Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fat Cars: AMC Pacer and Ford Edge

I can't say whether it's the way human brains are constructed or whether it's simply a matter of familiarity from repeated observations, but to me, at least, some automobile proportions seem more satisfying than others.  And "others" include cars that strike me as being too fat.  This does not mean I think fat cars have to be ugly, it's that they at best are a little less attractive than the best designs using certain other proportions.

Automobile tubbiness does not necessarily deny market success, though it is helpful for sales if many contemporaneous cars are tubby rather than svelte, that being the existing styling fashion (think early post-World War 2 cars).  In the present post, I present one market failure along with a success.  Shown below are the 1975 American Motors Pacer and the Ford Edge, introduced for the 2007 model year.


1975 AMC Pacer
I actually think the Pacer is kind of cute (but whadda I know).  Its sales problem had to do with the fact that it was heavy for a car of its length; buyers must have expected it to be more economical to operate than it proved to be.  Once word of that got out, sales began to suffer.

2008 Ford Edge
The Edge, on the other hand, has sold well.  When I'm in the Palm Springs area of California, I see lots and lots of Edges.  The Edge is a crossover SUV based on a Mazda 6 sedan platform, and features a moderate wheelbase and little front and rear overhang, perhaps for reasons of handling.  So in order the have carrying space expected for a SUV of its price class, the body was made comparatively wide.  I know this because my wife owns a 2008 Edge and I am its driver when we travel to California.

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