worst

The Word ‘Custom’ Has Become the Worst Kind of Oxymoron

Photo credit: Aline Kaori

Photo credit: Aline Kaori

From Road & Track

In the beginning, there was only custom. Shape your own stone ax. Weave your own basket. Everything was engineered to hazy eyeball standards and built out of whatever was lying around. That changed around 1450 in Hungary when the “carriage trade” was born, and all the rich people started trying to one-up each other with superfancy horse-drawn coaches. Mere carts and wagons were for farmers and tradesmen. The elite commissioned fine coaches. That’s when “custom” was born—for the first time.

This story originally appeared in Volume 3 of Road & Track.

The industrial age brought standardization and mass production, and products that were once miraculous became ordinary. Anyone could have a Model T. Then, in 1919, George Riley of Los Angeles invented the “MultiLifts” that multiplied the valve lift on the Ford engine, increasing its power. This, the first known product

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European car sales suffer worst plunge ever in pandemic

European car sales plunged by nearly a quarter last year as the pandemic provoked the worst crisis ever to hit the capital-intensive industry

MILAN — European car sales plunged by nearly a quarter last year as the pandemic provoked the worst crisis ever to hit the capital-intensive industry.

New car registrations sank by 23.7%, or 3 million vehicles, to 9.9 million units, according to new figures released Tuesday by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. It said lockdowns and other restrictions “had an unprecedented impact on car sales across Europe.”

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Worst start to the year for UK car sales since 1970

Britain has suffered its weakest January car sales in 51 years, as showroom closures brought the market to a near standstill.



a car parked in a parking lot


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Thursday that just 90,249 new vehicles were registered across the UK last month, down 40% on last year. SMMT said the new car registrations total was the lowest in January since 1970.

“Following a £20.4bn [$27.7bn] loss of revenue last year, the auto industry faces a difficult start to 2021,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

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Sales of diesel vehicles fell by 62%, while petrol car sales dropped 50%. Demand for electric vehicles rose by 8% and hybrid sales grew by 34%.

The headline slump was caused by lockdown restrictions across the UK, which meant car showrooms were shut.

Hawes called for showrooms to be opened

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Car sales see worst start to the year since 1970 as lockdowns stall recovery

New car sales at the start of the year were the weakest since 1970 as the recovery the beleaguered industry had hoped for stalled, industry figures show.



a crowded parking lot with many cars driving on a busy street: Sales in January were down by 39.5% on a year ago


© Reuters
Sales in January were down by 39.5% on a year ago

Just 90,249 vehicles were registered last month, 39.5% down from a year ago and the lowest January figure for more than half a century, as lockdown measures took their toll.

‘Massive take-up of electrified vehicles’

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The slump would have been even worse if not for “click-and-collect” options put in place by dealerships adapting to life during the pandemic, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which published the data.

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It called for showrooms to be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.

The January data follows a “lost year” for

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