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Model year designations in USA

I've been puzzled for some time about how US listers refer to the current
year's models as being next year's model.

e.g. an A4 2.8 30V bought now (1997) is called a 1998 model!!

You guys get your cars way later than the rest of us so maybe your
1997 models should be called 1996 :-)

Is this a way of convincing yourselves that ol' US of A is way 
ahead of everywhere else in everything, when the rest of the world 
knows the converse to be the case? :-) (flame suit mode=ON)

Greg Spark
sparkg@SPAMOUTwave.co.nz  (remove SPAMOUT from email address to reply)
Hamilton, New Zealand
'96 (true) A4 1.8Tq