Improving Pedestrian Safety
I have a simpler and cheaper way to reduce pedestrian deaths in the European Union (see WAW — June '04, pp. 36-39): Require all pedestrians to wear helmets. Because nearly 80% of the fatalities are due to head injury, nearly 80% of the 7,000 pedestrians killed each year in the EU could be saved by wearing a helmet. Is this any more ridiculous than requiring car buyers to spend an extra $6,135 at the dealership?
Once again, governments deem themselves “smarter than the average bear” and eventually will force auto makers to assume the responsibility of pedestrian survival. Don't European parents teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the street?
I am very curious how the future A-pillar will be designed. It will need to keep a 2-ton (1.8-t) vehicle's roof from collapsing during a rollover, yet somehow crumple if a small human hits it. Good luck!
How about instead we educate the general population on situational awareness and personal responsibility?
Arpad R. Miklos PVE
Farmington Hills, MI
With over 60,000 deer-car accidents in Michigan every year, there will be a lot more deer in the field for the hunters if this type of pedestrian-safety regulation becomes a fact in the U.S.
Paul D. Wilczynski
Insight Stylistically Challenged
Maybe the reason the Honda Insight sales are down 52% (see WAW — June '04, p.5) is because it is so damn ugly, like the Pontiac Aztek. Fender skirts belong on a '57 Ford Fairlane or a '58 Chevy Impala.
Senior Packaging/Release Engineer
Federal-Mogul Wiper Products
Michigan City, IN
Saab Badge Tarnished
When General Motors bought into Saab cars, I had hoped it would do as Ford has done with Jaguar and Aston-Martin, which is to financially “shore up” the operations and improve production efficiency, while keeping the character of the brands (see WAW — June '04, p.11).
Unfortunately, GM has, instead, turned Saab into another “badge engineered” brand with little resemblance to the Saab that we know, and that some people love. The Opel-based 9-3 is sort of a Saab, except for the lack of a hatchback body, but the 9-2 “Saabaru” and the 9-7 “SaaBlazer?”
Everyone knows these are not Saabs, and there is no reason for their existence. Most Saab dealers are already multi-brand operations, so they don't need these brand-engineered products to “fill out” their offerings.
C. B. Gerhart
Delphi-E Technician, retired
Twin-Turbo Not New
In your May issue regarding BMW's twin-turbo diesel 3L (see WAW — May '04, p.37), it is stated that the “2-stage turbo is the first application for a production-vehicle engine.”
While there's no doubt the BMW benefits from 10 years of electronic advances, the 3rd-generation Mazda RX-7 also possessed two sequential turbos, operating in a very similar (perhaps even identical) fashion. If memory serves, there was, of course, also the Porsche 959, but let's keep things to “mass” production.
Newport Beach, CA
The BMW turbodiesel technology is impressive, but I don't believe it is accurate to say this is the “first application for a production-vehicle engine” of 2-stage turbocharging. It may be a first for passenger cars, but Caterpillar is currently using 2-stage turbocharging on all of its large displacement EPA-certified heavy-duty truck engines (C11, C13, C15).
Two-stage turbocharging is part of their “ACERT Technology,” which they utilize to meet 2004 emissions standards. Thanks for the technological focus on new automotive developments, as it is appreciated by those involved in engineering.
Want to e-mail us a letter? Please send to [email protected]