I took a music history course in college as a free elective, and one of the things the professor talked about was how a musical style becomes "mannered" at the end of it's life cycle; that is, the common themes of the style are developed to their highest level of complexity. The Baroque period (Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, etc) emphasizes complex, interwoven melodies. The subsequent Classical period has more of an emphasis on simpler melodies supported by the orchestration. This idea of mannerism is also common in the visual arts and architecture.
In the last couple of years, we have seen many brands come to adopt some form or other of "fluidic" design language, garish LED daytime running lights, starship interiors, and some pretty funky wheel designs. I feel like the 50's were somewhat like this as well, with tailfins coming to prominence. Things got simpler as the years went on, and in the 80's, most mainstream cars were pretty boxy. Then "jellybean" cars came in the 90's, and now we are seeing the mannerism of these designs with Hyundai's and the Bangle BMW's.
So are we going to swing back to simpler designs some time soon? What say you, TCL?
TL;DR - In art, things usually get more complex before they get simpler. Does the same go for automotive design?
Baroque/Rococo (highly ornamented, eye catching, complex) (1712)
Classical/Palladian (little ornamentation, simple elegant shapes) (1772)