Sunday, May 14

California Mums

Do you have the patience to hear about another SUV? There seems to be a flux in the industry, this year alone there's at least 3 brand new models. California seems like the wrong market for more SUV's. Evidently the State of California is apathetic to the recent decrease in gas prices, it's the only State out of 50 not to conform. Correct me if i am mistaken but doesn't California have one of the lowest minimum wages in the Country? Coincidentally the cost of living is high up in that totem. And if you didn't yet know, California has the strictest emission standards in the States, and yes in the world. Somehow i think that has something to do with the hypercharged gas prices. So strict in fact that some fullsize SUV's and trucks are prohibited for sale here. And if you're an SUV fan like i and an advocate for better fuel mileage, here is some more grim news. According to the associated press, the bid for 33 mpg requirement for cars and light trucks by 2015 has been rejected, citing complexity (wtf?).

Look at SUV's as a necessary evolution to the car industry. Before the industry influx of the SUV there was the minivan, derivative of course of the large industrial vans. And before the minivan there was the station wagon, basically a large sedan with an extended roofline and an added d-pillar for larger luggage capacity. Essentially the SUV was conceived, as men did from Homo Sapiens, out of evolution. The station wagon was too small for large families, therefore an alternative vehicle was created in the minivan. The minivan was the answer to everything the wagon lacked, most notably ride-height, third-row seating and the ultracool easy-access sliding passenger door (minivans nowadays have them on both sides, cool eh?). But as cool as the sliding doors were, the minivan retained the station-wagon's dull looks and "family car" stigma. The minivan, as useful to a family as it was, and even though purposely designed to be sleek, couldn't be branded a kewl vehicle. Because as far as the public perception was concerned, it was primarily a kid and grocery hauler... In contrast the SUV excelled where the minivan lacked luster.

Even though the SUV became the official alternative vehicle to the uncool minivan, it wasn't derived or designed originally as a direct competitor or alternative to it. The SUV is a descendent of the commercial and military vehicles such as the Jeep and the Land Rover which also spawned the truck. SUV's have been popular for many years primarily in rural areas for their off-road capabilities. But in the last decade we are seeing more and more SUV's finding their way into urban America, primarily as an alternative to the minivan (according to studies). Consequently with the success of SUV sales and it's ever decreasing use in it's natural rural habitat, it became laden with luxury features, lower ride heights, car-like multi-linked suspensions (as oppose to a solid rear axle, best for towing and off-roading) to better reflect their typical urban use. SUV's such as the BMW X5, Acura MDX, Porsche Cayenne and the up and comers Mazda CX-7 and Audi Q7 etc...

And if you are an industry purist, these cars are referred to as Crossovers instead of SUV's, because even though they are off-road capable, they're built on a car platform (unibody construction) as oppose to the truck-like body on platform construction. Or in other words a hybrid or cross between a car and an SUV.

I suppose the soccer moms trying to be kewl aren't to blame for the SUV evolution or Crossover revolution for that matter. In fact we should be grateful because without their quest for a cooler car to drive the kids to school and soccer practice, family cars would be limited to minivans, sedans and a small selection of true SUV's. And worse yet the demise of the wide-stanced, low-slung, ugly boat-sized station wagon never would've been achieved... You don't suppose the sophisticated, latte-ridden, organic wholefoods conscious California mums are modicum in car taste, do you? Hell no, they wanna drive their toddlers with their Louis Vuitton bibs around their neck, to the mall in 4-wheel-drive Range Rovers complete with the factory guard-grills -bumping- "Stop, drop, shut em' down open up shop oh, no, That's how ruff ryders roll".....


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