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To me, it’s a very interesting topic, which surely is unnoticed and underestimated by everyone who is daily driving a car.
You may think, that your VW golf is just about the same as the one, that is sold in Russia, USA, China and so on. Ok, from a visual point of view, they do look nearly the same. Nearly, because for example in the USA a specific size of a blinker is mandated, as well as side contour lights or back up camera. But for someone who is not fitted into cars, these differences are unnoticeable and that is why I used the phrase “nearly”.
But “under the hood” cars from different markets have a lot of different or redesigned parts and in some cases, the cars are totally different. Let’s take the Abarth 500 for an example. The European version of this car is based on a fiat panda, has a 1.4 “t-jet” engine, while the US version is based on an all-new platform, with a different version of the 1.4 engine, called “multiair”. Not only the chassis is different, but also parts like wishbones, sway bars, wheel hubs, interior parts, bumper, exhaust system, blinkers, headlights etc. basically, the only parts these two cars share are: brakes, windows, fenders, trunk lid and hood.
But back to the VW golf.
Let’s set the polish version of the Golf as a default which I’m going to compare to Golf’s from other markets.
As we all know, the temperature in Africa is usually slightly higher than in Poland. Obviously, engineers are aware of that as well. And since car components are strictly designed to work under specific conditions, changes had to be made. The radiator in African golf is bigger, to prevent the engine from overheating. On to another example – Russia. A lot of potholes in roads. Conclusion? tougher and more durable suspension. China – problems with pollution. Solution? More emission – strict exhaust system. The USA? The air condition unit is more efficient. There is even a joke in the automotive environment, that when a car in the USA is developed, engineers first build the AC and then build the rest of the car around it.
Audi dealt with this problem very easily. Simply, the car’s computer is programmed to blow cooler air into the car. (fun fact, in Audi’s a6 official specification data there is a sentence (it’s a real quote, actually) “US domestic cars air condition works somewhat cooler”. Nice one, Audi
I know, that not everybody is interested in cars, but I think that sometimes it’s worth it to admire all the effort put into making cars more comfortable, even if we won’t notice it. It’s amazing, and thrilling that there’s so much about cars that we’re not even aware of. All the effort being made just to make the car feel better. And yet, nearly nobody notices it