In the effort to keep us buying cars, automakers constantly offer us "new" models. Now cars don't change all that dramatically from year to year. How to reconcile that with the need to persuade us that they are "new"? Here's how: Make some essentially cosmetic exterior changes, make out that this is what the world has been waiting for to make driving a safer/happier/more exciting experience, and give it all a fancy name.
Do that, and a famously uncritical automotive press will lap up this stuff and throw it at us customers. Doing our bit, we'll run out and buy. Those fancy names become household terms.
Examples? A few years ago, carmakers began offering us "clear-lens" headlights, which were the greatest thing since, I don't know, steering wheels on cars. I mean, what were they telling us? That until then they had been giving us cars with "not-so-clear-lens" headlights, maybe even "opaque" headlights?
Then someone hit upon "meteor-shower" taillights, and suddenly every car had to have them, and every article about cars mentioned them. When I was looking to buy a car in 2004, every car salesman mentioned, with grave passion, their cars' "meteor-shower" taillights. As far as I can tell, all this means is that the taillights have a few thousand little dots. Easy to see, we heard, which only begs the question: were the previous taillights, whatever shower they were, difficult to see?
And now Honda's "new" City comes with ... drum roll please ... an "Arrow-shot form".
That's right. I've already seen this delightful new phrase in plenty of ads and reports. For example Autopundit's report, where I also learn that this "unique" design gives the car "a powerful and imposing presence."
Don't I want that.
As far as I can tell, the "arrow-shot form" refers to three horizontal bits of chrome that make up the grill of the City. Well, that makes it "new" right enough. Go buy!
Incidentally, with all this hoopla, there remains some doubt about whether this "new" model is really just that, a model. Meaning, a toy. In that report I linked to above, you will read that the "new City offers a 15 inch wheelbase".
That's about as long as your forearm. Think of a car that big, "arrow-shot form" and all, dinkying down the road. "Powerful and imposing presence", they said.
And lest you think this is a typo found only in this one instance of the automotive press, check The Auto Channel. Or the Economic Times. Or Zimbio. Or I Love India. Or domain-b.com. (And there are more).
All slightly different writeups, all mention the "arrow-shot form", all mention the 15 inch wheelbase. See what I mean about the uncritical automotive press?
But never mind all that. Go buy the City, won't you? Because other reports about it mention its "Eagle Eye", and I want to know about that. Don't you?
Check an earlier ode to Honda.
Check an even earlier discussion of audio cable that none of us can do without.
And finally, please definitely check Story of Stuff.