Prelude To Maximum Grillage: When Autos Attack!

Well, they may not be attacking yet, but they are certainly getting angrier looking. They are getting demonic grins, glaring eyes and jutting foreheads. To tell you the truth, cars are turning into some mean-looking vehicles. Here's a question for the automakers...why all the anger? Do you not like us anymore? Are we not supposed to like other drivers anymore? Do we smell funny?

Most of these questions are addressed in an article from last Friday's Wall Street Journal on the "face" of your car. You see, car makers have long called the front end the "face" of the vehicle, with the various mechanical components representing anatomical approximations of said body part. And whereas designers used to design the "face" with an appealing and inviting appearance (think Dodge Neon), lately we've seen them with an edgy look (think Dodge Charger).

So what's the deal with all the anthropomorphization?

We'll tell you what the deal is. The deal is that studies by CNW Marketing, the company quoted in the Wall Street Journal last week, suggest that about 70% of drivers identify and judge vehicles by the headlights and grille, and 88% of men and 64% of women say they prefer cars with distinctive front ends, up from 73% and 42% in 1985.

So what does this mean to you?

What it means is that car companies have already started to create "faces" that will make you, the potential buyer, feel more like a bad-ass in your compact than ever before. In upcoming days, we'll be taking a look at some of the front-ends of major car companies to try to discern what image they are looking to portray. It may not be Taz, but you can bet your bottom dollar that there is a reason that grille is lookin' the way its lookin'.

Why Cars Got Angry (sub. req.) [Wall Street Journal]