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#1 of 67 Will classic design save GM, Ford and Chrysler??
Jan 04, 2006 (12:22 pm)
Will classic design save GM, Ford and Chrysler?
Back to the future, its 1970's all over again.....
First was the retro cars that drew heavily on classics from the 60's and 70's then Ford gave us back the Mustang, now Chrysler is waking up and bringing us the designs that stirred us in the past and will bring buyers back, with style.
With an appearance that draws heavily from the classic muscle cars of the late 1960s and early '70s, the new Dodge Challenger, should satisfy those who thought the Dodge Charger just didn't have the right stuff. The new Dodge Charger was ripped by some because it was a four-door sedan, seemingly out-of-place in a car that carried the name of one of the most famous muscle car lines. As soon as images of the Charger were released to the public, letters of complaint started coming in.
This year, it came out that Chrysler was working on a two-door car, to be called the Challenger, based on the same engineering underpinnings, called the LX platform, as the Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300.
The Challenger concept however is based, specifically, on the 1970 Dodge Challenger. During development of the concept car they brought an actual 1970 Challenger into the studio,the car symbolizes the most passionate era of automotive design. Designers wanted to evoke a mind's-eye image of the car without the visual imperfections required by manufacturing technology of the time and they came out with a winner.
Ford has been losing sales the last few years but has come back with the hot selling Mustang with the classic lines. Chrysler has had some uneven performancer in sales but it has Daimler to lean on and seems to be going in the right direction with the return to the classic designs. With the sales doing well the Challenger should add some more excitement to its line up.
GM however, seems to have no clue as to what to do to stop the downward slide , cutting workers and closing factories as it restructures itself. Even with a classic 'Name' the GTO it seems to be failing, the classic lines are blurred or barely there, it has poor designs that are overpriced with no real distinctions between the brands.
Going back to the classic designs of the 60's and 70's has helped Ford and Chrysler, lets see if GM gets a clue and gives us some real classic styling that brings back the image of slick lines of beauty's from the past..
Then they may see the market share they are accustomed too as buyers come back to the sales floor....
#2 of 67 Depends on what classic styling...
Jan 04, 2006 (12:31 pm)
...they use. I most certainly would love a Malibu that emulates a 1968-72 A-Body over what is now on the market. I most certainly love the new Mustang and the Challenger concept is awesome! I wish the Charger stayed truer to its roots.
Trouble is, with retro style, where do you go from there? Will a 2006 Mustang that looks like a 1969 Mustang look like an updated version of 1970 model the next styling cycle? I sure hope it won't devolve into an update of the god-awful Mustang II of 1974-78!
I also like the Imperial concept, but many have pointed out that it looks too much like a Phantom - a bad thing. It shows the stylists have no sense of originality. Harsher critics have compared it to China's current Red Flag limousine - a blatant copy of the Phantom.
#3 of 67 Re: Depends on what classic styling... [lemko]
Jan 04, 2006 (12:37 pm)
One of the first retromobiles was the VW Bug. It hasn't really changed since 1998. The PT Cruiser hasn't changed either. What do you do with these cars?
Am I the only one that remembers that according to the car magazines, the '94 Mustang was supposed to bring back the styling feel of the first gen Mustangs? The interior had the same double bubble thing and the exterior was supposed to have similarities too. The new Mustang moves on to the 69-70 look, so I think we can safely say that the Mustang II would be the next logical (if suicidal) progression.
#4 of 67 Re: Depends on what classic styling... [lemmer]
Jan 04, 2006 (12:42 pm)
Ewwww!!! I most certainly hope not. I also wouldn't care for a rehash of the Fox-based Mustangs. They'll have to come up with something totally new and different.
You could also go even further back. Maybe a PT Cruiser that looks like a '37 Ford could look like a Model A Ford the next go around. Eventually, we could all end up driving one-cylinder two-seat runabouts will brass horns, gaslights, and steered via a tiller by 2050.
#5 of 67 Re: Depends on what classic styling... [lemmer]
Jan 04, 2006 (12:42 pm)
The VW Bug stirred up sales and brought in lookers and buyers, the PT Cruiser helped turn Chrysler around in the minds of many car buyers as it showed they still could come up with some nice designs and had some life left in them. The '94 Mustang pointed back to none of the classic years 64-70 but the new Mustang does and has that 'have to have' quality that is hard to define......
Jan 04, 2006 (12:52 pm)
as you keep the retro styles fairly generic, then I think you can get away with it indefinitely, at least as long as that style happens to be in fashion and continues to sell well.
For example, the PT Cruiser bears a resemblance to the way cars looked back in the late 30's and early 40's, but it's really not so different from a Ford Focus wagon or Toyota Matrix. And the '94-98 Mustang (I thought they did a much better job with the '99-04 though) did have retro touches thrown in, but it still looked like a modern car overall. With styles like these, it's no big deal to just design a new car and then add the retro touches. A good example here is the Dodge Ram, Dakota, and Durango. All three started taking on a retro look in the 90's, with their raised hood and lowered fenders. It's also called the big rig look, but it's also how most pickups looked up through the 50's. I think Ford was the first to come up with a flat-hooded pickup in '57.
Anyway, all three have been redesigned, and still carry those retro touches, and have done it fairly successfully.
Now I think where they fall into problems is when they try to mimic a specific car from a time gone by, like the current Mustang. I have a feeling that it is going to be a tough act to follow, because it just looks too much like the '69 style.
And they don't have to go to the Mustang II style for the next generation...there's always those fat "Mary Tyler Moore" '71-73 models!
#7 of 67 As for the Mustang...
Jan 04, 2006 (12:53 pm)
I do remember when the '94 came out, they mentioned how it was trying to hark back to the 60's styles. I never fell for it though. However, I thought the '99 restyle hinted at it pretty nicely.
#8 of 67 Re: As long... [andre1969]
Jan 04, 2006 (12:58 pm)
I agree with andre. A general retro style works, but when you copy one car from the past you're drawing yourself into a corner. You'll have no design direction for your brand. You'll be seen as a car company for old timers. You'll limit your audience to people who probably already liked your brand.
Retro models should be one-offs. No second generation.
#9 of 67 Yes like I said yesterday !!!!
Jan 04, 2006 (1:11 pm)
I believe Classic/Retro designs will help save the Big 3 as long as "new" fresh designs get mixed in along with the retro. The retro thing is cool. Some of you old timers are "wetting" yourself over the retro thing. I think it's neat because some of the old designs from the 50's and 60's are cool. GM, Ford, Chrysler, have this huge advantage of turning back the clock 40 or 50 years.
#10 of 67 Re: Yes like I said yesterday !!!! [rockylee]
Jan 04, 2006 (1:18 pm)
Wow, that is right on the money, that is what the car buyers are looking for, some nice designs and some style and if they build it the buyers will come.......