November 25th, 2004, 10:10 am

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Speed limiters: I think if we, as a society, agree that we should have a speed limit on our interstates, we should limit our vehicles speed to that limit. It is illegal to drive over the speed limit on any road...why are all our vehicles capable of commiting these illegal acts when they could be limited?

Would the limitors be removed or altered. Of course! Car makers were regulated into making a switch that would not allow you to start your car until the front passengers had buckled their seat belts around the early 1970's. Almost everyone had the switch removed or disabled. Does this mean we shouldn't try?

As for licensing, it is a slippery slope. In the UK I think you need a different license for 4 wheeled vehicles, and different ones according to the size of the engine. Also, their insurance and taxes are designed to encourage small engines that pollute less. Sometimes it works, often times it's just a pain.

I am not in a position to make these public policy decisions though, so it is easy for me to toss ideas out there and NOT worry about execution or the broader social consequences. That's what is fun about discussion boards:)

November 25th, 2004, 10:27 am

pretty interesting discussion guys.

To yo:
In my last post I pretty much suggested what you mentioned: let the customer decide by their choice and not impose what they can or cannot buy. They have a choice between the H2, cayenne, x5, etc and an offroad vehicle that is an offroad monster.....but only goes up to 60mph.......there is your choice.

The whole reasoning behind this is niche markets. certain products only appeal to a small group of the population (and some businesses have become successful in this model) that have a certain interest in the product. in this case an offroad machine that doesnt go too fast would appeal to a certain niche market. why do cars have to appeal to the massive populus?

almost the same as sports cars...except everyone wants one but only a few can afford them....hehehehe

November 28th, 2004, 12:14 pm

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If cars don't appeal to the massive populus, as you call it, then they won't sell. It's that simple.

What I'm not sure of is exactly why the car manufacturers decided to push the SUV in the first place. Yes, it (might have) had the american ideals of freedom, power, independence, et cetera. But there's no reason you couldn't get those in a smaller car. Remember when you got your first car? That was a feeling of freedom, power and independence.

Perhaps - no, undoubtedly - it's related to the gradual obesification of america. I'm sure everyone's noticed how tables, chairs, etc have gotten subtly bigger over the last decades - it's accounting simply for the increase in the average size of the humans who use them. Personally, I feel as if I'm inside a leather-wrapped cave when I'm in an SUV (I'm fairly slim). Or, depending on the car, I can be astonished at how little room there is inside, when the car is so imposing from the outside. It's perfectly possible for car manufacturers to do the opposite; sit in a new Mini, for example (though, really, it's about the same size as a civic hatchback, and it only looks small in comparison to these gargantuan monstrosities that are overrunning our roads).

Oh well. It's the same beef I have with nearly all cars today: increase in size, resulting decrease in engine efficiency; decrease in interior size, resuilting decrease in total efficiency. The big three (and some european companies too) could take a lesson from Lotus...

190HP Toyota 4-cylinder
0-60 in 4.7sec
top speed 150mph (really, cars could be limited to 120 and it wouldn't make a big difference)

The Elise accelerates faster than a Porsche Carerra S or 911 Turbo (with tiptronic), costs 1/3 of the 911 Turbo and gets 50% better gas mileage, on an engine with about half the horsepower, all thanks to WEIGHT REDUCTION. It carries two *healthy* people just fine, and has a tiny bit of storage space - just enough for your box of donuts or what have you.

I'm not trying to plug the Elise as a commuter car (ha ha ha), but merely pointing out that it is reasonable to expect more from the car manufacturers than they're doing, especially in the realm of increased efficiency.

It's not possible, unfortunately, to expect more from the public. All they'll do is emulate celebrities. Until we get more of them on hybrids, the public will keep emulating rappers with lowered, mink-fur-upholstered, diamond-encrusted H2s. What a load of crap.
CUSID class of 2008

November 28th, 2004, 12:47 pm

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Arclight wrote:If cars don't appeal to the massive populus, as you call it, then they won't sell. It's that simple.

What I'm not sure of is exactly why the car manufacturers decided to push the SUV in the first place.
I think you had it right in the first sentence. In this case I don't think the companies are as much the "pushers" but more the facilitators. These vehicles where appropriated by consumers starting back in the late 70's early 80's, when passenger cars took a big diet after the fuel crisis in the 70's. Back then the only SUV's with any sense of "Luxury" or Status, where the Range Rover, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Land Cruiser, followed by a way distant fourth, an optioned out Chevy Suburban (I think that vehicle's history stretche way back to the early 70's and it was always the same size!).

Really it's amazing that it took the car companies almost 20 years to catch on to what people where doing with these vehicle as it wasn't until the 90's that we started to see SUV's developed only for on-road luxury purposes, like the Lexus RX.

Don't get me wrong I'm with you. My daily commuter is a Toyota MR2 Spyder, and my wife drives a Matrix. We are just in the minority of what consumers wish to purchase. That's why the MR2 has been canceled, that's why it took a decade to get the Lotus Elise over in the states.

November 28th, 2004, 9:46 pm

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The SUV craze was partly because of what the big three made well. That is body-on-frame vehicles with cave man suspension and thirsty engines...all permited by law on vehicles that might be used on a farm.

Interestingly the big three faught the first maker to use this niche, Volkswagen. VW used their Thing to sell the outdated Beetle technology, but the Big Three forced the government to change the rules, thus killing off the Thing.

Ford seemed to catch the trend that Yo refers to earlier than the rest. They started marketing the Bronco pretty hard as a family vehicle in the '80's. They built on the Bronco to eventually re-gain alot of the ground they had lost to GM since the '30's.

January 6th, 2005, 2:11 pm

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ML wrote:SUV's offer the sense of safety that many small cars lack. It is the whole I am bigger than you mentality.
But it's only a feeling. A sense of safety. True, when smashin into a smaller car you will win. It's a matter of size and the fact that an SUV hits a smaller car above the zones of the car that are meant to absorb the impact. The problem with SUVs is that due to their higer center of gravity they don't have as good road handling as a normal car. SUVs are more prone to single car accidents.