Car Companies Working on Bigger Cars for Fat Drivers
Don’t worry if your waistline is expanding, because pretty soon, your luxury vehicle will expand with it.
Over the last several decades, automakers have had to make cars wider to accommodate the growing heftiness of their customer base, but now, luxury car manufacturers are road-testing the latest fat adaptations of vehicles in a detailed process some are calling “plump my ride.”
Just in the last week, BMW has put unnamed volunteers through tests to study how easy it is for them to get in and out of vehicles, as well as how much difficulty they have turning to look over their shoulders while backing up or changing lanes.
Ralf Kaiser, a member of BMW’s ergonomics team said, “People are getting more obese and we want to find out how that limits their range of motion and how our vehicles can adapt to the changing needs of our customers.”
Other manufacturers making alterations for larger drivers include Mercedes, which has unveiled plans to strengthen the grab handles above its doors. Porsche is now installing “electrically-powered steering columns” to allow bigger drivers to make more room while the car is not on and Honda, which has widened its seats by up to two inches and added buttons that will allow for ease of use for those with so-called “sausage fingers.”
With more than one-third of adults in the US classified as obese, BMW’s Kaiser claims, “The study will mean we can look at things more scientifically and build a car that at least 95 percent of people can use.”