Posts Tagged ‘suv’

Car Talk

22 May 2009

Dear J-

If you think back to the car trends I’ve seen — admittedly few, since the late 70s or so — one thing jumps out at me, that there’s always some sort of style leader that others rush to imitate.  I’m not just talking about actual styling, mind you, but the trend leaders.  Whether there’s a significant upgrade in the imitations or not (when is the master mastered?), something provides the spark of change.  Wagons (estates) fell to minivans in popularity, which in turn were traded in for droves of SUVs, and are now being replaced by … wagons.

Point is that fashion cycles come and go, and moreover, the origins may be murky; who can really say whether the Ford Taurus or the Audi 5000 are the true progenitors of the jellybean aerodynamics?  Or was the SUV thing a partly-misguided nostalgia-fest of station wagons coupled with the rugged freedom of the go-anywhere (but mostly remaining on pavement) attitude?  We can’t point at root causes, and we sure can’t seem to predict the future (otherwise GM and Chrysler would be hale and healthy, instead of having hedged their bets on the continued health of the truck and SUV market).  So perhaps the lesson is to live in the now; unless, of course, your job is to predict and ride the trends.

My now involves crawling through holiday traffic; when we share the road, we do it with a few hundred thousand strangers passing under the same indifferent sun, pushing ever onward south.  What would happen if we stopped and introduced ourselves to our nearest neighbors?  Instead of guy-in-the-semi, let’s meet Bob, or Jane, or Bill, or Jean.  No matter which misbegotten trend erupts, does it really make sense to act like a jerk and make other people’s lives miserable just because they don’t drive the right car?