The USA has a long tradition of building large cars and trucks that usually require large-capacity engines to power them. In the country that has the world’s biggest domestic market, and also some of the tightest speed and environmental restrictions anywhere, these have taken a different evolutionary path from cars in other parts of the world, and this is evident in the models of european cars now being imported into Thailand.
From a European or Japanese viewpoint, many American cars lack design subtlety. Then again, to look bold from every angle is perceived as a plus by the US auto executives, who need to keep their products selling. And, don’t forget, Detroit has an enviable record as a trend-setting styling innovator, from the Chrysler Airflow and Lincoln Zephyr in the 1930s through the 1950s Studebakers, the 1960 Chevrolet Corvair, 1964 Ford Mustang, 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado, and 1983 Chrysler Voyager to the “cab-forward” stance pioneered by Chrysler sedans in the early 1990s.
Nonetheless, the grilles on American cars continue to be not just striking but also often very dominating. Strong chrome slats are used to emphasize the width, height, or power of the car – often all three. As a design starting point this then necessitates dramatic surfaces, which can sometimes make American cars appear overbearing. Surface geometry and lines are not always harmonious, the focus being on large, powerful-looking wheels or an overall impression of toughness and protection. American car design sees no need to shrink from giving people what they want.
At the other end of the scale, Japanese-designed cars conform to a less striking proportion and design language – they seek never to offend. Most Japanese cars are aimed at buyers concerned principally with value and reliability, rather than a look-at-me design statement. This emphasis tends to be expressed in boxy proportions with an athletic flavor, straight feature lines, and tight surfaces.