Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 10:27.

car convertible personality disorder extension detroit consumerism


Detroit’s auto merchandisers - with the help of their Madison Avenue  car consumption  strategy – has completely lost track of what cars are for:  transportation.
And the buyers of the product have also lost track of reality and purpose.
Loss of reality is the reason that Chrysler, GM and eventually Ford will go out of existence.
And they should.
We – the car consuming public – have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into what is a border line mental illness: we see our car as an extension/expression of our personality.  
That’s pretty sicko.
We giddily spend 10s of thousands of dollars on a piece of gaudy metal and plastic and leather perfume – which as soon as it leaves the car dealer – loses a third of its value.
That’s pretty sicko.
Getting into our car makes us feel good!  It has a cupholder! And Dolby!
When my parents had cars they didn’t have any Dolby.   But they had energy absorbing bumpers which if you backed into a pole in a parking lot sprung back into shape without leaving any damage to the car.   
Detriot engineered that out.   Now back into a pole and it will cost you $3,000.00 in repairs.   Detroit likes that and you have forgotten about the bumpers which existed in the good ole days, haven't you?.
Car manufactures used to talk about how long their particular cars would last. US manufacturers removed that reasonable discussion  years ago.    Maybe you remember the Volvo or Mercedes ads which featured million mile capable cars.   Now we don’t see those ads from Europe imports either.
Instead, our mentality has been made to think it is an expression of our prowess to have a shiny, extravagant brand new car – and that the sooner you leave that car behind, the more alpha you must be.
That’s pretty sicko.
Every Superbowl shows Pick Up trucks spinning their tires through mud holes in the desert. Gotta have one of those tire spinners we are told.
Sporty rag tops spin around corners on California Highway 1.   Gotta have one of those too.   
Almost everything (except airbags and seat belts) about cars which would benefit the user/owner has been stripped out of cars, and in place of sensible, practical, economical environmentally beneficial transportation centric engineering we get “living room” engineering – with big gas guzzling engines.  
That’s pretty sicko.
Now why would Detroit keep building big inefficient V8’s?   Detroit isn’t in collusion with the Oil Cos.   That ‘s being too cynical (jeff, you know what people are saying about you on Realneo!)  
But is it cynical to think that the federal and state highway tax on each gallon of gas is spent to build highways for the cars to roll around on?  And the more gas which is used means more tax for more rolling roads?  And without lots of roads we couldn't keep stuffing more cars out of the factory? Or does the soccer mom really need that V10 (no longer manufactured) in her Ford Excretion?
Detroit and their Madison Ave campaign  have manipulated our psyches and turned us into idiotic lemmings.   And the car manufacturing industry isn’t the only industry that has us acting against our own self interest.  
Can you name a few others?


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  Actually there are five


Actually there are five mile pre hour bumper requirements, isn’t there? Nope guess not?

Isn't desiring a 5000 lb personal transportation vehicle that also reflect our success in life normal? Useing it like a tool to attract a mate? Big or fancy car equates to provider, good provider?

Why a Cadillac, I asked ? He said it is a rich mans car, I said but you are not rich, he said so people will think I am. I said think about that, and you will realize how that will never make you rich, thinking that way.

Hey we need to get around, and we are addicted to cars like a junkie to heroin. It is also highly integrated into the economy. Big time…no exaggeration.

I spent some time on this, Fiat has something to offer to Chrysler but will they get it correct? I doubt it.

You really have to get way into this and look close, because answers exist, but we are not thinking outside of the box that we all are trapped within. Staging out and away is not a problem it is a solution and industry at that.

It is about physics and space and movements. It is about material and time. 

I often wonder why we do not have special vehicles for public service, special made and long lasting and low maintenance? reducing the costs?

The size and the weight of vehicles, were they can go and were they cannot. Managed! There are relationships, the cost of road repair related to weights placed on them. Why do you think they have the concrete slabs at bus stops? They tear up the surfaces when they stop.

All the things that need to be addressed, the financials and the cars showed up at once. Why is that? Limit exceed? If you do not know then we are in trouble aren’t we. Did you like math in school? (things to ask your in making a selection for leader?)

Reduce weights, increase mileage, this all with GPS and data, roads you can go on and ones you cannot. Hubs and transfer stations, intermodal and interactive, not overwhelming but in ways well thought out and planned. Alternatives for those that feel and see value in that, and still allowing some to keep basically the same behavior just in a more moderated way.

Change is generational and beyond our life span often, we loose sight in what one or two generations? Not everyone has the same levels of imagination or vision. They cannot see what was or what will be. Some even have no interest at all and confronting them needs to be done pragmatically or the counterforce to change can and will occur. Some when asked to go left will shift farther to the right and entrench.

The cost of the roads, it

It is not just that, the location and options can be recorded as well your commute and alternative modes and paths. Calculated by or on request for low cost most economical options. Residential and even alternative employment options. The smaller circle, that’s what it is all about.


The vehicle the user license all connected, it used to start the car, fuel the car and also get you on the transit, even pay for your parking. Then it comes all back to you as a statement or report. Average miles, fuel used total costs. If you like, and think you pay to much, you could open that information for analysis for options.

Education does not only happen in school, duh, it happens in an active interactive life. It is about using technology and creating feed back loops. We feed the computers information about us and then it can be used to serve us all better and if we are smart we do it in fun and creative ways.



Super models like small fuel efficient cars!

The cost of the roads, it's very complex in a given area you have all these models and methods. Who is responsible and how it is funded and who does the work? It is not efficient or intelligent by process or design.

Fiat has a computer software that I would expect to see used by Chrysler. Eco: Drive

multi modal "one key" transportation killer app


Hello Oengus,
Below is copy of two paragraphs out of your comment -   The "one transportation KEY" idea you suggest is another great "killer app" for a citizen dashboard.   
This is the sort of idea, that if implemented by NEO, would attact world wide interest.
"The vehicle the user license all connected, it used to start the car, fuel the car and also get you on the transit, even pay for your parking. Then it comes all back to you as a statement or report. Average miles, fuel used total costs. If you like, and think you pay to much, you could open that information for analysis for options.
Education does not only happen in school, duh, it happens in an active interactive life. It is about using technology and creating feed back loops. We feed the computers information about us and then it can be used to serve us all better and if we are smart we do it in fun and creative ways.(robotic parking garage)"
NOTE TO all Realneo users:  if your see other killer apps when you are browsing through Realneo, please make a comment about them and use the words "killer app".   Then, when anyone needs to get a specific list of killer app suggestions, they can do so by typing in "killer app" in the Realneo search box.   Thanks.





There is most definitely a trend in vehicles being more marketing-driven than practicality-driven. You can't have an Escalade without a killer advertising department.

However, it's not at all true that cars used to be more reliable, useful, and safe than they are today (i.e. bumpers that don't cost $3,000? Hardly- the car used to catch fire...) The average 1990 vehicle weighted 2,811lbs, and today its more like 3,100. That additional weight is mostly "features"- Dolby, like you say, but its also new safety equipment. Your chances of dying in a 2009 vehicle are an order of magnitude lower than a 1990 vehicle, and three orders for a 1970 vehicle.

Do I love how new vehicles look and drive, and how they get pushed on me? No. Are they a hell of a lot better than they used to be? Yes. I do like this thought experiment though.

289lbs of safety equipment in newer cars?


Good morning awalleck,
Here is a quote about cars which I often hear and you may recognize:
" I do love how new vehicles look and drive."
I'm not sure who said that (and a lot of people say they like the way new cars "smell"), but I suggest there is a lot of Freudian stuff going on in their head.

Resting the case right here would be reasonable, but let's kick this can a little further.

Please provide the new - over last 2 decades - safety items and their weights which have been added.
Keep in mind that Detroit fought – argued against them before the congress - putting in lap belts for years, and delayed shoulder harness for years.  
Please link me up to rate of deaths in cars/miles traveled for 70's , 90's, 09'  which takes into account highway safety improvements (guard rails, absorbing crash barriers, etc.) as well as automobile safety improvement.
Please also explain why - that before I can see the driver in a VW bug - I can be sure it is a woman between 26 and 39 years old?
And tell me why you (or any commuter) need more than a 4 cylinder engine?
Which older model car caught fire?  I don't think you are suggesting that a new car's $3,000 bumber replacement cost is necessary to keep the car from catching fire - why can't we have a car design which won't catch fire and which also has an energy absorbing bumper which is also damage resistant?
I agree - their have been advances in plastics, injection molding, electronic carburetion, anti-skid brakes, engine metallurgy, crumple zone design, etc.   But these improvements pale in comparison to the consumptive emphasis which manufactures now push.   
NEW MODEL YEAR starts in July. 
Do you remember when there was no new model every year?   Where did that go?


Happy to


Thanks for your response. I'll summarize my thoughts by saying that in a consumer-driven industry like automotive, we shouldn't be surprised when design decisions are made based on return-on-investment criteria rather than society-level efficiency or a larger sense of responsible aesthetics. I don't believe that anyone in the automotive industry would disagree with your points about style over substance. I think the next step in the debate is not to dwell on that fact but to appreciate what meaningful gains have been made in safety, consumer satisfaction, and reliability.

To that end I'm happy to respond to some of your questions, specifically about safety equipment and their weights. Some of your other questions were either hyperbolic or rhetorical so I will leave those for your own research.

Let me just point out quickly that I didn't say there were 289 lbs of new safety equipment. I'll re-tweet my previous quote: "That additional weight is mostly "features"- Dolby, like you say but its also new safety equipment." While weights and features vary widely by manufacturer, model, and year, here are a list of safety features you could expect in an "average" 2009 vehicle that you could not reasonably expect in a similar 1990 vehicle:

  • hydraulic power steering- 50-70lbs+
  • hydraulic power brakes- 30-70lbs
  • Drivers' and passenger airbags, curtain airbags, etc. 20-100lbs (depending on number)
  • ABS- 5-20lbs
  • Traction control devices 5-15 lbs

We're up to ~190, and I've been quite conservative with weights and number of features. 

As someone clearly interested in automotive, I'm surprised you didn't get the catching fire reference- I was talking about the early 1970s versions of the Ford Pinto. Ford neglected to pay for an $11 fix since the cumulative part cost was more than the cost of litigation in the famous "Pinto memo"- you can read more here:

Thanks again for your thoughtful response.



 I want the blue one, you

 I want the blue one, you know I would take the bus to work and or walk, but I want this!   Not for show I want to drive it on country roads by myself!   I do not care if anyone see me!  

0-60 mph 4.9 sec

0-100 mph 12.9 sec

Top speed 150 mph

21 city/27 Highway

Curb weight 1984 lbs

  Sent an email to Chrysler


Sent an email to Chrysler requesting that they seriously consider offering the Panda at Jeep dealers. I suggested that they alter the exterior to make the car look more Jeep like. It has a 1.4 liter 100hp engine, it get outstanding gas mileage.


 This is what I consider a more palitable version for the American Market, but still needs some alterations .    I could be made to look like a miny wrangler. 

Please do not tell me that

Please do not tell me that I cannot have style, people want and will express themselves in everything.

We can do it just in different ways. More efficient ways.

Above is the Alfa Romeo MiTo and gets 35-50MPG depending on the engine selected.    

Fiat's most popular models in Europe