There are tens of thousands of models on the world car market, each of which has its own distinctive look and technical characteristics, but to attract more buyers, many manufacturers have resorted to a marketing ploy called restyling.
Let's figure out what it is, why is it used for a new car, and what changes in the car after the procedure?
What is car restyling
Using restyling, the manufacturer makes minor adjustments to the car's appearance in order to refresh the current generation model.
Restyling means changing some elements of the car body so that the vehicle looks different without fundamental changes. A similar term that is applied to this procedure is facelift.
It is not uncommon for automakers to resort to major changes to the interior to update the current model. There are also times when, as a result of a facelift, the car receives deep body updates. For example, the car becomes more understated than the base model or gets a new part (spoiler or sports body kits). With all these changes, the model name does not change, but if you put these cars next to each other, then the differences are immediately striking.
Why do you need restyling
In the automotive market, a lull is always identical to the collapse of a company. For this reason, manufacturers closely monitor the relevance of the technical filling of their products, as well as the popularity of the model range. Usually, in 5-7 years after the next generation is published, it will become commonplace and lose interest of buyers.
So why have we been hearing more and more about the release of an updated version of a famous machine lately?
Reasons for restyling
As strange as it sounds, the auto world also has its own fashion and style. And these trends are closely followed by designers and engineers of all self-respecting companies. An example of this is the birth of the VAZ 21099 modification.
In those distant times, the famous "eight" and its restyled version - "nine" met the needs of the younger generation, who wanted to have an inexpensive car, but with sports characteristics (at that time). However, in order to satisfy also the requests of sedan lovers, it was decided to develop a new, also restyled version, a model based on the 09th, but in a sedan body. Thanks to this decision, the car became an icon of style and significance among the generation of the 90s.
Another reason for such model updates in the market is competition. Moreover, it greatly speeds up the process of appearance of restyled models. Some brands try to keep up with the needs of customers, while others set the tone in this, constantly raising the bar to the next level.
Often, it takes no more than three years to develop and release a new generation of a model or a facelift version. Even the most popular car can maintain its position precisely because of this marketing ploy.
In this regard, a completely logical question arises: why waste time and resources on restyling, and then, after a couple of years, release a new generation? It would be much more logical to immediately release a new generation of cars.
The answer here lies not so much in logic, but rather in the material side of the question. The fact is that when a model is under development, a lot of licenses and technical documentation must be collected for a new machine. Engineering, licenses for new powertrains and electronic systems all require investment.
When the next model is released, sales of the previous modification must cover not only the costs of obtaining the appropriate approvals, but also the salaries of the company's employees. If you take this step every three years, then the company will work in the red. It is much easier to set up the machines to a different mode and slightly change the body design or install new optics - and the car looks more modern, and the client is satisfied, and the brand can keep the model at the top positions.
In fact, the same happened with the above-mentioned 99th. The management of the domestic manufacturer decided not to give a new number to the new product, so as not to change the technical documentation, but simply added another nine to the model name. So it turned out to be an almost new model, but with the characteristics of an already popular car.
As stated above, many car manufacturers would be happy not to invest in changing the look of their cars. But due to the growing popularity of specific styles or technical data, they are forced to resort to this scheme. Often, even internal rebranding is carried out (the logo, badge and sometimes even the brand name are changed, reflecting the new concept of the company), because the competition is unsettling.
Types of car restyling
As for the types of restyling, there are two types:
- External renewal (this type is often called facelift - "facelift" or rejuvenation);
- Technical restyling.
In this case, the company's designers are developing various modifications to the appearance of an existing model to give it freshness. This is the type of update that is most often used by brands. Usually, manufacturers limit themselves to minor implementations that subtly hint that the machine has received updates.
And sometimes designers get so carried away that the body even gets a separate numbering, as often happens with cars. Mercedes-Benz и BMW... Less commonly, a significant change in appearance is used, since this procedure also requires funds and resources. The update may also include a change to the interior. Moreover, more often it undergoes much more changes than the body part.
Here's a small example of a minor car restyling:
In this case, the procedure is often called homologation. This is a change in the technical part, but also without significant changes so that the result does not turn out to be a new model. For example, homologation includes expanding the range of engines, making some adjustments to power units or car electronics, which increases its performance.
For example, some models Ford were not originally equipped with EcoBoost motors, but after restyling, such modifications become available to customers. Or in the period 2003-2010. BMW 5-Series in the back of the E-60 received turbocharged counterparts instead of atmospheric engines. Often these changes are accompanied by an increase in the power of the popular model and a decrease in fuel consumption.
Often such "rejuvenation" is carried out several times during the history of the production of a model of one generation. Often, technical restyling borders on the release of a new generation. Two homologations of the Mazda 3 are an example of this. In addition to impressive cosmetic procedures, the engines and even the chassis were changed. However, this is not the limit that the manufacturer can afford.
Features of restyling cars
Restyling is often forced. This procedure is initiated when some failures are observed in the technical or electronic part. Often times, these streams are withdrawn and customers are compensated. This is a big waste, therefore, when this happens, it is easier for companies to equip official service stations with materials or software and encourage the owners of such cars to visit a service center to replace low-quality components or update software.
It's nice that such situations happen extremely rarely due to the identification of shortcomings at the stage of car development. Most often, planned restyling is carried out. Before initiating the procedure, the company's engineers and designers (and quite often there are entire monitoring departments for this) follow the global trends.
The manufacturer must be as sure as possible that the client will receive exactly what he wants, and not what is imposed on him. The fate of the model on the market depends on this. Various little things are taken into account - up to the original body colors or the materials from which the interior elements are made.
The main focus is on the front of the car - adding chrome parts, changing the shape of the air intakes, etc. As for the rear of the car, it basically does not change. The maximum that the manufacturer does with the stern of the car is to install new exhaust tips or change the edges of the trunk lid.
Sometimes the restyling is so insignificant that the car owner can do it on his own - buy covers for mirrors or headlights - and the car received an update corresponding to the factory one.
Sometimes manufacturers call a new product a new generation, although in fact it is nothing more than a deep restyling. An example of this is the eighth generation of the popular Golf, which is described in the video:
What changes in the car after restyling?
So, if we talk about restyling, as an update between the release of generations, then here are what changes such a modification can include:
- The shape of some parts of the body changes;
- New body kits are added;
- The focus is on the front of the machine;
- Some attention is paid to the rear of the car - rear optics, spoiler, exhaust pipes, trunk lid, etc .;
- Regarding new parts, they have identical fasteners as in the previous modification, so that, if desired, you can carry out such work yourself;
- Sometimes the shape of the doors changes;
- New moldings and nameplates and other decorations may appear on the body;
- Designers sometimes decide to change the interior of the car, including the console, dashboard and dashboard, infotainment (equipped with a large screen);
- Often invisible changes are made related to the technical part of the car - the parameters of the power unit are changed, sensors are added, etc.
What, as a rule, does not change with a restyling?
As a rule, the structure of the car does not change during restyling - neither the roof, nor the fenders, nor other large parts of the body and chassis (the wheelbase remains unchanged). Of course, even such changes are subject to exceptions to the rule.
Sometimes the sedan becomes a coupe or liftback. Rarely, but it happens, when the vehicle changes so much that it is even difficult to trace the common features of the updated and pre-resting versions. All this, of course, depends on the capabilities of the manufacturer and the policy of the company.
As for the suspension, transmission, and other engine sizes, such changes require a new car to be released, which is akin to the next generation.
Examples of restyling new cars
One of the brightest representatives of the restyled modifications is the Mercedes-Benz G-class. Restyled modifications of the same generation appeared several times during the production of the model. Thanks to this marketing move, one generation was not updated during 1979-2012.
But even the 464th model, the release of which was announced in 2016, is not positioned as a new generation (although the company on generation 463 decided to close the generation). Daimler called it a deep restyling of the 463rd model.
A similar picture is observed in the case of the VW Passat, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Blazer, Cheysler 300, etc. Although there is debate about the term deep restyling: can it really be called that if almost everything in the car changes except for the nameplate. But regardless of the opinion of the author of this article, the manufacturer decides how to name the next novelty.