Americans Cars: Overweight, Overburdened and Over Here?
USA Today reports that two average-sized adults and their weekend luggage put a Corvette or MX-5 over its certified weight capacity. Pile your teenage son and five of his football teammates in your Grand Caravan and you're good to go– provided they each weigh less than 165 pounds and leave the gear at home. That's because their manufacturers use a federally-mandated maximum loading formula that sets a minimum average weight of 150 pounds per passenger. While manufacturers are free to increase that figure as they deem appropriate, many don't. It's a CYA tactic in the aftermath of the Firestone tire fiasco, where overloading was "considered a factor" in tire failure and subsequent accidents (and lawsuits). Honda spokesman Sage Marie says if you exceed their vehicles' limit, "we can't be responsible for the vehicle's dynamic characteristics." According to GM's energy and drive quality director, "when we put a label on a vehicle, we need to be conservative."