There is a bigger reason that most Asian cars do not have unique personalities which define them. It is because Asian cars are the very definition of a ?globally marketed product?. Their global products are, from the start, designed to appeal to a world-wide mass market. As a result any individuality is engineered out. By trying to design for a global market every trait has to be compromised, it’s the cost of trying to appeal to the ?average? customer. And as anyone in business can tell you, designing and building to ?average? improves, leverages poor products up, but conversely hurts and leverages great products down. It certainly is no accident that it is often difficult to tell one Asian model from another. If it’s not what the global masses want then it’s not designed in the car and if it is what the masses want then it will be engineered in?come hell or high water. What better example of trying to be all things to all people than redesigning the once popular RX7 sports car into a four-door Mazda RX8 sports coupe! It didn’t work and it didn’t sell and now Mazda is looking to revive the heritage of the RX7 two door sports car to be reincarnated as the RX9.
Simply put, the Corvette, more than any other car, is all-American. It’s designed and built in America to satisfy American tastes. Critics in other countries traditionally have viewed the car as ostentatious, overweight and ?overpowered? by big thirsty engines. Regardless, the car was built for what American enthusiasts wanted. Even Corvette’s marketing and advertising has reflected its American heritage alluding to and portraying national values, pastimes, and interests. When you got your first Corvette it was tantamount to marrying Miss America! And the first time you drove the Corvette was like the first time?.never mind!
So let’s try and understand just what characteristics the new C7 is missing or has changed. Though it is difficult to define the Corvette’s styling, though revolutionary, is no longer uniquely American and reflective of ?Corvette?. Until the C7 there was no question that each generation of Corvette was purely an American car, it was unmistakable. Put any generation Corvette next to another sports car and you knew it was American, a Corvette. But I believe the pressure to make the Corvette appeal to a ?global market? has compromised the look of the car from a purely ?American sports car? to just a ‘sports car?, albeit an impressive one. The point is the car could have been designed and built anywhere. If we hadn’t known a new generation Corvette was being developed, when we saw the car’s styling for the first time had we been told it was a ?Toyota? or ?Mazda? concept car we wouldn’t have questioned it except for the emblems and the V8. The forever sensuous body curves have given way to more angular lines. There is even a ?B? pillar and rear quarter window for God’s sake. And there is more than a small similarity from the ?B? pillar and quarter window to the 1970 Datsun 240Z. What is next a back seat, four doors maybe? That is clearly why I like the convertible version of the car so much better, no top, no ?B? pillar and no black colored rear hip vents. Unless the price is unrealistically high I predict the convertible will be the most popular C7 style.