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Business

January 20, 2013

Bling is the thing for 2014 model cars

(Continued)

Those lights are helping Cadillac set itself apart from competitors, says Consumer Reports lead car tester Jake Fisher.

Osram Automotive supplies lighting components for the ATS and other Cadillacs. David Hulick, the company’s global marketing director of solid state lighting, says the ATS benefits from hidden LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, which offer an “intense, white appearance” that can’t be duplicated with traditional bulbs.

Hulick says getting more out of illumination was the impetus behind the first automotive use of LEDs in exterior lighting: a mid-1990s Ford Thunderbird. He says that model used “super-red LEDs with a neon look” — something that also “couldn’t be achieved with traditional technology.”

HOT OFF THE GRILLE

Ford is heating up its grilles, particularly its Fusion model. The Fusion jettisoned the old, bulky shutters that go back years and embraced a wide, bold grille with numerous thin blades.

Consumer Reports’ Fisher says the grille helps the midsize family sedan “evoke the looks of an Aston-Martin” — adding to the mystique and brand identity without adding to the bottom line.

Ford hopes to finally surpass Toyota Camry’s sales with the new Fusion, helped by a more aggressive-looking trapezoidal grille.

There are other grilles providing artistic thrills: When the light hits it just right, the angular brushed-metal grille of Hyundai’s new luxury concept car shows off at least a dozen small inverted triangles that appear behind horizontal bars. The wide-mouth grille has a bunch of tiny holes, and the angles reflect light. It’s just one of many new styling cues on the HCD-14 Genesis, which Hyundai says is the direction it will take the next generation of its luxury cars, the Genesis and Equus.

THE EYES HAVE IT

The tail lamps on the high-performance version of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee are tinted black, giving it an ominous look. Ralph Gilles, a Chrysler design leader, noted the lamps are “kind of like death.”

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