Last week I got to see the new Skoda Citigo in the flesh. Skoda's chief designer Josef Caban, boasted that the Citigo not only had different nose and tail styling, but also had a completely different bodyside pressing to its VW Up sister car.
I looked hard at the Skoda and, aside from the obvious difference in the shape of the rear window, thought that the two cars looked remarkably similar. Indeed, the distinctive chamfer running along the top of the door - which gives the car a distinct flavour in the metal - is the same on both cars. Why did Skoda use the same strong styling feature as VW?
Then the penny dropped. It seems all three of the VW Group city cars - including Seat's new Mii - use the same front wing pressing. In theory, that shouldn't be a huge hurdle to overcome when trying to make the cars look as individual as possible.
However, this front wing has a very distinct chamfered styling feature running around the base of the A-pillar. This means the wing's chamfer has to be repeated down the top of the door skin and, inevitably, into the rear quarter panel.
Even worse, the corporate wing's headlamp cutout has dictated part of the Skoda's headlamp shape, much of the front corner of the bumper and the ridge along the bottom half of the door skin. The latter, as you can see in the picture, is dictated by the edge pressed around the wheel arch.
All in all, the decision to use the same front wing has completely undermined the room for stylistic differentiation. All that effort that went into Skoda changing the side pressing and designing its own front bumper was undermined.
Still, VW has form in this area. Remember the Mk3 Golf and the headlamp's rather odd straight outside edge? That was a consequence of VW bosses insistence on using the same front wing on both the Golf and Jetta. Volkswagen Up