Triscadecaphobia (or triskaidekaphobia) is the fear of the number 13 as a harbinger of bad luck. And it’s why new car sales will likely slump in the 2013 model-year.
Believers will want nothing to do with an “unlucky” 2013 car, and even non-believers might shun these autos fearing lower future resale values.
Rationally, we can dismiss such beliefs as nonsense, but the fact is that our society often accommodates this common superstition. For example, high-rises rarely, if ever, have a 13th floor – usually skipping from 12 to 14 in the numbering. Many developers also by-pass “13” when numbering homes in new communities.
In Ireland, known for its lucky charms (and inspiring a kids’ cereal here by the same name), an auto industry group estimates 2013 car sales will plummet by one-third. To help counteract this, officials are being asked to change the car registration system to alter the year prefix to become “131” and “132” instead of the dreaded “13” alone.
So what’s the solution for North America?
As a knee-jerk reaction, automakers might just jump ahead and call them “early” 2014 models. But then, that would bring us into the realm of tetraphobia where the number “4” is avoided because it’s pronounced much like the word for “death” in Cantonese and other Asian languages. The number “14,” as in the year 2014, is considered even more unlucky (“sure death”) than “4” by itself.
Now, while this is a widespread superstition among Cantonese-speaking immigrants, it should be stressed that remedies aimed at removing all mention of the number “4” in Canada (like changing house numbers etc.) are actually disfavoured by enlightened Chinese community groups who instead promote tolerance in our multicultural society.
Anyhow, the point is that because the upcoming two years may be perceived as numerically unlucky, many consumers will likely put off buying a new car.
If automakers choose renumbering (like with house numbers) to avoid “2013,” consumers might perhaps see “2012-A” and “2012-B” cars in the following two model-years.
Or, maybe, 2014 models will come out ridiculously early in 2013, and likewise for 2015 models in 2014, to minimize the duration those “unlucky” numbers are out there discouraging sales.
Or, perhaps, we’ll all just come to our senses.
After all, doom-and-gloom was ‘supposed’ to encompass the world in 1984, and then again in “Y2K.” Yet, here we still are.
Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X