back to article Manufacturers testing wider cars for swingbellies

Luxury car makers BMW and Porsche are trialling extra wide cars in order to cater for the growing backsides of their customers. As their clientele's contact zones increase the manufacturers aren't just making the seats wider, they're making the whole car wider. BMW were revealed to be running tests on making cars more …


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  1. Rockandrollsuicide

    This won't solve anything.

    Rather than making bigger cars for lard arses would it not be better to encourage the gravitationally challenged to get out and walk?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Making BMW drivers walk would also greatly improve the driving experienece for the rest of us.

    2. relpy

      A Damn Fine Point

      But we gravitationally challenged peopel get plenty of exercise already, hence our svelte lines.

      Surely it's the gravitationally advantaged that need to do more exercise.

      Beer, because I lied somewhere near to the word "we".

  2. Steven Raith

    I want slim seats

    I sat in a Puma a few months ago while looking for cars, and I decided that if I got the money together for it, I'd have to lose weight to fit comfortably in the leather seats, which were quite unsubtly bucketed. Good back support, but my arse was a bit tight.

    So I don't want bigger seats, I'd have no incentive to lose weight!

    Steven R

    1. andy mcandy

      agreed :)

      i spent a couple of years working away (living on expenses, natch) and came back to find i could barely fit into the seat of my weekend toy car. so dont make the seats wider, make the drivers more healthy.

      too fat to drive? you're donald ducked then :)

  3. Chris 171

    Pandering to the width?

    Not really the way it should be but the way the developed world is I guess.

    A wider track will certainly aid handling however, if ironically, the weight can be kept down.

    Mines the compact one with good tires & super diesel.

  4. Figgus


    Not that I disagree with the premise of the article, but one thing bugged me.

    "In 1953, a Ford Prefect was 1450mm wide, 2011's Ford Focus is 1850mm."

    Seems a tad unfair, since the Prefect was not designed for wider American roads and the Focus was.

    I used to work in an industry that used truck chassis, and 120" was the width limit in the US compared to 105" for our European models. The difference was in the roads.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you're right.

      even SUVs aren't as big as my 1969 Ford LTD. So don't tell me cars are getting bigger.

  5. Big O

    To obtain a special wand please mash your palm on the keypad now

  6. Joseph Kang
    Thumb Up

    I see what you did there...

    well played on the post's category.

  7. N2 Silver badge


    They take up more road,

    I can imagine the DVLA hovering over the 'create fat bastard tax' icon

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does my bum look big in this?

    No longer, apparently

  9. The Cube

    We already have vehicles for fat b45tards who can't fit in a BMW

    They are called car ferries and have propellors and rudders for maneuvering.

    They are even neatly equipped with a "roll on / roll off" system for the truly lardtastic who are so obscenely fat they can't even waddle any more.

    (those in America can replace "Lincoln Flabbigator" or "Ford Waistline Excursion" or "Caddilac Expanded-Arse-Mobile" for "car ferry", they also have rudders for steering and take 3 miles to stop from their cruise speed of 20 knots)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cars are too big anyway

    Back in 1966, Ford boobed with the Cortina Mark 2- Greece taxed cars on width and the design bods forgot; it was just too wide for low tax. They took minimum spec size cars off the production line and put them in a jig, squeezed them to the size of "low tax" and put them on the ship for Greece. How about a tax on ground area covered?

    In my youf, I could wash the whole screen of my '59 Anglia from one side, and I never quite got to 6 feet tall. I remember a skinny steering wheel as well. That would be no

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're supposed to say "candlejack"

      somewhere in your post before cutting it off mid-sente

  11. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    Its more to do with bigger ego [more than bigger asses].

    The car buying western world wants a bigger number on the engine and a car that looks big (both go hand in hand). People feel they are "entitled" to bigger cars. Now that bigger cars are un-green the car makers are trying to polish the turd & push it into the asses of their customers.

    Paris, coz she wants a car where she a shoot a video.

  12. I Like Heckling

    I imagine the bigots will be posting on this soon... seems like fat people are the last legitimate target left... can't get done for slagging of the fat people like you can other groups.

    Not that it makes those types of bigots any less twatish. :)

    I've hired a focus and insignia, both 2011 models and the Focus was not the most comfortable thing to drive, the seats were too hard and narrow... I drive a coupe with more bucket like seats that hug you, the focus's seats dug into the outside edge of your thigh because the seating position doesn't suit a tall person like me, with the seat right back, I still have to bend my legs slightly, which means my knee is against the door... Didn't have to do that in the insignia, nor do I in my own car.

    Why not design them for taller people too... I wanted an MX5 at one point, until I realised that with the roof up I cold get in, but not out unless I crawled. :)

    1. thesykes

      not just seats that are a problem if you're tall. I'm not excessively tall, but, find many cars are designed with no thought to any driver over 6 feet tall. A lot of cars don't allow enough leg room, with the steering column not raising high enough, and I've driven a few where the steering wheel covers the top of the instrument panel, blocking the top of the speedo (right where the 60-80mph markings are) and even the indicator signals.

      1. Falanx


        I'm 6'6", weigh between 195-200lbs (depending on how much riding I've been doing recently) and my Focus (penultimate model) is the second most comfortable car I've ever driven. Maybe it's because I don't have the muscle tone of a beanbag.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Comfort - hire Fester was terrible

      Going back 9-10 years or so, a Ford Fiesta was hired while I was between cars for a work trip.

      4th gear on the motorway was noisy, couldn't use 5th as the gear lever stuck in my leg. And I am not tall.

      I reckon old Rootes Group cars were among the best.

    3. James Micallef Silver badge


      People of a particular race, gender or sexual preference, are born that way and have no choice in the matter, which is why targeting them is bigoted and idiotic. The vast majority of fat people are fat because of their daily choices in the past years, and it's only a very small percentage who REALLY cannot help it due to medical condition (thyroid etc)

      Fat people are therefore a legitimate target for my satire.

  13. RichyS

    Don't we already have cars catering for the obese?

    They're called SUVs.

    1. Nick Galloway


      Exactly what the Hummer was/is all about. Massive car/truck with only four seats. If a wobble bottom needs more space they make themselves patently obvious by being ferried about in a Hummer. As for th growth of car sizes, take a look at an original Mini alongside the modern Mini. One is a small car the other is not.

      Make wobble bottoms get out an walk otherwise trhe car manufacturers should reinforce the roof racks!

  14. Armando 123

    Needed here

    I'm descended from blacksmiths and German farmers and I have trouble getting into and out of a Japanese mid-sized car. I'm over six feet tall (and not barely) and was built to swing a battle axe; no diet is going to make my shoulders more narrow.

    So I approve of this, whatever the reason.

  15. b166er

    I thought BM and Porsche already had vehicles for this, ie the X5 and Cayenne van models that are available. What they really should be doing, is providing automatic piloting systems which will remove the need for a gearstick and handbrake console and would accommodate these fat useless monkey pilots without further increasing their inability to fit in a parking space or corner their vehicle without damaging roadside furniture, the twunts!

    If you can't fit in one of these family buses, take a hint.

  16. Martin Usher

    Not just lardasses.....

    Its not about fat, its about pelvis width --- so this may be related to the ever growing purchasing power of women. One of the criteria for selecting cars in our household is how you fit on the seat -- you can tolerate anything for short runs but if the seat's pressing on bone at the edges you'll feel it big time after an hour or so.

    You don't need a big car to get adequately proportioned seats. I was surprised to discover that a modern Fiat 500 can easily accommodate full-sized people even though its city car sized while a friend's brand new Lexus Esomething or another is a hassle to get into and really nasty to sit in. (The Fiat's like a Tardis, its a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside; I don't know how they accomplished that trick but I still can't sell the missus on getting one.)

  17. AbortRetryFail

    Car parks

    The trouble is that, although cars have got wider, car parking spaces haven't. So although these fatties may benefit from the wider car they may find they can't get out of it once they park up.

    1. Steven Roper


      they'll just take up two fucking parking spaces by parking across them at an angle like the fat bastard in the Volvo at my local shopping centre the other day.

      I seriously wanted to do this to the arsewipe:

      1. Stu_The_Jock

        Car parking

        You ought to try using the carpark off Lower Thames St in London, used to use it regullarly when working as a service engineer in that part of town. Every 4th space (+ the 5th) was occupied by an XK8, Porche GTsomething, SLK or similar not overlarge but expensive car parked with the handbrake lever neatly above the line between 2 spaces. If the sign outside read anything less than 100 spaces free, I drove past, those 100 spaces were non existant. Although I did get in once by sticking the van between 2 sportscars parked mid-space, doing likewise, and climbin over front seats to get out rear sliding door !

    2. druck Silver badge

      Garages too

      Its not just car parking spaces which aren't keeping up with the width increase in modern cars, garages in houses in the past 20 years are woefully inadequate. If you can even get the car in, you have great difficulty getting out of the car.

  18. Buzzby


    Does anyone remember the comic 2000 AD. Judge Dred, and the seriously fat bastards, c/w belly wheel fighting each other, or eating competitions with each other, in the arena. Now those were the sort of buggers that perhaps the car designers of today will need to be preparing for.

    1. Mr Brush
      Thumb Up

      Jaws of the Tiger, Tony!

      Jaws of the tiger!

  19. pisquee

    Not just car parking spaces, but the roads also haven't got wider in UK's old built up towns with roads designed for horses and carts, or the tiny London roads with cars parked on each side, and only space down the middle of them for one way of traffic, when it is not a one way street. The current bigger cars struggle with these. If cars continue to get wider, there will be streets in UK that are inaccessible to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Then the buggers will have to get out and walk... Hmmm... then they might get some exercise, and eventually, a smaller car.

      Guess there's a point to this after all. :-)

  20. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Telegraph says 'plump my ride'...

    Viz have already coined 'Blimp my ride', albeit in a different context. (Let's see how many of you have heeded El Reg's advice and installed the Profanosaurus app on your phone. )

  21. MJI Silver badge

    I'm fat

    And I fit in cars no problem

    Perhaps I am not fat enough as I can still walk fine!

  22. fishman


    I'm surprised that no one has commented on one of the reasons cars are bigger - car crash safety requirements.

    1. LuMan

      Spot on

      I was wondering who'd be first to spot the obvious. Multi-skinned doors with additional impact bars, crumple-zones and airbag deployment wotsits all add to the overall size of the car. Not to mention the fact that car manufacturers like to point out exactly how much space there is in the boot, too.

      Not much of a mention for 1950s Cadillacs with 60" bench seats I notice.....

  23. JC 2

    Not Just For Fat People

    I am not overweight, but I am not a sardine either. I don't want a car barely wide enough, I want some elbow room, plenty of cargo room, maybe even some shagging room when I was younger.

    If you need to drive narrow streets, or are poor, or have been suckered into this lets-go-green movement while the rich continue to laugh at you because they're scheming ways to make the masses live cheaper so they can keep a workforce without raising pay as gas prices go up... then by all means, get the smallest car possible and a shoehorn to get in and out of it.

    I suppose there is an argument to be made for seats only wide enough if you drive like a nut around curves and need a tight seat to hold you in it, but maybe those people wouldn't be in such a rush to get done with their driving if they had enough room to feel comfortable.

  24. Eddy Ito

    "and larger dashboard buttons on Hondas intended to make it easier for people with fat fingers to operate the radio controls."

    It isn't because larger buttons are easier to find while going down the road at 60+ mph? Also doesn't a larger dial require less force than a smaller one to apply a specific torque, thereby making it easier to turn? Personally, I much prefer the larger controls spaced out and higher on the dash on my current car over the tiny control cramped single din head unit located practically on the floor of my last one. I doubt fat fingers have anything to do with it but safety and peripheral visual angles likely does.

  25. Beau

    Worried about the faties!!

    Have you ever seen the average Dutch man or woman trying to get into the average height car, or trying to get the front seats back far enough for comfort? I see it every day, driving for them is like flying with Ryanair.

  26. hplasm Silver badge


    The bottom of the steering wheel. Job done.

  27. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    As a big fatty...

    I am all for this, but have no desire to buy a BMW or a Porche (intentional mis-spelling!)

    I used to drive a Vauxhall Carlton which was comfy. I was given a Corsa courtesy car once during a service, and you didn't sit in the seat, rather on it. Every time I went round a bend I damned near ended up sitting on the handbrake.

    I'm also 6'4" so can hardly get in and out of my partners Focus and with the seat all the way back my knees are still jammed against the dash on the passenger side.

    I have very broad shoulders (and size 15 feet) so my choice of car is very limited.

    So, I drive a fat lardy old Honda Legend which only does 20Mpg.

    That said, the cost of replacing it just isn't worth the effort so I will drive it until it dies.

    And to all the scrawny midgets out there,... yer just jealous! <LOL>

  28. Alex King

    What we need is

    Some Back to the Future-style seats that automatically adjust to the stature of the occupant. You could combine this with 'connected' vehicle technology to open up the marketing opportunities - providing useful dieting product information to the more portly specimens, courtesy of the in-car control screen.

  29. MJI Silver badge

    Fat for a reason

    Mine is sitting at a desk writing code and a hatred of hamsterlands (gymns).

    Mind you a nasty fall didn't help, nor did a foot operation.

    And finally the wet summers have stuffed my walking as I don't want to get muddy!

  30. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    Make the supermarket biscuit ailse 18" wide.

    If you can't fit down it, no biscuits for you!

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