There are many differences between European and American drivers. European drivers love their stickshifts so much that they keep adding on to them – even a tiny little vehicle now has 6 gears. Americans tend to view a manual transmission with the same suspicion as most of us view a 150-part Ikea wardrobe. Like, yeah, no. I am not smart enough to figure that out.
European cars are minimal – the real reason serving sizes are so small in Europe. Those little cars do not do well for those among us who like to have a double bacon cheeseburger with fries as a mid-morning snack. American cars are big and tend to have more add-ons than your average European family home, like personal DVD players and self-closing doors. American cars are fitted with cameras, beepers, lights, and other accouterments to help the driver fit their vehicle into a parking space. European drivers tend to go for the bumpety bump parking method, squeezing their car into a small space like they themselves are squeezed into those tiny cute little geographical areas they refer to as countries.
Yet Europeans increasingly love to avail themselves of opportunities they consider “American.” Popcorn in the cinema? Yes please! Checking email while on vacation? Sadly on the rise. Obsessing about celebrities? Totally. #FreeBritney
This is why the latest self-driving model of a well-known French car brand comes with an “American” design option. The “soixante-huit” comes with super-sized cup holders, and also includes a built-in cooling condiment station, pre-stocked with ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. The more exclusive “soixante-neuf” model additionally features a “barista machine,” where you can swipe your credit card and for just $10 pour yourself a low-quality cup of coffee.
As the icing on this cake (sunroof standard) and to fully meet all European aspirations to the American life, neither model of the self-driving car has the ability to parallel park. If you want to reverse this state-of-the-art vehicle into a small parking spot, the self-driving computer will reject your instructions and instead drive around the neighborhood for as long as necessary to find a space large enough to drive into.
Which was incidentally President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan. Though when it comes to parallel parking this car’s slogan is a definitive “No can do.” It’s as American as an all-way stop.