Wednesday, March 24, 2004


The State of New Jersey has just sued Nissan for offering xenon hi-intensity headlights on their cars -- you know, the bright, blue-white lights you see on many cars these days.

Why are they being sued? You decide:

a. Safety reasons -- they're too bright and blind oncoming drivers at night.
b. They burn out more quickly than normal bulbs.
c. They're too expensive -- Nissan is ripping off the consumer.
d. None of the above.

The answer is "d", but it's also a little of "c".

You see, it takes an experienced car parts thief about 90 seconds to steal the xenon bulbs, which can then be sold for about $250. So the State of New Jersey (are you ready for this one?) says Nissan should have disclosed to consumers the bulbs are attractive to thieves and are easy to steal. That way, they'd be informed enough to be able to make a decision about whether or not to pay for the option (if it's an option). Many cars with xenon lights come standard with them, so I'd guess New Jersey would want to protect those consumers as well through disclosures or maybe even force Nissan to allow consumers the option of having regular halogen bulbs (which cost about $50 a pair).

The point which they miss is that everybody should already know xenon lights are expensive since you will only find them (typically) on cars over $35,000, and usually only as standard equipment on the top tier brands.

This is a great example highlighting (no pun intended) C.C. Kraemer's point that America continues its trend of punishing success.

What I also find offensive is that people who can afford $40,000 cars are bitching about this. Or maybe this is coming from the insurance companies?


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