Peugeot RC Concept Car - Click here to see more

Earth remains round, but cars are gonna get flat, we think!

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In past decades, cars have become higher. The trend started with the so-called mini vans in the USA, followed by the SUV fashion there. Even European compact cars grew in height. Besides the continuous growth in size, offerings the likes of one Mercedes A-class and VW Golf Plus define a niche popular not only at people who need space, but demand for an easy entry.

Could a contrary trend follow soon? Four-door coupes are possibly the first indicators. Mercedes launched one in the luxury class a couple of years ago and Aston Martin and Porsche are going to follow with even bigger yet flat models. The same for BMW. Audi is likely to rival Mercedes' CLS directly whereas VW launched their Passat CC one segment below the Benz. However Ingolstadt will join them there. Indeed, all this is, was and will be just about trend and fashion.

People like the sportiness of that type of car and many accept a lack of head room and trunk capacity for great looks. But, there is a further trend that could promote a breakthrough of such models: Environment friendliness! Lower cars have a lower front surface and thus a reduced thirst for fuel, which is expected to be one of the most decisive buying criteria of years to come.

Apart from the fact that green is hip nowadays, manufacturers have to meet strict average fleet consumption standards, not only in Europe. So they could be interested in establishing more aerodynamically optimized shapes, also in segments of mass-produced units, beyond highy rewarding niches. Finally tomorrows most efficient models will be sports car-shaped.

Honda Clarity - Click here to see a aarger version Fisker Karma - Click here to see a Larger version

Two further innovative approaches demonstrate how this could look like: Fisker's plug-in hybrid car Karma [03] and Honda's fuel cell vehicle Clarity [02]. Latest example is the Peugeot RC [01], exhibited at this year's Mos-
cow motor show. Even though such concepts appear very exclusive today, the design could become wide spread soon. Because, there is no expen-
sive developments, no research efforts and no investments required.

Designers just have to create an according shape next time. Saving fuel could be so easy when customers accept it. And, they will surely do this. Mazda once launched coupe-like compact cars with the F-models of their 323 series. Both hit big! Especially the second generation is still popular. So it's actually the unrecognized archetype of the modern 4-door coupe, despite of the staggering Mercedes CLS. ...Next >

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