Cars are some of the most incredible machines in the world. They’ve changed the way society operates. Consider that in Los Angeles, possibly the world capital of car culture, most shops have their entrances in back. Everything is designed for the parking lot, not the street side. Automobiles can also be incredibly beautiful. Consider the sleek curves of a 1930s Rolls Royce Phantom, the fins on mid-century American cars, or the streamlined look of today’s Teslas.
For all the cars that made a big hit with the public, some just haven’t resonated. Though their design may be innovative, they’re not what the public’s looking for. Taking a look at the cars that didn’t work for the public can also help us understand more about the cars that do. Analyzing bad designs is one way that automakers can learn to construct people-pleasing vehicles.
One fairly recent vehicle that arrived with a resounding thud is the Pontiac Aztek. This car made its debut in 2000. It missed the mark by having such an ugly exterior. Apart from a few die-hard enthusiasts, no one really liked the pairing of the curvy front end and the squared-off back. To most consumers, the design looked clunky and awkward rather than sporty and innovative.
A car with the opposite issue is the Jaguar XK8. The XK8 is a delight to look at. It’s all sleek lines and attractive minimalism. The problem with this Jag is that it put looks way before functionality. Instead of an interior that felt spacious and luxurious, driving the XK8 was an unpleasant experience. It also had a small trunk, even given its luxury coupe class. This design was just not very successful.
Finally, the Citroen C3 Pluriel was a convertible that badly missed its mark. It looked a bit like an Easter egg. Though the sporty interior was in some ways fun, this car seemed like it couldn’t quite decide what to be. When the roof was down, it looked a lot like the cars in the old Care Bear cartoons. The Citroen C3 Pluriel was a great effort at creating something different. Unfortunately, it was also a car that people didn’t like very much.