DETROIT -- Enter the era of the stubby rear ends.
On faces and tail ends -- the first things you glimpse coming and the last you see going -- car and truck styling is moving toward flat, blunted ends.
Curvaceous butts and warm, extended noses are going the way of the jelly bean and the wedge before that. Today's tailor cut is the ruler straight line.
Blame it on the same driver bedeviling countless other automotive aspects these days: the push for better fuel economy.
"We're at the mercy of aerodynamics," confesses Alfonso Albaisa, global executive design director for Infiniti. "Every inch we move one way or another might cost a mile per gallon."
Albaisa's Infiniti Q30 Concept, a four-door compact that will reach showrooms in 2015, is a case in point. The body flows like silk from front to rear, and then -- snip. It ends as though cut by industrial scissors.
It works. But there's no missing the abrupt ending.
"I think if you asked designers around the industry, they'd actually prefer to have flowing curvy tails and front ends," Albaisa says. "But to meet fuel economy targets, you've got to cut it off to make the air flow easier. That's a very big issue for us all."
But designers being designers, what begins as a harsh engineering parameter quickly sweeps the industry as a fashion.
Click on the gallery above for the flattened fronts and truncated ends of a smattering of new and upcoming vehicles.