Cars in Britain are not as culturally prized as in the USA. However, image and aspiration prevail over need. More four-wheel-drive vehicles are sold per capita in urban centres (where this capacity is least necessary) than in the country at large. Television advertisements use backgrounds which ‘sell by association’: Range Rovers are shown negotiating rugged terrain, Fiats drive round tortuous cobbled streets in small Continental towns. Often no other traffic is present. The advertisements sell an illusion of individual exploration and freedom, ignoring real-life traffic jams and the fact that the backdrops shown are usually under threat from motor vehicles. Friends of the Earth is virtually the only organization opposed to an unlimited increase in car ownership (see Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace).
   See also: motor racing

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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