5.11.2017

The auto industry is messed up. Here's why.

Here I am going to talk about transportation. The transportation system of the United States. And why it's so messed up. And cool, but mostly messed up.

I don't want to bog myself down by making this a carefully outlined argument to send to the senate. Let's take it as more of a rant.

So first: The car industry is based on a balance. There are different wants and "needs", which all vary right down to the individual car owner. But for the sake of argument and the entertainment derived from setting stereotypes, we will divide these desires into two main camps of thought: The commuters and the adrenaline junkies.

The commuters are the people who want cars to be fuel efficient, "safe", and reasonably good-looking and stylish. Might as well make it pretty if it needn't be ugly.

And the adrenaline junkies are the members of that circle of tribes that desires cars that drive fast, crank up large amounts of horsepower, and look maniacally cool.

 They also want lots of load-carrying capacity and power, racing performance, or off-road capabilities, depending on the type of vehicle they're looking at. And what tribe they belong to.

In other words, the industry is driven by the status quo and the desire for speed rather than point A to point B transportation. That's why the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has been conceived. A 700 (estimate) horse-power tank. My family's Honda CRV runs at wimpish-in-comparison, 160HP. If you have a large family and need a large vehicle, cool.

But there are few reasons/excuses that you would ever need 700 horsepower. The new Dodge Challenger Demon muscle car, is a drag-racing monster with a landmark 840HP. To me, a muscle car with that much horsepower makes sense. Muscle cars are toys. They don't play-act as people-movers. But an SUV?

And I'm not saying I don't like performance and looks. I love high-caliber cars and the Dodge Challenger is one of my favorite cars, if not my favorite outright.

But the point is, that in an industry driven by such frivolous ideals and values, the result is that most people are handling vehicles that cost more than they should and harbor a destructive potential that is higher than it should be as a result of their excess weight and power.

I would doubt that anyone paying the full MSRP of the nuclear-powered Cherokee is going to get that money back in terms of their experience with the vehicle.

If they lead a lifestyle similar to James Bond and need those ponies to escape their safe house in Peru and whisk their HVT (high-value target) families away to a seaplane base before the GIGN gets them, navigate the perilous cliffs, shoulder the twenty-millimeter chain gun that Nick Fury installed in the moon roof and support all the Kevlar, steel, and composite armor mounted in the vehicle frame to protect them from hordes of Kalashnikov-waving militants, then they're getting their dollar's worth!

But then there's the typical American family. Jenny needs to get to the store. She needs to get to the store, acquire about, eh, give-or-take 50-70 pounds of groceries and get back home without hurting herself, other people, or Timmy and Hunter sitting in the back seat playing games and listening to Fallout Boy on their Ipads.

Does Jenny need 700 horsepower? No. You know why? The PanzerKampfWagen VI, better known as the Tiger I tank, was one of the most fearsome tanks in WWII. It weighed 121,255 pounds, had steel armor one-hundred and ten millimeters thick, and carried a gun (using ammunition that probably weighed around thirty-pounds per round) that could destroy almost any other tank in the world at that time. And the horsepower? Yep, right around seven-hundred.

Now granted, the Tiger was a typical German contraption that was over-engineered and couldn't move around too well on the dance floor, but it danced well enough to still be a pretty effective tank. I would say tank combat is more about shooting than moving anyway. But the point remains that Jenny's Cherokee doesn't need the eye of the tiger.

And then there is this new freak of technology. The self-driving automobile. Some love it, some hate it, some just heard about it on the news and they just move on with their lives. I'll say right off the bat that I love it. I like driving, and controlling vehicles (from a golf cart to a lawnmower) is something I've always enjoyed.

I don't want completely autonomous vehicles that allow you no control whatsoever. But I want vehicles that would give you the option of that.

The main complaint that most people level against the SDA (or at least the one I've heard the most) is that they are unsafe and they don't trust them. But I think that is silly. Crashes are going to happen. But with SDAs I think they will happen less.

Would you rather share roads with vehicles commanded by human individuals (under varying states of emotion, stress, and physical and mental capability) or with cars controlled by singular robotic minds that have nothing on their minds than watching the roads and avoiding objects that could cause an accident?

The technology is quite sophisticated right where it is at now, and I would assume it only gets better from here on out.

I also believe electric cars are the future, since electricity appears to be a very renewable energy source, and one that doesn't give off pollutants. Now I don't buy into any of the liberal lunacy about global warming, but there certainly isn't anything wrong with keeping the air we breathe as pure as reasonably possible.

The lessening of vehicle noise is also another benefit, but electric cars certainly don't have the ferocity that is desired in the performance/looks camp and I understand that.

But at least in terms of general transportation, the electric car is a great idea. And even though you might not get fire-breathers like the Dodge Demon, there has been some very slick and impressive sports cars built to harness this new force.

And hopefully a production electric muscle car will come around soon (if it hasn't already).

And then finally: My opinion on the public education system's role in training new drivers. It's not good. The money we spend on it is not worth it. I have not done driver's ed.

But my sister has.

 According to her, there was very little that she learned in the classroom that she didn't learn from driving with her parents. In other words, it was hundreds of dollars spent simply because the law required it.


The problem is that people are not responsible.

Back in the old days, kids were taught how to drive by their parents. It was a skill everyone learned and they simply passed it down to their children.

For the most part, driving is little more than basic rules and common sense. If you are a responsible and sensible person, you would simply get the basics from your parents, do a little light reading about how the roads work, and then carefully start applying those in real-world situations. No dollars down.

 If Billy Ray Duncan grows up without his parents instilling discipline and a sense of responsibility, then he will be a dangerous driver, regardless of what schooling he gets.

It's not so much about what you know, but whether you have the mindset to be a safe driver in the first place.

So that is my rant on the state of American roads. If you are worked up, don't be. North Korea's probably going to nuke us anyway.
Hope you had fun reading this!



4 comments:

  1. Nice article But I must give a small counterpoint to your arguments against the "nuclear-powered" Track Hawk. It's name alone promotes the fact that is was never intended to be just an SUV, as this article here points out, http://www.autoblog.com/2017/04/12/jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-beats-dodge-demon/ the jeep houses more power than a corvette stinray, and perfoms fairly well on the track(a place the demon would likly suffer). It is just as much a muscle car as the Demon, just with more capacity and less cool factor. The person who would buy the trackhawk would would be a well to do family man looking at 2 choices, either go buy an SUV for his family and a sports car for his track days and goofing off(but which will sit in the garage doing absolutely nothing 90% of the time) or merge the two investments and Buy an SUV which will not only fill both those shoes, but also save money and probably appreciate in value.
    Also I would argue that an electric muscle car already exists, The Tesla Model S P100D was the fastest production non-supercar in existence, till the doge demon appeared(which is technically only arguably faster.) If you look at what a muscle car is, they are basically hopped up sedans/compact cars with wicked styling. The only thing the tesla lacks is the aforementioned styling. also, Eventually I think people will come to like the whine and whir of electric vehicles just as much as the earthshaking roar of the combustion engine, though I know many would beg to differ.
    Oh man I agree with you about drivers ED, Luckily my school paid for it for me but yah it was basically useless, just wait till ur 18 and don't need it(unless you really wanna drive). N LOL I would worry to much about NK NK'ing us they are all bark and no bite.
    And like I said B4 NIce article.

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  2. I skimmed over that article a bit, and that is a very good point. I'm liking the TrackHawk a bit more than I did before. I really like the Tesla cars, but yes, they don't have muscle car styling. I would imagine that with all the advanced technology, maybe they could create electric cars with special amplifiers and other cool stuff that could make really amazing sounds. That would be cool.

    I want to drive, but yeah, I should really save the money.

    Trump will probably nuke 'em first.

    Thanks for commenting, those were some really good points.

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  3. I completely agree with your view on Driver's Ed. I recently made a short visit to America and I was shocked at how much worse the traffic became as you crossed the border.

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    1. I know, I have a love/hate relationship with my country.

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Keep it clean; don't be mean.