The main thrust of this little meditation rests on a sighting of the brightwork on a VW Troc.
Alas, my camera did not lie within easy reach so I have to use a library photo. I can confirm, however that the car had the same paint coat as the one in the image you can see above.
The thought process lasted under a minute. My eventual conclusion is to wonder if I am some kind of relativist. Am I?
That bit of brightwork on the t-Roc: it’s not different in intent from the Opel Astra or Vauxhall Insignia, is it?
Both are fine cars, much appreciated by certain sections of DTW. If it’s okay to do that kind of post-modern design on an Opel why is it a problem for VW?
Let’s start with branding. A brand like Volkswagen’s constitutes a promise though one only ever imagined by the consumer, based on inductive reasoning. Heretofore, VW have delivered sober and refined industrial design, free of kickshaws, doodads and frippery.
Inductive reasoning is not a guarantee of anything though. All swans are white until you go and visit Australia. All VWs are sober designs until it suits VW not to do sober. This detail (glance below) is from the current Polo. Look at those sections, more Toyota (who I admire and respect) than VAG.
The TR-oc simply builds on that fussiness. How? It is a piece of brightwork that is there for purely decorative reasons. Like the Optima (which I like), it is unmoored from the side-glass where for thousands of years the brightwork has lodged, ever since car designers climbed down from the trees and ordered a cappucino latte grande al americano.
However, VW needs to make a living. If the customer wants post-modern brightwork and fussy sections then that is what the customer shall get.
In response to that point, I could either a) accuse VW of cynicsm and b) accuse their customers of a want of good taste.
In counterpoint, I can then accuse myself of hypocrisy (I don’t mind the Optima or Insignia at all) and superiority. Who am I to stand in judgement over VW’s team of pen-wielders and their customer base.
In order to resolve this one I have to say that in the end, if VW’s fussy sections and superfluous brightwork is what earns a living, then sad as it is, that is simply the way the market is going. Sadly, I also have to look myself in the eye (I bought a mirror for this purpose) and say I seem to have given up on the responsibility and duty of designers to deliver not only what the customer wants but what is, professionally-speaking, the best possible. That makes me some kind of a relativist.
The proper response is for some other, better brand to provide something as attractive to TRO-c customers but done in far better taste.