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The Germans

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  • T. J. Binkley
    Germany, home of several promising movements toward carfreedom, is also (alas) home to this: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-041602cartown.story For
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 17, 2002
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      Germany, home of several promising movements toward carfreedom, is also
      (alas) home to this:

      http://www.latimes.com/business/la-041602cartown.story

      "For Germans, buying a new car is a big event," says Maria Schneider,
      creative director of the VW Autostadt theme park, the second most popular
      amusement park in the country. "The car is part of the family, like the
      children."

      The centerpiece of the theme park is the car pickup center, a cavernous
      hall combining the light and space of an airport terminal with the
      atmosphere of a celebrity hangout. Car buyers are summoned to one of three
      runways by an elevated futuristic signboard that flashes their names,
      dealerships, license-plate numbers and collection appointments in luminous
      lime-green letters. In a rare moment for Germans when the customer is truly
      king, the buyer's entourage is then escorted down a broad staircase to the
      collection level and encouraged to go over the shiny new purchase with a
      fine-toothed comb.

      Miniature electric-powered Beetles allow children as young as 5 to motor
      around an outdoor test track after a 15-minute instruction film and "exam"
      on the rules of the road. Successful passage of the easy test on stop signs
      and seat belts qualifies a child for an official-looking driver's license
      complete with photo that is good on the electric-car grounds of the Autostadt.
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