The top three concerns for your typical car buyer are reliability, safety, and fuel economy. With all the safety requirements automakers have to achieve, weight can ultimately begin to balloon. You can get an Audi A6 Avant that weights over two tons! Of course additional weight brings lower fuel economy, which neither customers nor automakers want. Vehicles are also growing in size with each new generation. These 2-4 inch growth spurts help increase industry-wide weight by up to 1% per year.
Daimler Chrysler, like the rest of the industry, is doing what it can to tackle this problem head-on. Lighter high-strength steel and tactical use of aluminum is finally putting a dent on weight gain. The company is leaning on engineers and suppliers to lessen the load of individual components to help. The first real evidence of the weight loss game is in the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The vehicle has grown dimensionally yet it retains its 3200 lb weight. Lighter cars and trucks will be good for all of us with better fuel economy and typically more lively handling. We're hoping this C-Class weight-loss success story isn't just another fad.