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  #151  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:41 AM
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Talking about the 159, that's indeed a good example. A very capable car, very good looking and less anachronistic than the 156.
Yet, it's selling poorly (outside of Italy).

Given Alfa seems to summarize pretty well the problem, I'd take Marchionne's words, which were basically "we should stop making cars listening to people who wouldn't buy them, and we should stop making cars we can't sell anymore".

Which basically means, no one would buy an Alfa made as they used to be, see as the 156 was a good selling car but they were expecting more, and no one would buy an Alfa made like a BMW, see the 159 not selling enough.
Yet, people wanted a more refined and comfortable 156, while the 159 is just too big and heavy and not enough pure. Ironically I loved them both at he first turn.

The message seems to be there is no room for Alfa anymore, as it risks not to be for Saab and other minor players. Jaguar is trying to save itself, and it may have found the way (which means one less way possible for the other players).
Re-inventing itself should be the aim, but that doesn't mean it will work.

Given buyers go nuts for boring looking cars which are also pretty similar from each others, being different (and not for the sake of it) risks to be your death. That's relevant with the mass production market though.

I still remember a girl telling me the newer Mini (R56) was much better looking than the former (R53), when they have yet to invade the street I was till wondering on which were the differences.
Then there was that moron, opening the trunk of his 1.9 TDI 105 bhp Golf, exclaiming "see, these are 130 bhp"...

Don't say customers shouldn't be considered during the designing, development and marketing of a car, as they are the reason why that very car exists.
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  #152  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:46 AM
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From the side profile really nice, all around a very modern design for a Ferrari, but dont like the black plastic in the front bumper, looks cheapy.

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  #153  
Old 01-19-2010, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IBrake4Rainbows View Post
The car you put up against the Modern Ferrari is something that was conciously designed as a retro showpiece....

I'm sorry, I understand your point that the classical beauty traits haven't changed that much over the years, and indeed what is considered beautiful 20 years ago generally still is beautiful, but the thing about the Italians is that they should never hark back to the past because their best work is always on the zeitgeist.

Those cars you mention as beautiful back in the day were shocking pieces of modern rolling sculpture at their inception, causing consternation and general furrowed brows. With the benefit of hindsight, they're gorgeous, but more for what they represent than the actual car themselves.

The specific case against CAD (computer aided design) is that it lacks soul, lacks that human touch, Something I think this car has in spades. It's positively rippling with organic, fluid and sharp angular stylings that create a very complex shape that just works.

In my opinion design has become needlessly complicated over the last few years and with two very distinct trains of thought (uber retro or uber modern) it's plain to see that to get it right is serious business. The 458 seamlessly blends years of Ferrari innovation history with a modern outlook, and I cannot find fault with that.

Beauty is, in terms of modernity, complex.
I guess I am in a slightly different position that Ferrer, in that he objects to the very philosophy of design(or lack thereof) thesedays, whereas I just find modern styling trends quite unattractive. Car design has been on a downward path after the '90s rediscovery of curves, and the early-'00s (re)realization that a design can include both straight hard lines and curves simultaneously. To me, at least, car design has descended into blobbiness.

The retro cars personally are quite off-putting to me. They completely lack in design imagination and because of the aforementioned blobbiness lose the lean and svelte (or at least lean) charm and look that many old cars have. Surely cars like the 8C and 997 are exceptions, in that they both look fantastic, but the 8C has some incredibly weird bits on it due to the awkward juxtaposition of the two schools of thought you mention. So I am all for deign innovation, but...

I think that the uber-modern cars are almost as bad. Surely they do try to push the envelope for which I am forced to respect them, but at the same time they have a post-modern modernity() to them. They are too cognizant of trying to be modern/futuristic. This consciousness of design seems quite contrived to me, as if the designer was trying much too hard instead of letting the art come naturally. Here, though is a point where I can agree with Ferrer; it seems less and less that cars are being designed by a single person with a single intent. Instead, design teams seem to always be building on each other's work creating a final product that is much less than cohesive. A quick example I can think of is in lights. A very simple part of the car from an engineering standpoint, but utterly critical from a design standpoint. So along comes Audi and they think that they should add a string of LEDs beneath the lights to create an interesting effect and you have BMW's "angel eyes" doing something similar etc etc... Doing so detracts from the design as a whole and creates needless visual clutter. It's modern for the sake of modernity, not for the sake of beauty as it should be. Again, there are some notable exceptions, but they usually stay true to modernity without being uncluttered and overstuffed. I just hope that sometime in the very near future designers realize that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Strangely, none of this pertains to the Ferrari as it has a relatively simple cohesive design, lights (surprise, surprise!) excepted. The Ferrari ticks the design boxes in that respect, they did everything right with the design process and intent, but the final product, while cohesive is ugly as sin. So, even if Ferrari is on the cutting edge stylistically, it is an ugly blade. That said, a better designer designing a different type of car, but with a similar philosophy could produce quite impressive results.
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  #154  
Old 01-19-2010, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonOfTheDead View Post
Talking about the 159, that's indeed a good example. A very capable car, very good looking and less anachronistic than the 156.
Yet, it's selling poorly (outside of Italy).

Given Alfa seems to summarize pretty well the problem, I'd take Marchionne's words, which were basically "we should stop making cars listening to people who wouldn't buy them, and we should stop making cars we can't sell anymore".

Which basically means, no one would buy an Alfa made as they used to be, see as the 156 was a good selling car but they were expecting more, and no one would buy an Alfa made like a BMW, see the 159 not selling enough.
Yet, people wanted a more refined and comfortable 156, while the 159 is just too big and heavy and not enough pure. Ironically I loved them both at he first turn.

The message seems to be there is no room for Alfa anymore, as it risks not to be for Saab and other minor players. Jaguar is trying to save itself, and it may have found the way (which means one less way possible for the other players).
Re-inventing itself should be the aim, but that doesn't mean it will work.
The problem with the 159 is that it was meant to be all things to all people. But it's an Alfa, so what actually happened is that the car put off the diehard Alfisti and the yuppies in German executive saloons still didn't want to buy that piece of unreliable rust.

So of course, it's been a complete flop. I personally don't dislike it, quite even like it. But I can see the point of trying to have too many compromises and reaching none.
Quote:
Originally Posted by f6fhellcat13 View Post
I think that the uber-modern cars are almost as bad. Surely they do try to push the envelope for which I am forced to respect them, but at the same time they have a post-modern modernity() to them. They are too cognizant of trying to be modern/futuristic. This consciousness of design seems quite contrived to me, as if the designer was trying much too hard instead of letting the art come naturally. Here, though is a point where I can agree with Ferrer; it seems less and less that cars are being designed by a single person with a single intent. Instead, design teams seem to always be building on each other's work creating a final product that is much less than cohesive. A quick example I can think of is in lights. A very simple part of the car from an engineering standpoint, but utterly critical from a design standpoint. So along comes Audi and they think that they should add a string of LEDs beneath the lights to create an interesting effect and you have BMW's "angel eyes" doing something similar etc etc... Doing so detracts from the design as a whole and creates needless visual clutter. It's modern for the sake of modernity, not for the sake of beauty as it should be. Again, there are some notable exceptions, but they usually stay true to modernity without being uncluttered and overstuffed. I just hope that sometime in the very near future designers realize that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
I can agree with that.
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  #155  
Old 01-19-2010, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
The problem with the 159 is that it was meant to be all things to all people. But it's an Alfa, so what actually happened is that the car put off the diehard Alfisti and the yuppies in German executive saloons still didn't want to buy that piece of unreliable rust.

So of course, it's been a complete flop. I personally don't dislike it, quite even like it. But I can see the point of trying to have too many compromises and reaching none.
It is what people asked it to be, an Alfa 3 Series.
My only experience with a BMW is the horrible X3, so I can't speak for the 3er, but if people would just stop wondering about what they think the 159 is, and actually drive it, perhaps it would be on a much better position.

BTW, the 458 designer (designer as in the man responsible for the style) is the same who designed all the recent Ferraris, and the previous Citroen line-up. Surely he was the responsible of the whole design rather than the actual designer, as it's more and more a work of a team, but that's the case with all other cars. Donato Coco is the dude in case.

My point is again that none of the entry level Ferrari has been a masterpiece look-wise. The F355 is excellent, we all know that, but it surely isn't among the best looking cars of its days (given we could create such a list without giving subjective votes).
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  #156  
Old 01-19-2010, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LeonOfTheDead View Post
BTW, the 458 designer (designer as in the man responsible for the style) is the same who designed all the recent Ferraris, and the previous Citroen line-up.
So my car is a Coco design???
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  #157  
Old 01-19-2010, 02:57 PM
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So my car is a Coco design???
I'm afraid yes.
The new one was designed by Jean-Pierre Ploué.
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  #158  
Old 01-19-2010, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonOfTheDead View Post
It is what people asked it to be, an Alfa 3 Series.

My only experience with a BMW is the horrible X3, so I can't speak for the 3er, but if people would just stop wondering about what they think the 159 is, and actually drive it, perhaps it would be on a much better position.
Obejectively, the 3er is the best driving sports saloon in its segment today.

However, subjectively I can see the appeal of a 159, in the same way I can see the appeal of a Delta as opposed ot a 1er.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonOfTheDead View Post
My point is again that none of the entry level Ferrari has been a masterpiece look-wise. The F355 is excellent, we all know that, but it surely isn't among the best looking cars of its days (given we could create such a list without giving subjective votes).
What are your opinion better looking cars compared to the F355?

I personally think the F355 is a damn good looking car. Second only to the original 206/246 in the Dino line.
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  #159  
Old 01-19-2010, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
Obejectively, the 3er is the best driving sports saloon in its segment today.

However, subjectively I can see the appeal of a 159, in the same way I can see the appeal of a Delta as opposed ot a 1er.
I'd challenge you to demonstrate that "objectively" in many ways, even if I see from where your coming from, and partially agree.

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What are your opinion better looking cars compared to the F355?

I personally think the F355 is a damn good looking car. Second only to the original 206/246 in the Dino line.
I think the 550 Maranello looks better than the F355, especially in the flesh, while I'm somehow disappointed by the 206/246 every time I see one.
I love the 512 TR, and the 400/412 too.
There is something about the 308 I may even prefer over the F355, albeit the F355 is so much more refined even on the look that I don't think I'd ever consider the former rather than the latter.
I think the 512BB looks awesome, and so the 365 GTC/4 and compared to them the F355 seems to be almost...obvious.
And that's only considering Ferraris.
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  #160  
Old 01-19-2010, 06:17 PM
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Good thing the 458 doesn't keep people talking.
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  #161  
Old 01-20-2010, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by LeonOfTheDead View Post
I'd challenge you to demonstrate that "objectively" in many ways, even if I see from where your coming from, and partially agree.
Drive one. And if you still don't think it's a sublime sports saloon, well then you are wrong...
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  #162  
Old 01-20-2010, 04:00 AM
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Drive one. And if you still don't think it's a sublime sports saloon, well then you are wrong...
I should drive all the available cars to make a good comparison, and even after that, I could even come out and say the sportiness of the 3er (given I'd probably recognize it) isn't among the main characteristics the average drivers needs and wants when buying a new car in that segment.
The 3er may even be the best sports saloon etc etc and it may even be the "best" car for the average customer in that market, but I don't think the 159 is suffering from poor sales because of that. People buy the 3er period, some of them buy it for its peculiarities, but that's not the main part of its buyers, and the same goes for the other Germans.
The point is still this, the 159 or whatever other car could have been perfect, but it isn't a winner until it is German and expensive.
As far as I'm concerned the 159 is at the moment the best way to spend less than 40.000 € and get a good handling, good equipment and good look.
The Croma is surely more comfortable but also quite less fun to drive, the 407 is cheaper than the Alfa but also quite anonymous to drive and sort of chunky on the inside. The Mondeo is like a 747 cargo, but you feel that continuously (the estate, the one I drove) and the Passat gave me the idea that I was sort of trying to have sex with a girl which was actually sleeping, drunk. And it feels even larger than the Mondeo.
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  #163  
Old 01-20-2010, 04:25 AM
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The 159 hasn't failed because it's a bad car. The 159 failed because it tried to appeal the traditional German car buyers, and that's quite difficult to do when you are not German. And at the same time it managed to put off traditional Alfa buyers. So unlike other Alfas, it didn't attract Alfisti and therefore no one was or is interested in buying one.

And by the way, the average driver doesn't even need an Alfa Romeo. But a car is an aspirational object, so what you need and what you want may not always match. 99,5% of BMWs are all bought for the wrong reasons, certainly, but BMWs carry a cachet because they do have talents in the first place. And that's usually the case with all the successful premium badges, people may not appreciate the talents but in order to be successful the talents have to be there. I can only think of one exception, Audi, and they must have a superstar marketing team.
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  #164  
Old 01-20-2010, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f6fhellcat13 View Post
I guess I am in a slightly different position that Ferrer, in that he objects to the very philosophy of design(or lack thereof) thesedays, whereas I just find modern styling trends quite unattractive. Car design has been on a downward path after the '90s rediscovery of curves, and the early-'00s (re)realization that a design can include both straight hard lines and curves simultaneously. To me, at least, car design has descended into blobbiness.
Thats much to do with the misuse of CAD - it's the same in Architecture.

When you're able to do pretty much anything, you generally descend into madness.

But I find this to be a bit of a harsh statement also. the 90's were all about smoothness and ubiquity - It was VERY difficult to tell certain models apart from their competitors - only the details changed. With the '00's came greater differentiation, and ironically, similar results.

Quote:
The retro cars personally are quite off-putting to me. They completely lack in design imagination and because of the aforementioned blobbiness lose the lean and svelte (or at least lean) charm and look that many old cars have. Surely cars like the 8C and 997 are exceptions, in that they both look fantastic, but the 8C has some incredibly weird bits on it due to the awkward juxtaposition of the two schools of thought you mention. So I am all for deign innovation, but...
I personally don't find the 8C that thrilling. Shocking, I know, but I can't get over the "style over substance" treatment of the vehicle that, even in it's engineering, is retro.

the 8C fails for me in Design because they've attempted to marry two incompatible smiles - modernity and retro - each with their own stylistic vocabulary that tries in vain to drown the other out.

Quote:
I think that the uber-modern cars are almost as bad. Surely they do try to push the envelope for which I am forced to respect them, but at the same time they have a post-modern modernity() to them. They are too cognizant of trying to be modern/futuristic.
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Post Modernism is a design term that requires the viewer to have a serious understanding of sarcasm, and in that sense, I understand it's use here.

It's a difficult thing though - being modern without being concious of being so.

Quote:
This consciousness of design seems quite contrived to me, as if the designer was trying much too hard instead of letting the art come naturally. Here, though is a point where I can agree with Ferrer; it seems less and less that cars are being designed by a single person with a single intent. Instead, design teams seem to always be building on each other's work creating a final product that is much less than cohesive.
I don't think you guys quite understand how this car design business works. There is a central leader or designer who may have the final say, but teams have been doing design since the year dot. Making material decisions, sweep line choices - and each with their own speciality.

Cohesiveness can certainly be a problem in modern design, but any more so than the beautiful mismatch of switches on an old car?

Cohesiveness comes from a team working as a team.
Quote:
A quick example I can think of is in lights. A very simple part of the car from an engineering standpoint, but utterly critical from a design standpoint. So along comes Audi and they think that they should add a string of LEDs beneath the lights to create an interesting effect and you have BMW's "angel eyes" doing something similar etc etc... Doing so detracts from the design as a whole and creates needless visual clutter. It's modern for the sake of modernity, not for the sake of beauty as it should be. Again, there are some notable exceptions, but they usually stay true to modernity without being uncluttered and overstuffed. I just hope that sometime in the very near future designers realize that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Clutter and Complexity are two very different things. A beautiful part of modern design is that their can be incredibly complex forms and details inbuilt. What the viewer has to do is stop coming at these vehicles with an expectation of simplicity and start appreciating the details.

I find nothing attractive about a single projecter headlight.

Quote:
Strangely, none of this pertains to the Ferrari as it has a relatively simple cohesive design, lights (surprise, surprise!) excepted. The Ferrari ticks the design boxes in that respect, they did everything right with the design process and intent, but the final product, while cohesive is ugly as sin. So, even if Ferrari is on the cutting edge stylistically, it is an ugly blade. That said, a better designer designing a different type of car, but with a similar philosophy could produce quite impressive results.
And what philosophy is that? make it less efficient aerodynamically?

The 458 works because it's a marraige of the technical mind and the passionate heart.
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  #165  
Old 01-20-2010, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
The 159 hasn't failed because it's a bad car. The 159 failed because it tried to appeal the traditional German car buyers, and that's quite difficult to do when you are not German. And at the same time it managed to put off traditional Alfa buyers. So unlike other Alfas, it didn't attract Alfisti and therefore no one was or is interested in buying one.
But that's was exactly what people were asking for, so once again, there isn't room for Alfa anymore, not as it was, and not as it is right now. Time for a new Alfa (which should started with the MiTo).


I'm somewhat with IB4R.
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