Why Are Your Car Seats SO BIG?

To meet the "growing needs" of their customers -- a polite way to describe the obesity epidemic -- a number of foreign automakers like Honda have redesigned some of their 2006 models to fit the wider bodies of Americans.

Domestic car companies claim they've been making those accommodations for a while, but Ford recently took the next step: Using nine different body types, including the frame of an morbidly obese man, to guide them during the computer design phase.

Ford's justification for bigger seats stems from the growing girth of oversized Americans, up nearly 30 pounds over the past 38 years. The company is also considering inflatable bladders to help passengers of all sizes.

So, if you've been wondering why cars are getting bigger and more expensive for no good reason, now you know. Besides, with the impact of smoking and obesity erasing years off the lives of Americans, car manufacturers are probably seeing the market for their products shrinking...

USA Today December 28, 2005

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