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An examination of the general characteristics of modern automobiles and their possible future traits. The present-day passenger car is analyzed by decomposing it into its basic components, i.e., body, trim, and engine, and a linear relationship is established between each component and overall vehicle weight. Other general properties that are linear with weight, such as capacity, payload, fuel utilization, and economy, are also considered, along with nonlinear characteristics, such as dimensions, power utilization, performance, and vehicle utilization. The future possibilities for each of the automobile components examined are considered, taking into account expected technological developments and also economic and public-acceptance constraints. On the basis of this analysis, a potential automobile of the 1970s is described, and trends in initial costs and total vehicle operating costs are predicted. 84 pp. Ref.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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