Should car manufacturers be obliged to make cars for obese people?

Should car manufacturers be obliged to make cars for obese people?

We quite often get American cars to test, namely Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. You know they’re designed for the American market because the seats are huge and the doors open 90 degrees. It’s obvious that the demand for cars that will accommodate the ‘big boned’ is going to keep increasing, unless America reverts to communism and its inhabitants are forced to work on collective farms and eat rations.

While ours is not the place to judge, we can at least speculate…like surely a car with a 350-pound occupant sitting on one side is going to be considerably unbalanced compared to a car with a 100-pound occupant. But that’s all academic if you can’t actually get behind the wheel safely. Consider this story we found on the interweb. It’s a complaint laid against Hyundai (complete with spelling errors as printed):

“WE PURCHASED A BRAND NEW 2000 HYUNDAI SONATA. PRIOR TO PURCHASE WE NOTICED THAT MY SON, WHO WEIGHS 350 LBS. COULD NOT GET EITHER OF THE REAR PASSENGER SEAT BELTS TO LATCH AND THE ONLY WAY THE FRONT SEAT BELT WOULD LATCH IS IF THE SEAT WAS TILTED BACK AND SLIDE ALL THE WAY BACK, EVEN AT THAT THE SEAT /SHOULDER HARNESS WOULD PRESS DEEPLY INTO HIS BODY MAKING IT VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. WE ASKED IF FACTORY SEAT BELT EXTENSIONS WERE AVAILABLE. THEY STATED THAT THE PARTS DEPARTMENT HAD THEM BUT THEY WERE CLOSED (WE BOUGHT THE CAR ON A SATURADY AFTERNOON). THEY SAID WE COULD PICK THEM UP ON MONDAY. WE CONTACTED THE DEALER ON MONDAY AND WERE TOLD THAT THE PARTS DEPARTMENT DIDN’T HAVE THEM AND WOULD HAVE TO GET THEM FROM HYUNDAI. WE AGAIN CONTACTED THE DEALER ON TUESDAY AND THEY SAID THAT HYUNDAI NO LONGER PROVIDED SEAT BELT EXTENSIONS BECAUSE OF NUMEREOUS LIABILITIES SUITS THAT HAVE BEEN FILE DUE TO THEIR FAILURE. THEY STATED THAT THEY WOULD RESEARCH OTHER AVENUES. ON 5/17/00 WE WERE INFORMED THAT THE DEALER WOULD HAVE A TRIM SHOP TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM AND WE NEEDED TO CALL THEM TO SET UP AN APPOINTMENT. IN DISCUSSIONS WITH MY WIFE, THE TRIM SHOP STATED THAT THEY COULD FIX THE PROBLEM, BUT THEY WERE NOT SURE THAT THEY COULD MATCH THE COLOR. IT TURNS OUT THAT THEY WERE PLANNED TO SPLICE A PIECE OF SEAT BELT MATERIAL INTO THE EXSITING SEAT BELT. I EXPLAINED TO THE DEALER THAT I DID NOT BELIEVE THAT, WHAT WAS PRESENTED AS “A FIX” WAS NEITHER SAFE OR ACCEPTABLE. ON 5/18/00 THE DEALER STATED THAT THEY HAVE “RESEARCHED ALL KNOWN SOURCES” AND THEIR WAS NOTHING FURTURE THAT THEY COULD (WOULD) DO. THE DEALER IS WILL TO GIVE US OUR TRADE BACK AND CANCEL THE DEAL, BUT AS I EXPLAINED TO THE DEALER, I BELIEVE THAT HYUNDAI HAS A LEGAL RESPONSIBLITY TO PROVIDE FUNTIONING SEAT BELTS FOR ALL OCCUPANTS OR THEY SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED TO MAKET AND SELL CARS IN THE U.S.A.. AS A RESULT MY WIFE HAS NOWAY TO TRANPORT OUR DISABLED SON. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP US?”

Note that the person in question here reckons Hyundai has a ‘legal responsibility’ to accommodate morbidly obese people. But where do you stop? 500lbs, 700lbs? Surely 350lbs is abnormally large and you cannot reasonably accept that Hyundai would provide a car that would fit a person of that size.

Or, in America, is 350lbs within the acceptable range now?

We quite often get American cars to test, namely Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. You know they’re designed for the American market because the seats are huge and the doors open 90 degrees. It’s obvious that the demand for cars that will accommodate the ‘big boned’ is going to keep increasing, unless America reverts to communism and its inhabitants are forced to work on collective farms and eat rations.

While ours is not the place to judge, we can at least speculate…like surely a car with a 350-pound occupant sitting on one side is going to be considerably unbalanced compared to a car with a 100-pound occupant. But that’s all academic if you can’t actually get behind the wheel safely. Consider this story we found on the interweb. It’s a complaint laid against Hyundai (complete with spelling errors as printed):

“WE PURCHASED A BRAND NEW 2000 HYUNDAI SONATA. PRIOR TO PURCHASE WE NOTICED THAT MY SON, WHO WEIGHS 350 LBS. COULD NOT GET EITHER OF THE REAR PASSENGER SEAT BELTS TO LATCH AND THE ONLY WAY THE FRONT SEAT BELT WOULD LATCH IS IF THE SEAT WAS TILTED BACK AND SLIDE ALL THE WAY BACK, EVEN AT THAT THE SEAT /SHOULDER HARNESS WOULD PRESS DEEPLY INTO HIS BODY MAKING IT VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. WE ASKED IF FACTORY SEAT BELT EXTENSIONS WERE AVAILABLE. THEY STATED THAT THE PARTS DEPARTMENT HAD THEM BUT THEY WERE CLOSED (WE BOUGHT THE CAR ON A SATURADY AFTERNOON). THEY SAID WE COULD PICK THEM UP ON MONDAY. WE CONTACTED THE DEALER ON MONDAY AND WERE TOLD THAT THE PARTS DEPARTMENT DIDN’T HAVE THEM AND WOULD HAVE TO GET THEM FROM HYUNDAI. WE AGAIN CONTACTED THE DEALER ON TUESDAY AND THEY SAID THAT HYUNDAI NO LONGER PROVIDED SEAT BELT EXTENSIONS BECAUSE OF NUMEREOUS LIABILITIES SUITS THAT HAVE BEEN FILE DUE TO THEIR FAILURE. THEY STATED THAT THEY WOULD RESEARCH OTHER AVENUES. ON 5/17/00 WE WERE INFORMED THAT THE DEALER WOULD HAVE A TRIM SHOP TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM AND WE NEEDED TO CALL THEM TO SET UP AN APPOINTMENT. IN DISCUSSIONS WITH MY WIFE, THE TRIM SHOP STATED THAT THEY COULD FIX THE PROBLEM, BUT THEY WERE NOT SURE THAT THEY COULD MATCH THE COLOR. IT TURNS OUT THAT THEY WERE PLANNED TO SPLICE A PIECE OF SEAT BELT MATERIAL INTO THE EXSITING SEAT BELT. I EXPLAINED TO THE DEALER THAT I DID NOT BELIEVE THAT, WHAT WAS PRESENTED AS “A FIX” WAS NEITHER SAFE OR ACCEPTABLE. ON 5/18/00 THE DEALER STATED THAT THEY HAVE “RESEARCHED ALL KNOWN SOURCES” AND THEIR WAS NOTHING FURTURE THAT THEY COULD (WOULD) DO. THE DEALER IS WILL TO GIVE US OUR TRADE BACK AND CANCEL THE DEAL, BUT AS I EXPLAINED TO THE DEALER, I BELIEVE THAT HYUNDAI HAS A LEGAL RESPONSIBLITY TO PROVIDE FUNTIONING SEAT BELTS FOR ALL OCCUPANTS OR THEY SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED TO MAKET AND SELL CARS IN THE U.S.A.. AS A RESULT MY WIFE HAS NOWAY TO TRANPORT OUR DISABLED SON. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP US?”

Note that the person in question here reckons Hyundai has a ‘legal responsibility’ to accommodate morbidly obese people. But where do you stop? 500lbs, 700lbs? Surely 350lbs is abnormally large and you cannot reasonably accept that Hyundai would provide a car that would fit a person of that size.

Or, in America, is 350lbs within the acceptable range now?

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