Audi A4 and Honda Civic: Taillight design Jason 28 Nov 2005

49 comments Latest by Wynand

Those taillights look pretty similar, don’t they?

49 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dave Simon 28 Nov 05

Yeah, they do look similar.

But it could be a whole car looking similar - take a look at the new Ford Five-Hundred. Then look at a 1998-2005 VW Passat.

Talk about “influenced by.”

NA 28 Nov 05

Um, not really.

Mike Rundle 28 Nov 05

The new A4’s taillights look like ass, I can’t believe they redesigned the back only a year or two after coming out with the “older” A4’s design which I loved. Guess I can get an A4 from last year pretty cheap now…

And NA, you’re an idiot, they’re exactly the same.

Sheldon Kotyk 28 Nov 05

Rumour has it, they both even have some sort of connection to a pedal the driver pushes down on. It’s sort of like the action on a link. The light goes on to turn it from a dark red to a bright red. It’s probably an AJAX thing!

Wow web 2.5 on a car!

Lau T. 28 Nov 05

A lot of the Japanese manufacturers designs are imitations of European ones. Just bland, rounded diluted versions.

Tilman Haerdle 29 Nov 05

On the first glance they do look similar. But the Honda taillight doesn’t have the same proportions. And while Audi always has a very consistent “family” look the Honda designers love to change the overall look ever so often. Audi strives for having a high recognition value through the complete range of cars.
Problem is, imitations tend to look like imitations. If you just copy the looks, you might miss the original idea.
Comparing the last, say, 5 generations of Audi A4 and the last 5 generations of Honda Civic you’ll also find a higher variance at the Honda models. Although 5 generations of Audi reach far more years back into the past than Honda…

Wendell 29 Nov 05

The purest compliment is imitation.

Matthias Schonder 29 Nov 05

It’s just like the new BMW 3 Series and the Toyota Primera.

Karl Robert 29 Nov 05

The Honda actually looks a lot like the BMW 3 Series, not only the light, but everything else.

It’s a pity these people can only copy. They have some great engineers but no competent designers. A little bit like open source :-)

Alan O'Rourke 29 Nov 05

I know of a lighting designer in London, and his company would be hired by various car companies to design the lighting for each model. Their role is to design the best user experience, within the legal guidelines for each country while keeping costs down for the manufacturer. That can often mean buying the same components from a third party company for competing car manufacturers.

Some of the stories of car companies saving a few cents by eliminating vital user feedback indicators (like a fuel gauge warning light) would make you weep.

dusoft 29 Nov 05

Normal thing. Should every steering wheel look different or what?

Nicola Mattina 29 Nov 05

To me it’s not a secret che Honda takes a lot of “inspiration” from german cars (at least for sedan) :-)
I noticed a lot of similarities also with Bmw…

John Hawbaker 29 Nov 05

Yeah, the shape of the lights is similar, but the overall shape of the rear end of each car is very different. The Audi is a more of a convex curve while the Honda is more concave. The lights wouldn’t look nearly as similar with a different photo angle or in person.

John Topley 29 Nov 05

Why not mention the 2006 European Honda Civic, which is almost certainly the best looking Japanese family car ever!

sharaf 29 Nov 05

Take a look at the front-end design of 2006 Honda Civic and Saturn Ion, they are the same damn thing….it seems Honda ripped off the look from Saturn as well….

How about Ford Fusion vs. Cadillac STS? All of of them start to look alike….except my favorite Mini.

Michael Spina 29 Nov 05

I can’t say I love the new A4’s, but man that rear facia looks so much better than the Civic. The lights have a better proportion to the size of the car, as opposed to the too-big Civic taillights. And they seem to fit the lines better, and make so much more sense sitting higher.

Phil 29 Nov 05

And they both have four wheels… eerie…

Benjy 29 Nov 05

I can’t believe they redesigned the back only a year or two after coming out with the “older” A4’s design which I loved

Actually, it had been 4 years since the A4 was entirely redesigned — I looked at leftover 2001 A4’s before buying my 2002 Jetta in Sep. ‘01. So a minor facelift was justified at this point. I like this design — I never cared for the previous taillights and I like the new grille.

Danny Hope 29 Nov 05

Both designs are, in my opinion, incredibly bland.

Rob Cameron 29 Nov 05

Take a look at the entire rear end of a Mitsubishi Galant and the new Dodge Charger.

SU 29 Nov 05

I’d argue this is just Honda reacting to Volkswagen’s complete and utter rip off of Toyota’s Corolla design… Copying goes both ways, apparently.

Jon Leighton 29 Nov 05

I wouldn’t really say that cars are generally a good example of innovative design. At least not when you’re just looking at the outside.

Kathy Sierra (Creating Passionate Users) actually wrote a post basically saying that a while back.

Will 29 Nov 05

When I see them on the road, I still think I like the previous body’s taillights better, but the new ones are growing on me, just like the new grill.

The previous tallight seems more agressive sculpted while the newer version has a more refined look (I think).

Don Wilson 29 Nov 05

Taillight design can be only so distinct.

Joe 29 Nov 05

Not really. They have the same shape, but A4’s is convex while the Civic is concave.

Even if they did, its not always a design issue, they may have a common supplier and just chose to use the same supplier product (or in this case, a similar one).

Design is big, but its not everything when building something is big and complicated and costly as a car.

Piers 29 Nov 05

I think they look similar because they are both quite bland and featureless, not because they have similar features. Thus their similarity is boring because it is a product of their boringness.

Perhaps you could look for two trees that look similar, or two people that are unrelated but look similar. That would be more interesting.

Josh 29 Nov 05

The new Civic looks like a Toyota Prius…

Dan Hartung 30 Nov 05

I don’t think this is that big a deal. Car design trends have been pretty stable the last decade or so, and there have been numerous articles about the sameness of modern sedan design. Automobile magazine even had a two-page spread with about 20 or 30 different leading sedans viewed from the side; only a few were at all distinctive (at least at that scale).

The Audi and the Toyota rear ends are both showing signs of an increased emphasis on the safety cage and crumple zone. A rigid structure of steel and aluminum allows for more use of lighter composites in other areas while preserving occupant safety. The typically high trunk entry of the late 90s+ cars shows that this rigid structure extends higher than the bumper, in part due to the concern over increased numbers of SUVs and car-truck collisions — trucks are higher than cars and used to be able to override the safety features at standard bumper height. Putting the cage a little higher can dramatically improve the crash survivability in these cases. Also, a higher trunk structure provides more cargo room, but the trunk lid can’t be too large or heavy, which also forces the trunk entry higher.

So you’re left with this flat rear trunk structure. The wraparound taillight isn’t uniique to these two cars, and will probably be universal in a few years. This all leads to a situation where you have to adapt the taillight to the structural needs. There isn’t as much flexibility as you think.

That said, Audi has long branded itself as an upscale, highly engineered car, and Toyota has been steadily increasing its appeal to that market. But again, the market to some extent dictates what consumers will buy, and they’re buying these lookalike sedans by the trainload. Only a few brands can get away with truly distinctive design, because only a few consumers want that in a car.

Cody Foss 02 Dec 05

I’m a bit behind the discussion, but I read somewhere that Ford poached the head designer for Audi/VW a couple years back. I think that might explain some of the similarities. If you look at some of the other ‘global’ Ford models, you’ll see a move to the cleaner Audi like lines.

James Melzer 02 Dec 05

As Dan points out above, this similarity is more than skin deep. The structure of the skin and frame of the two cars is nearly identical, so it is not too surprising that the taillights, which fit into that structure, are also similar. Both cars have two-part trunks, which until recently was unusual. Both cars have a single-piece rear bumper which wraps all the way around to the rear wheels and flares up to meet the tail light. When combined, these forms leave negative space in the shape of the taillights you see on these cars. Any car designed with these basic parts by someone interested in simple pleasing visual design will end up with near-identical taillights (see also BMW 3 series and VW Jetta, for example).

Jim 17 Feb 06

German cars in general have been copying japanese cars the past few years.. just look at the BMWs and Audis. Remove their distinctive BMW or Audi front grille and what you have is Mazda, Toyota or Honda.

Danno 15 May 06

Holy crap. Jim that may be the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen posted. Keep a timeline the next release of cars hits the market. You’ll Benz, BMW, Audi, or VW put out a release of cars and right behind them will follow an Acura or honda rip off of some german designer’s hard work. Better buy a couple non-japanese magazines and actually read them before you pretend you know something and post crap like that on a site. Have a nice day Jim. lol

Danno 15 May 06

Holy crap. Jim that may be the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen posted. Keep a timeline the next release of cars hits the market. You’ll see Benz, BMW, Audi, or VW put out a release of cars and right behind them will follow an Acura or Honda rip-off of some german designer’s hard work. Better buy a couple non-japanese magazines and actually read them before you pretend you know something and post crap like that in a forum. Have a nice day Jim. lol

John Harder 26 May 06

Kunichiwa Chan,

I do believe Japanese have a renowned quality of copying things. For example Toyota made Lexus by reverse engineering Mercedes-Benzes in the early 90’s.Another example is the Japanese culture, thier culture is a copy of the Korean/Chinese culture. The New Audi A4 was designed before the new Honda Civic, The new Audi a4 was in Germany 1 year ago which means it was designed probably 1-2 years ago knowing how long Germans engineer their cars to absolute perfection. This would mean incidentally again the Japanese copy designs yet again. By the way you think Japan is higher tech then Germany then think again. Most innovations of the modern world came from Germany (like car, Karl Benz invented the car).America also made almost every modern device to this day and the Japanese copy products and make more refined. But Japanese cannot copy one thing from anyone. Innovation and inventive thinking. Superior German engineering is world renowned while Japanese engineering is world renowned in a horrible way. This Japanese engineering is design copying. Of Course Japanese cars are more reliable than the new German cars but that is because they have less refined, far less sophisticated engines, and most of their engines are 4 cylinders.

Finally CAN JAPANESE SAY THEY HAVE THE MOST DURABLE CAR MADE NO ONLY THE GERMANS CAN.A Mercedes Benz 240 D is the most durable car in the world with about 4.6 million miles on the clock. The world most produced car was also German, the VW BEETLE. Now enough said my lecture has pointed out to you that Japanese are backwards plagiarising people of engineering and the Germans are leap years ahead in technology in every department except for robotics come say.

From JOHN HARDER
THE TRUTH
CALGARY, AB

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

for the most part…you are all fucking jackasses…Audi and BMW are German cars which ALWAYS make better cars than the Japanese. Are you fucking kidding me…why would you want a Lexus over an Audi or an Infiniti over a BMW…you have got to be a fucking moron…jackasses…just deal with your bad purchase, sell it, and buy a german car. You are fucking ass holes

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

for the most part…you are all fucking jackasses…Audi and BMW are German cars which ALWAYS make better cars than the Japanese. Are you fucking kidding me…why would you want a Lexus over an Audi or an Infiniti over a BMW…you have got to be a fucking moron…jackasses…just deal with your bad purchase, sell it, and buy a german car. You are fucking ass holes

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

for the most part…you are all fucking jackasses…Audi and BMW are German cars which ALWAYS make better cars than the Japanese. Are you fucking kidding me…why would you want a Lexus over an Audi or an Infiniti over a BMW…you have got to be a fucking moron…jackasses…just deal with your bad purchase, sell it, and buy a german car. You are fucking ass holes

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

for the most part…you are all fucking jackasses…Audi and BMW are German cars which ALWAYS make better cars than the Japanese. Are you fucking kidding me…why would you want a Lexus over an Audi or an Infiniti over a BMW…you have got to be a fucking moron…jackasses…just deal with your bad purchase, sell it, and buy a german car. You are fucking ass holes

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

for the most part…you are all fucking jackasses…Audi and BMW are German cars which ALWAYS make better cars than the Japanese. Are you fucking kidding me…why would you want a Lexus over an Audi or an Infiniti over a BMW…you have got to be a fucking moron…jackasses…just deal with your bad purchase, sell it, and buy a german car. You are fucking ass holes

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

for the most part…you are all fucking jackasses…Audi and BMW are German cars which ALWAYS make better cars than the Japanese. Are you fucking kidding me…why would you want a Lexus over an Audi or an Infiniti over a BMW…you have got to be a fucking moron…jackasses…just deal with your bad purchase, sell it, and buy a german car. You are fucking ass holes

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

FUCK YOU…BUY A FUCKING GERMAN CAR AND QUIT FUCKING WHINING ABOUT IT.

slappy johnxon 07 Jul 06

FUCK YOU…BUY A FUCKING GERMAN CAR AND QUIT FUCKING WHINING ABOUT IT.

John Harder 20 Jul 06

I would agree with this smart informative blogger slappy johnson.Slappy Johnson the people who really love cars thank you.German cars are just so much better period from metal quality to door shuts!

callinkirjo 13 Sep 06

have you seen the power surveys in the UK?
german cars are not the most reliable… Japanese cars are… even some korean cars come out better than german cars.

callinkirjo 13 Sep 06

have you seen the power surveys in the UK?
german cars are not the most reliable… Japanese cars are… even some korean cars come out better than german cars.

callinkirjo 13 Sep 06

have you seen the power surveys in the UK?
german cars are not the most reliable… Japanese cars are… even some korean cars come out better than german cars.

Wynand 17 Sep 06

I agree, Toyota and Honda are the most favourable cars in US, and customer satisfaction and quality surveys (with some of these surveys even originating from Germany), state that Japanese cars are better quality. German cars aren’t the only cars with ‘more than 4 cylinders’, not sure if you’ve noticed that? Also, an recent UK customer satisfaction (quality, etc.) survey indicated that #1, #3 and #4 on the list was all Hondas.

‘…far less sophisticated engines…’: Of course, that’s why the most ‘sophisticated’ engine, found in the S2000, has the most specific output, right? Or was the ‘design’ copied from some German design?

‘…except for robotics come say…’: You’re damn right! ASIMO, please hand these people a brochure.

Regards

The REAL Truth

Wynand 17 Sep 06

I agree, Toyota and Honda are the most favourable cars in US, and customer satisfaction and quality surveys (with some of these surveys even originating from Germany), state that Japanese cars are better quality. German cars aren’t the only cars with ‘more than 4 cylinders’, not sure if you’ve noticed that? Also, an recent UK customer satisfaction (quality, etc.) survey indicated that #1, #3 and #4 on the list was all Hondas.

‘…far less sophisticated engines…’: Of course, that’s why the most ‘sophisticated’ engine, found in the S2000, has the most specific output, right? Or was the ‘design’ copied from some German design?

‘…except for robotics come say…’: You’re damn right! ASIMO, please hand these people a brochure.

Regards

The REAL Truth

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