Designers rethink real estate that was once a grille


Of course, the magnificence is in the eye of the beholder. Tesla’s snub-nosed fashion projects a trendy ‘anti-grid’ angle as a rebuke to gasoline rivals, but this look is getting old.

Some analysts and designers assume that newly accessible real estate should be superior to a clean house.

Stephanie Brinley, senior automotive analyst at IHS Markit, likens the company’s new exploration of grilles to the design problem that automakers faced in adapting to bumper laws in the mid-1970s.

“It is interesting to see the industry adapting the functional changes in the design of cars,” said Brinley. “Often the initial efforts are awkward, but it gets stronger over time.

“What doesn’t change about the grille transition is that it nonetheless creates a face that communicates the car’s personality and must nonetheless feature a believable model history. Whether this model of history is made up of 100 years of history or whether it is a fresh start and just a beginning, people want to be able to see and determine it.

Lucid is a new brand of electric vehicles without the design baggage of traditional automakers. Brinley considers the horizontal light bar on the front fascia of the Lucid’s Air sedan, along with its lower cooling vent, to be futuristic and upscale.

In contrast, the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover must communicate a connection between Ford Motor Co.’s historic past and its bright future. Ford chose an oval shape, done in the body color, with black accents for the grille area in its mainstream versions. But the high-performance GT gets a fully blackened part that’s textured to simulate air intakes.

“Ford’s mission with the Mach-E is to make people comfortable with an electric vehicle,” said Brinley, “in addition to bringing the Mustang heritage into the home of the crossover.”

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