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Business

January 20, 2013

Bling is the thing for 2014 model cars

DETROIT — Headlights, grilles and other doodads are stepping up and popping out on cars.

Car bling is proliferating, from daytime running lights that go up the hood of the new Cadillac ATS, to a wide, bold grille on the Ford Fusion, to engraving within the lamps of the new Corvette and Ford Transit.

It is inexpensive but distinctive, providing automotive eye candy that can even boost gas mileage or improve safety. Bling isn’t new, but advancements in technology and design are allowing automakers to do more of it and move it from luxury cars into the mainstream.

“You’ve got form and function with the beauty,” says IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland.

The adornments are on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which was set to open to the public yesterday:

FETCHING ETCHING

Mom never advised looking into lights, but peering into the lamps of certain vehicles offers some aesthetic rewards: Tiny engravings are appearing inside, like figures inside a snow globe.

Headlights in the splashy new Corvette feature the brand’s crossed-flag logo, and the utilitarian Ford Transit offers Ford’s Blue Oval logo contained in a seven-sided shape.

Likewise, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee features a vintage miniature Jeep silhouette and the phrase, “Since 1941,” referring to the year Jeeps began rolling out.

IHS Automotive’s Lindland says it’s intriguing that designers are “laying this kind of jewelry in just that small spot” — in the process attracting buyers and providing recognition on the road.

LINE OF SIGHT

Distinctive lights abound, but a prime example graces the front of the new Cadillac ATS, a sport sedan.

The car’s daytime running lights go up the top of the fender along the hood line. They help contribute to an overall design that is angular and edgy.

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