Design History Capsule: 2003 Cadillac CTS – The Art of Cribbing and the Science of Imitation

The Mazda MS-X Concept was shown in 1997 at the Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows. It was apparently designed at Mazda Research and Design Europe, to explore advanced design and interior concepts for a possible future production sedan. The 2003 Cadillac CTS, as it turns out.

Ok, it’s not exactly a dead-ringer all-round. But the front end has way too many similarities to be a coincidence.

Obviously, the rear ends are significantly different in the C pillar and certain other respects, yet there are some very key similarities too. The way the rear fenders peak above the trunk lid and attach to the C pillar, and the CHMSL integrated into that protrusion from the trunk lid. ironically, the rear tail lights on the Mazda have a decidedly more Caddy vibe than the CTS.

Obviously the Mazda is rounder and softer, while the CTS shows more hard edges. But with the exception of the rear half of the roof, the basic proportional and stylistic similarities cannot be dismissed.