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Car safety - or propaganda?

2006-01-31 11:14

John Oxley

The US car market is in total disarray, with both Ford and General Motors busy with huge restructuring which will see plants closed and jobs lost.

The main reason is that the US motor manufacturers have had a long and continuous love affair with big cars - and more recently with big SUVs and 4x4s - which turned topsy-turvy when petrol prices rocketed last year.

So what do they do?

Well, we're already seeing see a massive switch to smaller vehicles in the States as motorists realise that big isn't always better, and that it's certainly more costly when it comes to daily transport.

At the same time the US car companies are still committed to domestic models which are larger, heavier, and less fuel efficient, while the small cars are mainly imported.

For example, here's a typical US PR release just received:

"Many customers demand the kind of capability for hauling people and cargo that can only come from a full-size SUV. The new 2007 Ford Expedition and all-new Expedition EL extended length model deliver with a fresh design and best-ever capability and comfort developed specifically for those core SUV customers."

Goes completely against common sense and world trends, but what can they do? They HAVE to sell these big cars.

You've got it - knock small, cost-efficient and fuel-efficient cars!

Yes, the Americans have produced a report which claims more people are hurt in small cars than in big cars, and more in cars than in SUVs.

Notwithstanding another report at the end of last year that claimed the opposite, the American propaganda machine has swung into full force in, I believe, an attempt to scare Americans - who have a long history of paranoia about their personal safety - into returning to big cars the world can't afford.

"You can't beat the laws of physics", says one "expert", citing the obvious that a small car is going to come off second best against a big one.

However, when you read the story you notice that the percentage difference between the small cars and big SUVs is quite small. And no actual numbers are quoted. Makes you think...

The fact is that if there weren't so many behemoths on US roads, smaller cars wouldn't be driven over by machines that at best can be described as selfish, and at worst socially unacceptable.

America produces most of the world's greenhouse gases, and it's time something was done to cut down if the world is going to survive.

Hopefully weak attempts like this one to reverse a trend towards less thirsty and less-polluting vehicles will fall on barren ground.


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