I recently visited the NAIAS and was impressed with the new Fusion redesign. But I couldn't help noticing that the SEL Fusion on display had the exhaust on one side. It looks cheap compared to the sexy Titanium version. With all the hype and pictures on the internet, you are seeing only the high end version which is probably the 75th percentile consumers. Why can't the styling be standardized across all versions of the models (i.e. SE, SEL, and Titanium)?
When I look at Hyundai-Kia exterior styling, they maintain a standard design regardless of version. Granted, a few chrome appliques and accents are added, but for the most part, they look the same. For example, all the Sonata's and Azera's have the dual exhaust look across all versions. But what changes are the interior features, technology, and the performance/engine/powertrain. I think of the exterior styling as the first thing you see. It's essentially the curb appeal of the car and an extension of the company. If something looks great on a car, such as the dual exhaust look on the Titanium, pay the extra price and go with it across all the SE and SEL models!
We recently bought a 2011 Taurus SEL and I hate to compare it to the sharp styling of the SHO. The SHO has the sexy dual exhaust, spoiler, and chrome accent on the lower grille. Why couldn't the exterior styling of the Taurus look the same for the SE, SEL, Limited and SHO and merely modify the interior and performance based on the higher end version. Honestly, it looks cheap and feels cheap when you compare the SE or SEL model to a Limited or a SHO from the outside. Sure if I had ten-thousand dollars more I would indulge in the SHO, but how much would it take to have the dual exhaust on the SEL along with a decklid spoiler and chrome accents on the grille.
So here is the solution Ford, if you want to keep turning heads on the road, standardize the exterior styling on all the variants and focus on varying the interior and performance for people who want to pay a little more. I think Hyundai has done this quite successfully and have significantly increased their market share in the US. There is no reason you guys can't do it...
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