- by Atul H. Patel, Editor-in-Chief
The world is full of ironies and the automotive industry is no exception. Over the years as I've observed the industry, I've noticed lots of things that didn't make sense, and nobody else was writing about them. So I have taken it upon myself to mention these so that you can comment on them.
- Manual transmissions are more popular in areas of the world where traffic is more congested. - Within the U.S. manual trannies are more popular on the east and west coasts where traffic can be horrendous. You'd think drivers would change to automatics since they might get tired of clutching and shifting while inching along at 3 to 10 mph. In middle America, the open roads have drivers who prefer automatics.
- Roof racks are almost always put on stationwagons and SUV's which have more cargo room than sedans. - Since the box in the back has so much room, you'd think the cargo rack would rarely get used. If you think about it, sedans need roof racks more since they have less space for stuff inside. But, that's not the case. And roof racks create unnecessary aerodynamic drag, thereby further decreasing fuel economy.
- The decklids on some sedans are becoming shorter, approaching hatchback decklid length. - Most car buyers in the U.S. feel that hatchbacks are "unbuyable" but some of the sexiest looking cars have really short decklids. This makes the trunk less acceptable and it also makes the car look more like a hatchback. The Scion tC takes the opposite approach. It's a hatchback that pretends to look like a notchback coupe.
- Some sports cars get worse fuel economy than SUV's, but little of the scrutiny. - Lamborghinis, Ferraris, even souped up Audis and BMW's get really poor fuel economy, lower than some SUV's yet, people tend to criticize only the SUV's. Sure SUV's obstruct your viewpoint and roll over more, but environmentally speaking, a 600 horsepower super car is just as irresponsible as a large SUV. And a large SUV might actually be used for its people or cargo-carrying capability.
I don't know how many others have noticed these peculiarities, but we would be interested to know your thoughts. I may write more about each of these topics individually in the future, especially if we see comments about them.