A car to warm the cockles

Chilling out is easy for Motown motorists, says Ann Treneman. They just reach for the fridge
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The Independent Online
Are you one of those men who would rather drive for hoursthan stop and ask directions? Or one of those women stuck sitting next to one of those men? Abusive and irrational map behaviour is grounds for divorce, but hope is on hand, because the motorists of Motown are fed up with that fight too. About half of motorists in a new survey by the Detroit News say they want an on-board navigation system to help find their destinations; and, when it comes to cars, what Motown wants, Motown usually gets.

So, from this autumn, Cadillac drivers in Motor City can use the OnStar navigational system - a mobile phone and satellite link-up programme in which a human being will guide you to your destination. S/he will even tell you where the nearest cash point, dry-cleaners or petrol station is.

Then there's colour. Forget red, white or blue. Meredith Hunting of northern Detroit wants deep purple and gold-bronze. The US car companies were there ahead of her, though: the mystic Mustang Cobra changes colour from black to purple to green to amber.

Perhaps Meredith is not thinking big enough: why stop at deep purple if we can get raging red? If they can do mood rings, then they can certainly do mood cars. (Think of it, the car in front glows bright red and you know it's time to mirror, signal, and manoeuvre out of there as fast as possible.)

Other demands are seats offering massages and built-in coffee cup warmers for those long days on the road. Forty per cent also wanted more cup holders as well. A mini auto-dishwasher cannot be far behind.

Fourteen per cent want fax machines and Dictaphones and almost 50 per cent say that they want a place to put a handbag (guess which 50 per cent that is?). Now we all know that if women had invented cars, they would have had this in the Model A. Never mind, that navigational system will make up for a lot.

"Coffee cup warmers? that's so American!" said a British Ford spokesman. So what's on offer in the P-reg then? Well there's a safety deposit box under the driving seat and a tracker security system which means your car may be stolen but never lost.

"And we have a fridge." A fridge? "A 32-litre super fridge." A super fridge? Now, that's American. It turns out this keeps food cold or warm and bolts in where a seat should be.

So if you're looking for a P, note the fridge factor. Think of it, you're driving along. Your personal navigator has told you the fastest way to get to your destination. The seat is giving a light back rub. The car's mood is serene light blue. You reach over, check the fax, open the fridge and decide to - well, chill out to a little Motown. Temptations, anyone?

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