Car-n’t believe it!

Two rants today of an automotive nature.

#1. Fog/driving lights are not needed all the time!

I am utterly sick of people who believe they need their fog lights on all the time. It is annoying enough on a saloon (sedan) but when some redneck has decided that the only way to ensure their road presence is to raise their already monstrous pickup truck another eight inches on a lifted suspension, and then sling four driving lights on the grill. Since the grill is now about level with the spoiler on the boot (trunk) of my car, it means no matter where I set my mirror I will be blinded by all four fog lights, plus his main beams will be aiming somewhere over my head dazzling the car in front. We know you’re there, the retarded big bore exhaust and 10 litre V8 are making enough noise to wake the dead and your mud plugging off road tyres are deafening me with road noise. You do not need more lights than a 747 on approach to get noticed, we can already see what a complete cretin you are without them.

While we’re on the topic of cretins, I know it is a status symbol to buy “European” cars. The Mercedes and Range Rovers look great in the office parking lot, but read the bloody manual. When you turn on the fog lights on most European cars it also turns on a high visibility red tail light, also called a “FOG LIGHT”!!! This means not only do you dazzle me when you are behind me, but when I pull over to let your dazzling stupidity by, I’m still dazzled by this bright red light you are completely unaware of. It makes life extra interesting as I seem to be the only person on the road who checks that their brake lights function on a regular basis, so when the only functioning brake light is obscured by the high viz rear fog light, it is damn near impossible to tell when you’ve decided to drop anchor prior to making that turn without signalling.

Yes, I am a pissed off driver of a small sportscar, hear me roar!

#2. Is the American automotive industry out of touch with reality?

Things are already pretty bad for the American car industry, here are some of the reasons:

  • High fuel prices make those large engines that give less than 15 miles per gallon really unappealing.
  • All these foreign imports with great design, low prices, and high quality are really hitting sales of these large, glued together with crazy glue, plastic and metal monstrosities.
  • There aren’t any decent US hybrid cars and the US Government has made it legal for Hybrid cars to run on the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of number of occupants, making them tempting to commuters.

There is always room to make matters worse though, and so that is why Chrysler’s chief economist Van Jolissaint made an announcement attacking Europe’s attitude to global warming, describing climate change as “way, way in the future, with a high degree of uncertainty”.
You can read a transcript of his comments courtesy of BBC News: Chrysler chief economist on climate change

You can also read the BBC News report on his comments: Chrysler questions climate change
I had to laugh out load when he originally made these comments, but it gets funnier still when you read the response from Daimler Chrysler’s press office as they rapidly retract Van Jolissaint’s statement and demand that the BBC retract their story. You can read the Chrysler response via their press portal: DaimlerChrysler Statement Concerning BBC Report on Global Climate Change

It doesn’t matter what they claim, while the American automotive industry continues to build dinosaurs of gas guzzling proportions they will continue to lose market in an increasingly environmentally and economically aware world.

Read both sides of the arguement, and watch the fall out continue over the coming days.

I’d like to point out that I drive a small sportscar. It is a sprightly 16 years old. Has two seats, so when I commute my vehicle is 50% occupied. It has a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine that provides great drivable fun and also 29mpg in the stop go traffic of my commute. Compare that to the 17-20mpg of Chrysler’s sporty Crossfire!

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