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Episode 533: Why Cars From Europe and the US Just Can't Get Along

Posted: April 18, 2014

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On today's show, we talk to designers and car company executives about one of the biggest technical challenges they face: making all the different governments happy.

When a car is sold in the United States, the safety features on that car — the airbags, the bumper — they are built to US safety standards. There is a different set of standards in Europe. To sell a Jeep Wrangler in Europe, Chrysler has to redesign and replace a bunch of seemingly random parts of the car.

The Europeans have the same issue. The new Volkswagen Golf R is driving on the autobahns in Berlin, but not yet in the US. Before the car can come to the US, the German company has to manufacture the car for a completely different set of safety regulations.

Today on the show: why can't you build a car that can be driven anywhere in the world?

Music: Crash Test Dummies's "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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