Why Do All Modern Cars Look Alike?

We ask ourselves every time we see heavy traffic, is there no
variance anymore amongst car models? In the old days, as a
matter of fact only five ore ten years ago every single car brand
seemed to have it's own personality, today they look more like a
cluster of copycats. What went wrong?
One reason is that the automotive industry has certain trends it
has to follow, just like fashion designers and musical composers.
In times of recession and decreasing sales there is less room to
take chances and manufacturers are prone to follow the common
pattern as a safer bet rather than releasing a controversial
product that might or might not sell very well. This makes for
different models to conform considerably under the rules and
regulations for the design of a car of this decade.
Another reason is that many manufacturers actually cooperate and
by contracts copy each others models. The Mitsubishi 3000 GT for
example is practically the same car as the Dodge Stealth, only
the Mitsubishi is made in Japan at the original factory and the
Stealth is made in the US at the Dodge factory. Apart from the
two emblems respectively, very few details differ the two cars.
Honda who have been in need of a sport utility vehicle in order
to grab their share of that part of the market, which has grown
considerably the last decade have taken almost desperate
measures. They have simply bought the rights to re-badge the
Isuzu Rodeo as the Honda Passport and marketed it as an all new
The last and maybe the most logical reason is that all
manufacturers are striving towards 'the perfect car'. All cars
are supposed to offer a maximum of performance, passenger room
and cargo space, and a minimum of fuel consumption and cost to
manufacture and maintain. There are only so many ways to
technically achieve these goals. Cars tend to get more rounded
edges in order to be more aerodynamic. The trunk lid is high in
order to offer greater cargo space without imposing on the
passengers. The design of the trunk lid is also approaching the
'optimal' shape for easy loading and access. Windows are large
and pillars are thin for better view. The lights, both back and
front, are homing in on the design for maximum visibility. The
wheel base is decided on basis of good turning ability both in
the case of parking and at high speeds. Everyone is simply trying
to design 'the perfect car' so it is natural that they are all
headed in the same scientific direction.
Considering the facts that all car manufacturers seem to have
the same aims with their models, that they cooperate and use same
parts, series of parts and even the same models under different
names it seems quite natural that modern cars tend to look more
and more alike.