We have all been all too familiar with the way cars of today have evolved; I’ve previously explored the idea that cars of today are too removed from the core concept of a thrilling driving experience they once provided, and now they are too competent to enjoy on UK roads.
I would like to take this idea one step further, another moan, if you will. In the last 10 years or so we have seen a flood of vehicles powered by a box of tick electric systems which control surround sound systems, headed and cooled seats, even massage seats! More fundamentally complex ECU systems now can control engine performance, economy and the like. Today, it is probably more accurate to call it a little box of tricks – but my point is that so many cars now share the same or similar components that they become difficult to differentiate. A typical example of this is the relationship between the Citroen DS3 and the Mini Cooper, they have the same engine and gearbox and only the ECU creates a different driving experience with what is essentially a map. The 1.6 Diesel is part of the Ford family of DLD engines, more specifically the DLD-416. This is essentially a 107 bhp engine in its most basic form and presents itself in a variety of car models representing either side of the motoring spectrum, ranging from the Mini Cooper D as discussed, to the Volvo S80 1.6D DRIVe. In 2011 the Ford Group went further to develop an updated version of the standard 1560cc engine, now 1598cc with BMW and MINI by their side.
I accept this is not a new way of doing things, cars have shared components for a long time; longer than I can remember, but now things are so alike only the badge differentiates the two.
This brings me onto my next judgement; badges have never played such an important role. On my X350 Jaguar XJ, which approaches nearly ten years old, there were only three ‘Jaguar’ badges – one on the boot lid, the other on the interior fascia, and a final on the door strips, the Jaguar symbol was present in three other places; this brings the grand total to six. This weekend, I spent some time drooling over a video showing the latest Range Rover Evoque. Can you guess how many badges were present? 10, 15? No, there were 22 Range Rover badges in total! Do occupants of such a vehicle need to be reminded so frequently that they are in a Range Rover? The British are not the only ones exploiting the branding frenzy; Ferrari have recently caught the infection too.
The only Evoque badge you’ll find on the Range Rover.
Just in case you forgot, it’s a Range Rover.
As for the current Ferrari California, first released in 2008 and priced at a £143,000 respectively and powered by a V8 producing 453 bhp at 7750 rpm, there is no doubting that it is a Ferrari, but they still insisted on have in excess of 10 Ferrari badges. 6 on the interior alone! My view is that since cars share so many key components, the driving experience is not that different from each other and so the flooding of badges help to remind owners that their £40,000 did in fact by them a Range Rover and not just a slightly Cheshire’d Freelander.
Quite restrained on the badging front, but does it need 10?
The most recent example – which was open to much criticism, is the 991 Porsche Carrera. At a glance, you are overwhelmed with the PORSCHE lettering stretched across the length of the engine cover. The 911 is quite a unique car in that the fundamental design characteristics have remained throughout its life cycle – the world and his wife know that the car in front of them is a Porsche, there is no need for the letters to be punched into their face!
It’s a Porsche love, didn’t you know?
The question still remains unanswered, is there ever a need for such a vulgar method of branding? What are your thoughts?