cars, so these cars have to be optimized to meet that expectation.
Government regulations affect the way vehicles are being designed, the safety features included, and the car's overall performance. With automakers designing and producing vehicles globally, government regulation in Europe and Asia, where most cars are manufactured are taken into consideration. For instance, European pedestrian protection regulation requires cars made for their market to have big fonts to protect road users if they're hit by a car.
When it comes to safety requirements, there’re some designs that may not work as the curves of some bumpers and sizes of headlights may jeopardize the safety regulation put in place to protect people. This will force all automakers to follow a particular pattern and design for their cars.
The American market on its own has an agency called the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that's responsible for defining and regulating all vehicle performance standards. Every car produced for their market is expected to pass the crash-test before it can be allowed on the road.
Trends sell faster. People buy and sell what's popular out there. Basically, the marketplace influences car manufacturers’ choice of design for a car. Automakers conduct market research to know trends that are appealing to consumers and try to model the same design in order to grab their own slice of moolah in the auto market. With this, you should know the reason why your next car will look similar to your current car design.
This happens in every market. Take a look at the mobile phone industry. One manufacturer produces touchscreen phones and the next minute, everybody starts developing touchscreen phones because it's trending.
4.Financial cost of developing a car
Developing a vehicle is expensive. Automakers spend a lot of time and money designing and optimizing a car for better performance. These cars have to be sold to offset production costs. And when there's no market for it, that's a huge investment going down the drain. Instead of creating a new design, automakers prefer going mainstream to avoid risk.
Platform sharing among car manufacturers has been going on for decades. Here, automakers share design, engineering and production efforts as well as car components. This implies that vehicles sharing the same platform are going to be the same size. For instance, The 2007 Toyota Camry shared the same platform with the Lexus ES, thus the similarity between them.
Car manufacturers take this route because it's going to help save the production cost of not having to design and build new vehicles from scratch. Just like we mentioned earlier of how developing a car can run into billions of dollars for automakers.
Moreover, the Volkswagen Group developed a platform dubbed MEB (modular electric drive matrix) for electric vehicles. And the company plans to offer the platform to other car manufacturers to help offset costs.
Summing it up
So yes, modern car designs all look similar and there're agreeable reasons for it. What more important is the cars are safe and efficient.
Isn't that a good trade?
Let's know your thoughts on this. Use the comment section.
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