I don’t really like them.
True, cars gave us our freedom ala Jack’s “on the road” and I can’t pretend like I would have wanted to walk those 10km in the snow every morning to get to school. So yes, it’s unfair for me to say that I don’t care about cars, especially when the auto industry makes up about 4% of the US economy and directly and indirectly employs one out of every seven Canadians or so.
The industry as we know it though is failing. And (I can see some comments coming…) rightly so – they have failed to keep up with the changing times… I don’t care to go into too much detail about the auto industry bailout (enough news out there for you!), but you can see where I stand on the issue.
What does this mean though? It’s clear that the auto industry needs to revamp itself, but where do we go from here?
We have a few options worth exploring.
Cheap, lightweight, fuel efficient cars. i.e. THE NANO CAR
Shumaucher was right: small is beautiful (although he may be rolling in his grave with this one). The Tata Nano car, released almost a year ago will be the world’s cheapest car on the market – made out of lightweight composites that click together to form the body – and better yet can be shipped in “kits” to be made by local entrepreneurs), has lower emissions than the average Volkswagen and high fuel efficiency.
This is however, a double edged sword… having such a cheap car will boost the Indian car market by 65% (now stretch that thinking to the global market…). Fuel efficiency aside, great, exactly what we need BILLIONS of new cars on the road! This means more roads, parking lots, garages, and so forth – quite an unsustainable package at the end of the day.
But, we had this discussion in a class though and again I was sitting on the fence and arguing on both sides (as I often do on my own…) Who am I to tell some person who is just moving up in the world to stay on their bike? Excuse me, can you please strap your 2 children on your back and bring them to school on your bike? Thanks! There are some things that are quite hard to argue… especially when you’re living quite well on this side of the world.
So, even though I disagree with cars, Tata has done an impressive job in INNOVATING a new kind of “green” car. If one of the big three had done this we would have been hailing them as revolutionaries in the industry. But they didn’t. They marketed SUVs during that development time…
*** Check out the comments on this one. Hendrik and I have started some good stuff – would love to have your opinions!
Another possibility? (yeah, plenty).
Next post: A Better Place with Car 2.0
I would keep writing but I need to start studying for MY LAST EXAM EVER! Wow, can’t believe this program is coming to an end soon… will discuss what it is that I’m doing with my life at some point on here.