From Tanks To Trucks: How US Firms Continue To Make Enormous SUVs & Some Of Them Are As Large As Battle Tanks

Americans are fond of large sports utility vehicles (SUVs). And the most commonly purchased vehicles in the US today — pickup trucks and SUVs — are as huge as the tanks used during World War II, writes a British daily. 

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Ford, one of the US’ top automakers, manufactured the popular tank ‘M-4 Sherman’ in the 1940s.

During WW II, the US began to supply military supplies to the allied forces against Nazi Germany by 1941. Then-US President Franklin D Roosevelt reportedly made significant efforts in terms of supplies and military goods towards the countries that were engaged against German powers.

After having entered the war officially in 1942, the United States built about 49,234 Sherman tanks between 1942 and 1945. Most were used by the nation, while the others were given to the allied forces.

According to the UK-based Daily Mail, US auto giants GM, Ford and Chrysler helped produce 50,000 of the steel beasts for the allied forces.

The Ford F-150 pick-up truck. (via Twitter)

This sturdy tank with a weight of 33.4 tons and a length of about more than 19 feet was created with the goal of defeating the vehicles used by the Axis forces — Germany, Italy, and Japan.

In the years that succeeded the war, these automobile manufacturers shifted to mass production of vehicles for civilian use in 20th century American society.

Graphic designer and illustrator Andy Arthur tweeted about how an SUV is as big as the iconic Sherman tank recently. This was partly inspired by a comparative analysis he had conducted with larger vehicles from the UK.

So, are the American vehicles in question really bigger than WW II tanks? In some cases, yes.

The Sherman tank, widely used during World War II. (via Twitter)

The tanks that could be used for such a comparison include the Sherman, the German Panzer IV, the British Cromwell, and the Soviet T34-85 — often referred to as the “medium tanks”, according to the military lingo of the time.

The most popular vehicle sold in the US is the Ford F150, a truck belonging to the Ford F-series. The Ford F150 reaches 250 inches long as compared to the Sherman’s 228. The Ford F-series trucks are followed by the similar Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.

It is interesting that these top three models have accounted for about 13 percent of all vehicles sold in the country. The trend has witnessed no change despite the increasingly higher prices and the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Chevrolet Silverado. (via Twitter)

Concern has been expressed over this seemingly unnecessary obsession with bigger vehicles as they have been reported to be a cause of rising pedestrian/cyclist deaths.

The hood height for passenger trucks has increased 11 percent since 2000 generating larger blind spots directly in front of the truck, an analysis by Consumer Reports shows. That has coincided with a 46 percent rise in fatalities over the past decade, according to Daily Mail.

“These trends are alarming,” William Wallace, Consumer Reports’ manager of safety policy said. “Automakers must put safety first for people inside and outside the vehicle.”

The German Panzer IV tank. (Image: Panzer DB Twitter handle)

What is with the popularity of tank-sized humongous trucks being sold as family vehicles? Maybe it’s the very typical American love for excesses – buy just because it can be bought. As long as one is conscious of how big their vehicle is while driving, maybe such questions don’t matter.

— Written by Anshruta Banerjee