Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Cars. Meh.

The Economist reports on the latest in urban transportation. Meh. Which naturally is a throwback. Specifically, the bubble car.

Bubble cars were built to provide cheap personal transport. Most were two-seaters with just three wheels. They became particularly popular when fuel prices shot up in 1956, during the Suez crisis.

Maybe check with your grandparents on this but....define popular please? Anyone's granddad own a bubble car? Anyone's grandparents know any other grandparents that owned one?

Please. We're just not going to be driving these things.

Would you like to know why? Glad you asked. It's because there simply is not a market for discomfort. Consider this.

The Smart ForTwo's big selling point is going to be fuel economy. For the current version, the company estimates a combined city/highway fuel mileage of about 40 miles per gallon, according to DaimlerChrysler. (The 60 mpg figure sometimes reported is for the diesel-engine version.)

The Toyota Yaris, which seats four and costs thousands less, gets an EPA-estimated 37 miles per gallon.

An even smaller car just isn't going to sell. I'm interested in seeing what it's price point is but honestly, this just seems like a vat of yuppie bullshit. It's a great way to ride around in an expensive status symbol and feel better about yourself.

Bear in mind, I'm not advocating on behalf of gas guzzling behemoths. I find them just as obscene as you do. I'm advocating in favor of solutions. And adorable, boutique cars are not it.

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