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Old 12th June 2011, 10:32   #1
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Default US buyers too fat for small cars

Crazy but true. It appears that in order to save fuel, Americans will have to lose weight!!

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Last edited by John : 12th June 2011 at 10:35.
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Old 12th June 2011, 10:54   #2
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

That is surprising!

Europeans aren't significantly leaner than Americans yet the small car market in Europe is booming.

Americans are just pompous because they have tons of oil and most of the car owners are in the suburbs where car size (parking wise) ain't important.
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Old 12th June 2011, 12:14   #3
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

It's probably also a cultural thing - bigger is better, and hence the hang-up about small cars.
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Old 12th June 2011, 12:59   #4
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

I think Europeans take their fitness very seriously. So although they are tall and well-built, there are no pot-bellies. Does the avg.American take his fitness seriously? I have an impression that America is home to a lot of obese people. So, obviously, they don't fit into small cars. Is that the correct impression or not?
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Old 12th June 2011, 15:17   #5
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarrySky
I think Europeans take their fitness very seriously. So although they are tall and well-built, there are no pot-bellies.
True. Europeans tend to be fitter than Americans. Plus the fact that Europeans are conscious about the environment and don't hesitate to do their bit for it even if it means sacrificing some comfort or snob-value, while with Americans it is the I-me-myself attitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarrySky
I have an impression that America is home to a lot of obese people.
As per the article linked-in to this thread, 40% are obese.
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Old 12th June 2011, 17:36   #6
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

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Last edited by GTO : 13th June 2011 at 10:38.
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Old 12th June 2011, 17:59   #7
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

Well, I think its more to do with the way American's were brought up on a diet of overgrown oversize vehicles. And continue to be.
I recount a conversation I had in the recent past with an American lady.

Me : Well, I dont see too many small cars around these parts.
Lady : What? <looks at me as if I am a bit wonky in the head> Have you seen the roads around here?! God bless my truck!

And the roads around the place in question were perfectly fine , as in nobody would die there just by the virtue of being in a hatchback.
But the same Americans drive small European hatches just fine. Whilst in Europe, I have hitched a ride with a few typical (read :oversized) Americans in their dinky little rented hatchbacks like the Citroen Picasso DS3.
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Old 12th June 2011, 18:13   #8
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

Nice read. I too think it is cultural thing. US culture is - bigger is better.

Would be interesting to know how small cars will penetrate the market.
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Old 12th June 2011, 19:05   #9
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

I think its a systemic thing - in Europe - public transport is the thing. So everyone uses it. Private transport can be quite painful/slow in some parts.

Thus, the average joe in EU will be a bit fitter than the bloke in US
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Old 12th June 2011, 21:30   #10
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

I think it is a good this for two reasons.
1. OEMs will continue to focus on making better engines to lug heavier stuff at same or better MPGs.
2. We will continue to see nice Pick-ups, large SUVs, muscle cars, full-size cars. Some of these breeds will probably die otherwise.
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Old 14th June 2011, 22:07   #11
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

There are a few points here which talks about Americans attitude / They have more oil reserves / obese etc , which is true. Most of the time they can't/won't buy hatchbacks because of their family size and also the weather conditions. It is very hard to drive during snow / sleet. The bigger cars / trucks have more traction as compared to smaller ones. Most of the people here need boot space when they go grocery shopping, bigger the car better the boot space. Gas prices are sky rocketing here too! People are more conscious of better fuel efficiency than ever before.
Cheers!
-Z
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Old 14th June 2011, 22:46   #12
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

One of the reasons nobody talks about is Detroit's problems - the legacy costs due to UAW contracts have been so high (cut recently via GM bankruptcy) that small cars are guaranteed to make losses.

So the big three spend their efforts making and marketing (and creating markets for) large cars and SUVs. This also helps the oil companies make more money (who also get huge subsidies from the govt.).

Add to this "market creation" the perennially low petrol prices up until about 2007 along with the real easy credit availability over two decades till 2008 and you can see why the americans have not been fond of small cars (and by the way they call a Ford Fiesta a small car.)
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Old 14th June 2011, 23:25   #13
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
One of the reasons nobody talks about is Detroit's problems - the legacy costs due to UAW contracts have been so high (cut recently via GM bankruptcy) that small cars are guaranteed to make losses.

So the big three spend their efforts making and marketing (and creating markets for) large cars and SUVs. This also helps the oil companies make more money (who also get huge subsidies from the govt.).

Add to this "market creation" the perennially low petrol prices up until about 2007 along with the real easy credit availability over two decades till 2008 and you can see why the americans have not been fond of small cars (and by the way they call a Ford Fiesta a small car.)
That is because on most countries including most european countries, the Fiesta is a hatchback. And usually a 3dr hatchback to boot. so it is a small car. India is one of those countries where the Fiesta is a saloon.
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Old 14th June 2011, 23:36   #14
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

Petrol prices are traditionally a very very very sensitive point in the US politics, its akin to taxing marginal farmers in India. No one is going to bell that political cat.

A note about the US car market.

Well I hope readers and friends are aware of a fact that one needs a powerful car on US roads and interstates (also known as highways) the average speeds are around 60~80 miles an hour.

More than that one needs a large engined car in the US as coming into the traffic from an entry point into an interstate or highway one needs to rapidly accelerate to 60~70 miles an hour. Smaller vehicles made for a typical Asian market may not cut the requirements of American buyers especially since they have been born and brought up with large cars for every one in the family (mostly non densely urban residents).

Their driving styles are again very different from Europe where cities are traditional and old, (read as having narrow lanes).

Its been their way of life for a very long time now, again its a cultural difference as they have literally zero availability of public transport in most cities and towns of the USA. (excluding metros like NYC, NJ etc).

Again there's a question of safety and convenience in the states hence the preference for cars.

FYI-for motor cycles below a certain cubic capacity, they've banned them on freeways/interstates as such small commuter bikes won't be able to keep pace with traffic on highways.

Its more of a market decision than a physical attribute. The headline is a bit offensive as in the news snippet.

Last edited by mmmjgm : 14th June 2011 at 23:38.
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Old 15th June 2011, 00:04   #15
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Default Re: US buyers too fat for small cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmjgm View Post
Petrol prices are traditionally a very very very sensitive point in the US politics, its akin to taxing marginal farmers in India. No one is going to bell that political cat.

A note about the US car market.

Well I hope readers and friends are aware of a fact that one needs a powerful car on US roads and interstates (also known as highways) the average speeds are around 60~80 miles an hour.

More than that one needs a large engined car in the US as coming into the traffic from an entry point into an interstate or highway one needs to rapidly accelerate to 60~70 miles an hour. Smaller vehicles made for a typical Asian market may not cut the requirements of American buyers especially since they have been born and brought up with large cars for every one in the family (mostly non densely urban residents).

Their driving styles are again very different from Europe where cities are traditional and old, (read as having narrow lanes).

Its been their way of life for a very long time now, again its a cultural difference as they have literally zero availability of public transport in most cities and towns of the USA. (excluding metros like NYC, NJ etc).

Again there's a question of safety and convenience in the states hence the preference for cars.

FYI-for motor cycles below a certain cubic capacity, they've banned them on freeways/interstates as such small commuter bikes won't be able to keep pace with traffic on highways.

Its more of a market decision than a physical attribute. The headline is a bit offensive as in the news snippet.

The things you have written are largely true (though some things are debatable) - what is also true is that they have resulted out of active lobbying efforts from the automakers themselves.

Interstate Highway system for example resulted from lobbying efforts from the car makers and is an indirect subsidy to the automobile industry. Till mid 90s the political mood was (good for GM = good for america). Unlike every other developed nation US does have a comprehensive interstate highway system at federal level but no masterplan for in-city public transportation partly because of lobbying efforts of the automobile industry.

The SUV was an unlikely sight till early 90s, and today non-SUV passenger vehicle is an unlikely sight (unless it is a battered old student-vehicle).

It is a managed-market + political + social decision heavily influenced by gasoline prices - which two of the largest subisidy gatherers in US, automobiles and petroleum industries are not going to let go off easily.


(some points where I disagree): highway speeds are very high in Europe as well (AFAIK there are no "no speed limit limit" highways in US - there are in Europe) - small cars do quite all right on those highways. And while Europican city-centers are old there is nothing old about the cities in general - most look just like suburban america (think New Delhi in general vs. Chandni Chowk)


Anyway, the subject of the thread is total non sense and a bit racist - I agree with you in that.
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