Category Archives: Tesla styling/design

Model S won’t see a second generation

Criswell predicts TeslaMondoTwo summers ago, Criswell suspected the Model S would enjoy an unfairly long shelf life without a “redesign” or even a significant “refresh.”

  • Redesign — When Big Auto spends a lot of money to update a product.
  • Refresh — When Big Auto spends a little money to feign a redesign.

That’s because the Model S has developed into a far better creature thanks to Tesla’s engineering kaizen and OTA update regimen. It’s not the same car that debuted six years ago, period. Not even close. So it’s fresh where it counts.

Yet the car hasn’t changed visually since birth, besides the schnoz. How long can this sameness continue before boredom creeps in and affects sales? And what would a second-generation Model S look like?

There won’t be a second generation.

The current one will go on for a few more years and then die just as interest starts to wane. Tesla can jettison its big sedan and pare its core lineup to the 3, X and Y without losing many, if any, customers. You want something more airy than the 3? Get the Model Y. You want something bigger still? Get an X. You don’t want the SUV profile? Maybe not this year, but you’re more easily persuaded with every passing year. Criswell knows this about you. Right now an SUV might seem like a sedan hampered by tallness. But five years from now, a sedan will seem like an SUV hampered by flatness.

The only problem with this strategy is the falcon wing doors. Some people don’t like them. They’re too fickle. They’re too showy. They preclude a roof rack. So Criswell hereby predicts that a second-generation Model X, with normal doors, will bow within five years and will negate the need for a second-generation Model S.

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Tesla’s fascia not so jarring anymore

A year and a half ago, when the production Model X first rolled onstage, it looked weird-o-rama. That duct-taped face! No expression! The Matrix guy with the missing mouth! Such were the comments on Reddit and everywhere else.

Model X debut TeslaMondo

Nevertheless, the Model S adopted the same mutism soon afterward. Now the super-slick S/X fascia has become a signature Tesla styling cue. Model III carries it forth. The old Model S nose cone? It’s merely a time stamp that partitions new from old units, and it reeks of genuflection to ICE tradition. See ya.

The lesson: Sometimes automotive designers actually earn their pay, by correctly guessing what will look “right” a few years forward. Hooray for a long shelf life, even if the product startles at first, like this thing:

Jeep Cherokee TeslaMondo

Upon first sight in 2013, the Jeep faithful barfed en masse. Travesty! Heresy! What did Jeep designer Mark Allen have to say for himself, the fool? “Our head was in 2019,” he told Ward’s Auto, while an angry mob waited outside the office, holding pitchforks. Four years later, sure enough, Allen was right-on. The Cherokee has sold quite well and doesn’t yet look desperate for a replacement. It could indeed stay fresh into 2019.

By contrast, here’s an example of not designing for the future.

2012 Civic TeslaMondo

The conspicuously inconspicuous 2012 Civic lasted only a few months before Honda dragged it offstage at great embarrassment and expense. A couple iterations later, good times have returned. Uh, if you like Japanese sci-fi. The latest Civic looks ideal for shooting missiles at Godzilla. Same goes for other new Japanese vehicles, and some American ones. The Corvette is turning Japanese.

This image contains a Civic and a Corvette. It’s true! What does that tell us?

stage 2

Please, Tesla, stick to the simple n’ smooth aesthetic. Don’t succumb to this monster madness unless you plan to make your cars launch real missiles to complement bioweapon defense mode. The best defense, you know, is a good offense.

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