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Cybertruck is ugliest vehicle in memory for storied Ferrari and BMW designer as Lucid Air gets praise

Cybertruck's stainless steel body is what brought its angular shape (image: Tesla)
Cybertruck's stainless steel body is what brought its angular shape (image: Tesla)
The man who designed signature vehicles for Ferrari, Maserati, or BMW, is of the opinion that Tesla's Cybertruck is one of the ugliest vehicles he has ever laid eyes on. He blames the digital transition of design schools and aiming at shock value for some of the current questionable car designs.

Frank Stephenson, the lead designer of legendary cars ranging from the Ford Escort Cosworth to the Maserati Quattroporte with the new MINI or Fiat 500 sprinkled in-between, is of the opinion that the Cybertruck is a true design abomination. "I never thought I’d one day see something so ugly," he says in an interview without mincing words, "but there it is."

According to Stevenson, who also created the looks of the BMW X5, the Ferrari F430, or the McLaren P1 supercar, all cars now look very similar. It's because automakers go for shock value to raise brand awareness, he adds, while design schools bet entirely on the digital instead of using it as just a tool alongside good ol' pencil and paper.

This is how design schools work now. Designers have lost the art of sculpting and embracing an intimate relationship with their designs, perfecting, and further understanding the lines and character traits they’ve drawn themselves. Now, they mostly type in a set of commands in software and the computer gives them a shape that looks like a car, which they then work on. That is the root of the problem for some of the questionable car designs we’ve seen in recent years...

Carmakers have this mindset that bold, shocking designs convey confidence in their brand and product. They assume that consumers will eventually catch up to their way of thinking. In my opinion, that’s not a great way to sell a product to consumers.

Mr. Stephenson is not the only one who thinks that the angular Cybertruck is ugly for the sake of it as it tries to convey the brutalism of a working truck and stand out from the rest of the pickup crowd, but also from the rest of Tesla's egg shapes so far.

Actually, Tesla's chief designer Franz von Holzhausen recently explained that the cut-with-axe lines of the Cybertruck in fact came from the material Elon Musk gave his team to work with, namely stainless steel:

You could only break form and form it in one direction. You can’t do compound curves or things with the thickness of the stainless steel that we’re using. So it really led us to a design that was really planar, really simplistic, and it was also a chance to break the paradigm of what pickup trucks have been for the past 60 or 70 years. The same there’s kind of this three box shape, and we just thought from an aerodynamic perspective, having a covered back a sloping roof would also be helpful. And oddly enough, it may not look it, but the Cybertruck is an incredibly aerodynamic vehicle.

On the opposite side of the Cybertruck's ugliness, says Frank Stephenson, is another EV from one of Tesla's competing US companies, the Lucid Air. He called the Air one of the most beautiful cars that have come out of the automotive industry lately, digitalized design schools notwithstanding.

Despite its controversial looks, however, the Cybertruck currently has more than 1.8 million preorders pending. Unfortunately, Tesla will only be able to make a fraction of that per year, at least initially, so demand is not exactly its problem, no matter the truck's looks. Unless it announces a sky high Cybertruck price in September when Elon Musk said the electric pickup is likely to be released, that is.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 06 > Cybertruck is ugliest vehicle in memory for storied Ferrari and BMW designer as Lucid Air gets praise
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-06-12 (Update: 2023-06-12)