© Norman Sperling, July 17, 2012
The vast majority of cars are styled to look fast and strong. A lot of customers seem to want that.
But hardly all. I'm scarcely alone in preferring safety and economy. To stay safe requires NOT using too much speed. To stay economical (and comfortable and eco-friendly) requires low consumption, which implies slow delta-V.
How different are the wind-resistance profiles of a car that runs 2/3 of its mileage <30 mph (and never above 65) compared to a car that runs 2/3 of its mileage >60 mph?
I can't think of a single car marketed for us. (Maybe I just didn't notice them?) One that won't go above 80 mph. One that looks calm, not fast.
And one that won't turn heads. Cars attract attention because they are usually status symbols. But there can be good reasons to avoid attention. Security, certainly. Minimizing traffic stops. Blending into the crowd.
What's the least-catchy color: the least ticketed, least stolen, least burgled? I guess beige. What's the least-catchy shape? The car-maker who offers those will attract the notice of a significant percentage of drivers who don't want to attract notice.
This certainly wouldn't be the first time that car companies missed an important market segment. Luxury SUVs were unknown 25 years ago, with Jeeps and Land Rovers assuming users were rugged back-country outdoorsmen. But the best-furnished Jeep caught on, so somebody made an even classier one. That sold better, so they duded up more and more, and eventually made opulent luxury SUVs. This had been beyond the companies' imagination; the market had to lead them there step by step over many years.
I'm not the only customer who would buy a car closer to my needs, farther from stylists' and corporations' imaginings, if only I could.