Saw the two Nissan Figaros in the top pic on a forecourt round the corner – someone’s obviously developing a specialism. Why, meanwhile, in the ocean of car choice, is there so little real variation? The design vocabulary of cars is so restricted and advances so slowly. What are the keywords on the mood boards at the car designers these days: sexy, aggressive, practical, safe, sporty, flexible, successful, family, active, fun? Other designed goods have a much wider vocabulary – what’s wrong with: ‘eccentric, cheeky, brassy, edgy, funny, baroque, playful, green, chintzy, daft, alternative’? Why are clever cars like the 1991 Figaro stuck in a sort of experimental ghetto? Are we so inflexible, so blinded by decades of auto engineering convention that we can’t imagine ourselves in something new?
Ivan points out that what we actually like about cars might be different from what we tell the manufacturers in those focus groups – for instance, in the latest brilliant Peugeot 407 ad, the car I really want is the oversize wooden baby toy and not the very dull 407 itself.