According to the former, automobile and SUV styling is becoming edgier and more menacing, backtracking from previous attempts to make them more friendly-looking. (Remember the Dodge Neon and its 'Hi' advertising?) Examples include the slanted headlights of the BMW 3-Series; the Dodge Charger and its 'tiger eyes'; and the Audi Q7 and its gaping mouth of a grill. The Mazda Miata, with its 'winking cartoon character' fascia also follows the trend. "The original Miata had a happy smile," said Ken Seward, lead designer for Mazda. "The new one has more of a sly grin."
The reason for the shift, designers argue, is that drivers are feeling threatened by large SUVs, increased traffic, and other road hazards, and may be seeking security by projecting a more aggressive image with their vehicles.
Motorcycle design, on the other hand, is going in the opposite direction. Honda and the Wako Research Center have determined that drivers and pedestrian notice objects that have anything akin to a human face. Honda has developed an experimental motorcycle, the ASV-3 (pictured), with a distinctly human-looking fairing, in an effort to draw more attention to the bike and its rider.
[Source: Wall Street Journal via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and TechnoRide.com]