Americans indeed seem to be weirdly obsessed with cars.
Agreed, most of my knowledge about America comes from movies, but I have visited USA once. I noticed this obsession for the first time when visiting Palo Alto. The guy I was meeting said he drove to his hometown airport in his car and parked it at the airport. At San Francisco airport, he rented out another car and came to work. When I asked him why he needed his own car while travelling, he looked at me as if I am crazy. Car Rental is a huge industry in USA. Later, I realized that most Americans really don’t believe in walking or public transportation.
To say that an average American’s life revolves around their car is an understatement.
For most of the world, a car serves a utilitarian purpose. People use cars to get from point A to point B in relative comfort. Americans however, love their cars. Like American food, most American cars are also supersized. Average engine sizes are all above 2.5l and “real men” drive cars with >4.0l engines. In many families, everyone has their own car. Some families have more than 1 car per-member.
Americans eat food in their cars, watch movies in cars & sometimes sleep in their cars. In fact most Americans (if I were to believe movies) even lost their virginities in the back seat of a car. I have even seen homeless people who cannot afford food, driving cars. The birthday gift for most kids turning 18, is a car. Unlike Europe, in America, you can be old enough to drive a car, but not old enough to drink alcohol. Crazy, right?
Not to mention Pickup trucks. Why do Americans even need “trucks”? What is it that the regular Americans have to carry on a daily basis that the rest of the world doesn’t?
Many Americans love buying old cars and restoring them. I don’t think this is as common a hobby in the rest of the world as it is in America. In spite of being so passionate about cars, most Americans can’t even drive cars with manual transmissions.
Most of the developing world cannot afford cars. European cars are very utilitarian. So why are Americans so obsessed with cars?
Reminds me of the Fear Factory cover of Gary Numan’s cars, which I saw a decade ago in Test Drive 6