07 June 2007

Keeping cars simple

Little cars

When we lived in New Mexico I had a company vehicle which was always a large comfortable four door sedan. On the roads around that state a sedan was still dwarfed by the majority of vehicles which were oversized SUVs and pick-up trucks. In a state with a lot of rural areas and farming/ranching these vehicle would be needed except that most of these I saw appeared that they had never seen the dust of an unpaved road, they were simply the latest version of the “mini-van” for taking Junior to his latest activity.
Here in Italy we have a 2 door Ford Fiesta which is about an average size vehicle for this area (a VW Bug is bigger). Considering that many of the hill towns have streets barely wide enough for this vehicle to fit through anything bigger just seems wrong. This is the land of the Fiat 500, three wheeled Ape and Vespa scooter. There are also some vehicles that have engines no bigger than a motorcycle and use a motorcycle license plate.

With the price of unleaded gasoline around $7.00 a gallon I have little sympathy when I see stories in the US bemoaning about gas prices approaching $4.00 a gallon. Pump prices closer to $7.00 a gallon might create some changes in the automobile market in the US…in my opinion.

This is not to say that we do not see large vehicles in Italy. Any trip on the autostrada will have you maneuvering around the tandem trailer trucks and being passed by Mercedes, Audio, Alfa Romeo and other sedans. You will also spot some Chrysler products like Jeep Cherokees and Voyager vans as well as other “small” SUVs. We even saw a Hummer H1 once on the outskirts of Rome – where would you go with something that big in Italy! Whenever we see one of these vehicles we just shake our heads, that is just wrong.

But then this is also the land of Ferrari and Lamborghini and where speed limits seem to be considered merely a suggestion.


Anonymous said...

I am all for keeping the cars simple. They need to get more automatics in that country.

Bryan said...

An automatic takes the fun out of driving all of the curves on the mountain roads. I learned to drive on a stick so I enjoy driving a manual, unless of course there is a back-up on the A14.