The Automobile Industry Is Not Protected From Following Fads

By Quinton Corne

The automobile industry is just as much controlled by the vagaries of fads and trends as any other. Within the last several years of the new millenium, we have seen some intriguing turns in the culture of cars. In 2002, you would probably have been surprised at how fast the new models could go, even ordinary, budget cars like the Nissan Altima.

It included a 240 horsepower engine, which made it capable of doing speeds way faster than what we knew in the nineties. And already a family car like the Volkswagen Passat boasts a 280 hp engine. For $30,000 you can buy yourself a little Mitsubishi that will embarass a Camaro with its performance. Packing a mercenary 500 horsepower won't elevate a car along the lines of the Dodge Viper to beyond ordinary today. Essentially there are not any longer any vehicles that lack serious power. It seems as if bigger is considered to be better with cars, because every new release is bigger than the previous one. A new Toyota RAV4 happens to be 14 inches longer when compared to the last one, and current Honda Civics, are bigger than the Accords from the past.

A vehicle that is the same or less than before isn't acceptable, it seems, if you have to pay more for it. If they're going to have to shell out the dough, they want their vehicles bigger and better. Bigger, unfortunately, comes packaged with heavier, but the car makers will not stop because of that, as long as consumers keep buying. U.S. vehicle buyers want to pay less money for their gasoline, but they don't want to sacrifice speed to get it. Having to pay more to secure the privilege of speed is preferable, which explains why there is such a long line of people waiting for their hybrid, the Toyota Prius. All this, with the same dealership having loads of Corollas left unsold. Sales of hybrids is so impressive that all auto manufacturers are rushing to follow suit, even to the extent that Nissan will use the system developed by their competitor, Toyota, to bring out their Altima hybrid.

The mundane styling of the 90s is gone, as consumers want cars with personality. Almost all automobiles are now built with power locks and windows as a standard feature, as well as six airbags and powerful stereos. That is most likely the reason behind the average price of $28,000 for that new car you want. The SUV today appears to be bought by silly people, so perhaps we are going back to the days when a car was a car. The most significant decline in sales has been within the bigger SUVs, so maybe it was just a fad whose time has come to an end. Sales of the Ford Explorer and Expedition are reduced, despite the fact that sales of little cars are getting better all the time, even the Sentra and the Neon.

Cars really don't require being as fast as they are, or so big, so the car companies should recognize this and change accordingly. It is still to be seen exactly what the long-term experiences of the hybrids will be. In ten years it will likely be amusing to look back and discover what happened with all of the automotive craziness.

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