Sunday, February 8, 2009

A New Era of Malaise Mobiles?

Everyone has fond memories of mid- to late-'70's domestic cars. These over sized and over wrought barges were ugly when new, and are ugly still. Case in point:
Anything with stacked rectangular headlights, opera windows, half vinyl roofs, or painted in colors like "jade" or "burgundy-fire". These things often started out as fairly well designed cars that through both regulation and economic factors, kept getting stuff added on, like big bumpers, and gigantic grills made to emulate Mercedes.

Well, the automakers face severe challenges, with limited resources to develop new product, and will certainly beforced to clamp ever more "features" onto existing designs. What do you see as the Malaise Mobiles of the new century? 

Here are my suggestions:
The GM crossovers. These just dont do enough to get people out of their current SUV and into something alot more efficient. They look better than the lumpy older SUVs, but there will be no money to improve them, so look for them becoming dated, added to with more techy veneer and flash.

Ford 500/Taurus: They are simply too big, boring and non-descript. The new design tries to breathe life into the car, but it falls short looking rather gimicky. Same old car with new stuff bolted on, the perfect malaise recipe.

Chrysler: In general, Chrysler. It seems unlikely they will have anything new to offer for a while, and will have to tweak existing product for a while. A long while.

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