For the love of cans that roll!
You put your best efforts and make a muscular sporty affordable car, you get swift. Throw in some extra metal, and add a big-ass to it you get Dzire. Now you stretch the body a bit and add some crampy seats on top of the back wheels you get an Ertiga. Take a hatch back and forget painting the lower side of the bumpers and you get a cross over, and of course with a few millimeters of ground clearance. They say these are the best alternatives to the SUVs, or are they SUVs of the current generation.
All of the above makes complete sense from a cost control point of view. Except of a few extra machinery at the body shop, and practically sharing everything right from the drive train to the headlamps, apparently different models emerge that’s going to bring in more sales and improve the bottom line. Almost all overhead costs relating to R&D, designing, production planning and what not could be shared between 4 to 5 distinctively different products, but the question remains on whether it pacifies that subtle passion of actually developing a “Car”. Cars weren’t about making some piece of can on four wheels with different attributes. It was about that sheer passion to create pieces of metal art that rolled round with the aura of the emotional vibe the designers and engineers shared.
Back when Fiat made the 500s and Volkswagen made the bugs, they never cared which products carried which costs and what modifications made which product. They just made one car, conceptualized right from the engines to drivetrains to wheelbases and even the handles. But that generation has passed by with some exceptions being super luxury car makers. Beetles and the 500s became iconic marques with hefty price tags stuck to their chests. Now it’s the age of averaging. It’s not about making that perfect car. It’s about making that perfect pack that answers every ones desire.
The way forward too seem to be not aligned in creating automotive art. With environmental concerns biting every manufactures’ back, it’s going to be about efficiency and how fast it addresses the masses. It’s no more a market of the privileged but a market of the masses and this definitely is the red carpet for future automotive development.
Even man’s idea of transport is changing. With autonomous driving and service providers like uber radicalizing how one gets from point A to B, it may no more concern a human what he rides on, except for some privileged folks of course. Being an autophile seems not the right passion to have for the future, though the art that the golden age of motoring presented to this world will sure rise some adrenaline levels. The feel of something immensely spectacular resting on your hand and the sight of your speedo climbing those 3 digit numbers is and will always thrill minds. . There still will be a few of us, old school autophyles who see cars as art and roads the galleries.
And a disclaimer: A note of apology to the socially aware nature loving environmentalist earthlings. Sorry that my description of the golden age of motoring also referred to the golden age of morons who rode gas guzzling monsters and never cared for the environment. I meant to solely state the artistic splendor that existed then.