Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thoughts on cars and "standard" options

When we bought our car, I noticed it has a very interesting option. It's an option that I've never seen in a car in the US. I don't really think it exists in the US (probably because there isn't much need). In our fine bean-mobile, you push a button on the driver's side door and the mirrors fold in automatically. Now, this was brought into my consciousness when I saw someone parked down near the first circle on those tight streets with people parked on both side (up on the curb no less) who didn't put their mirrors in. Then I realized that it was an American-made care and the mirrors don't even fold in at all (only American cars I imagine would not fold in at all). It got me to thinking about this nice little button that I use ALL the time now. I can hardly imagine being without it. And yet, 9 months ago I couldn't even imagine such an option or the need for it.

What may surprise you about this is that we have the same situation in the US. When we went car shopping in Iowa, we looked at a car that was considered the "base model" (cheapest, stripped down model). It had heated seats. Okay, now growing up in Alabama, I would never have thought of getting seats that are heated. Why would you? But, in Iowa this makes perfect sense given the harsh winters. Likewise in Alabama, it would be nearly impossible to sell a car without air conditioning. Literally they sit on the lot for ages and ages until some poor underpaid school teacher comes to find the cheapest car there is (I know this because I had a teacher explain all the things that made his car cheap so he could afford it). In Iowa, air conditioning is truly an option. So even in the US, regional differences determine what dealers order as their base model. But one thing that's fairly standard these days is that it's hard to find a manual transmission (or stick shift, as we call them). I noticed a new-ish car in front of me today on a hill with the typical backward roll when changing gears to start going again and thought that in the US they would have had to search long and hard to find such a car. It's interesting how different market needs determine the offerings available. A principle that we can all learn from...

Happy options!


At 8:28 AM , Blogger 7aki Fadi said...

my car mirrors fold , i live in Canada


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