BMW Starts Campaign To Shame Haters Of Their Beaver Fang Grilles

Is this aimed at MotorBiscuit? We have been front and center criticizing BMW for their arrogance in foisting the beaver fang grilles on enthusiasts. We have read many comments from the designers seeking to bend opinions. Mostly it is designer-speak mumbo jumbo. Now, BMW has launched an advertising and social media campaign to shame haters of their beaver fang grilles.

Recently BMW unveiled its ungainly 2022 BMW iX to a chorus of disgusted observers. Besides its unfortunate body sculpting that mates round wheel openings bonked into square fender forms, there’s that grille. Hung way out beyond the front wheel centerline it announces its obnoxiousness with aplomb. 

Maybe the grille is meant to divert attention from the rest of the design?

Maybe the grille is meant to divert our attention from the rest of the bad design? Or maybe beaver fang grilles are meant to tie into the bad design. Take your pick. So, now there is this campaign starting with “What’s your reason not to change?” A narrator makes fun of those who make fun of the grille.

The narrator comments, “Did we somehow start to feel uncomfortable with the unknown? Or have we just stopped being open for anything new?” Well, the beaver fang grille is not the unknown. It is known and in our faces. We see it and we decry that it exists. So it is only unknown to designers how bad design will be received. In this case; not too well.

As for their social media jabs BMW has chosen to use their slogan, “OK, Boomer, And what’s your reason not to change?” BMW comments to criticisms with variations of “In order to go new ways you sometimes have to try new looks.” This is absolutely true, but it is not for the consumer to make those decisions. 

It is the job of the designers to explore all kinds of different looks

1958 Edsel “Horse Collar” grille | Getty

It is the job of the designers to explore all kinds of different looks. But then their design sense has to kick in to either reject certain ideas or explore them further. It is not the job of the consumer to accept “new looks.” If it is good they will embrace it. If it’s not they will probably come up with names like “beaver fang grille.” Which it has. 

There is a certain arrogance to designers doubling down on a bad design. We are reminded of examples like the Edsel back in 1958, the 1996 Ford Taurus redesign, or more recently the Pontiac Aztek in 2001. They were both rejected because of how they looked. In the case of the Edsel Ford toned down the “horse collar” grille in 1959 and killed it completely in 1960, which was its last year.

The 1996 Taurus was so poorly received it signaled the end of the Taurus line

1996 Ford Taurus | Ford

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The 1996 Taurus had a soft body design that used oval features such as the rear window. After the first generation of the Taurus was praised for its design the 1996 Taurus was so poorly received it signaled the end of the Taurus line for many years. In the Aztek’s case it soldiered on until sales were so low it didn’t make economic sense to produce it.

In all of those cases, the bad design did not prevail in spite of the design clinics, money, and effort to design something with “new looks.” So history is not on BMW’s side, and trying to be cute about people’s response does not help BMW either. Just as BMW found with the 7-Series “Bangle Butt” you initiate a redesign as quickly as possible and never look back.