Monday, July 06, 2009

Your New Car

Okay new car owner, I have to tell you something that you aren't going to want to hear. No, you aren't going to want to hear it because the ink isn't even dry on your signature on the bottom of your loan papers. But I think that it is important for you to know on what you just dropped $29,000. Your crossover vehicle is really just a station wagon.
Yeah, you just bought a station wagon. I know, I know. You have a big ton of literature in your study that says you just bought an innovative new "crossover vehicle," and paid for an innovative new "crossover vehicle," but what exactly is being crossed over? Can you tell me that? I can tell you. But I think it would be more prudent to look at this from the beginning. And that beginning was when our parents were kids.
Back in the 1950s and 60s until the early 1990s Detroit was churning out what were colloquially called "land yachts," which were gigantic station wagon versions of four-door full-sized family sedans. Models like the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser (which was the station wagon in That 70s Show) or the Ford Country Squire (on which the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the movie National Lampoon's Vacation is based) ferried wave after wave of families to and fro across the country. It was like a national rite for dad's to load the wife and the youngsters into the Buick and head out on a family road trip to visit the Corn Palace in South Dakota on the way to the Grand Canyon.
Somewhere along the way in the late-1980s some people at General Motors and Ford and American Motors got the big idea that they should combine the convenience of a station wagon - seating for six, large cargo area, etc - with the versatility of a four-wheel-drive truck. So they tried to take a station wagon and slap it on a 4x4 platform. That didn't work so well, just ask anyone who ever bought an AMC Eagle. When they tried taking a truck and sort of stretching it and morphing it they realized they had a hit.
Soon every American garage was filled with a Ford Explorer or a Jeep Grand Cherokee and the SUV craze was born. They were called SUVs (short for Sport Utility Vehicles) not because they allowed you to tackle challenging off-road obstacles if need be, but because Station Wagon on Steroids was not a socially acceptable name. For one it would glamorize steroids, and for two it had the term "Station Wagon" in it. And everybody knew that a station wagon wouldn't sell.
All was well, with the SUVs growing larger and more ostentatious, turning into all sorts of monstrosities that piss me off on the road. And then the price of gas went by. Gigantic SUVs were seen parked on every corner and every highway right of way with "For Sale" signs in their front windows. For many of these vehicles that was the first time they had ever left the pavement. Anyway, people began screaming and yelling that their SUVs cost too much to run when gas cost $4.50 per gallon (which, by the way, it usually does in Europe all the time), so they all went out and bought four-cylinder cars and they realized that they couldn't fit all their shit in the trunk. So they started screaming and yelling about that.
Well, because of the nature of the free economy, when the car buying public begins to scream and yell about it the companies that manufacture those cars perk their ears up and listen. So someone at Ford or GM or Chrysler or wherever came up with an idea. He or she walked into a lavish boardroom somewhere in southeast Michigan, most likely in a suit and tie, and made a presentation to a bunch of old guys in leather chairs. And what that presentation showed was an SUV that was plunked down on a car platform. It drove like a car. It had gas mileage like a car. But it had all the carrying capacity of an SUV. And they even had a snappy new name for it: the crossover vehicle. That person got a huge raise.
So lets take a quick look back at the timeline. Station wagons rule the road until the are jacked up on a truck frame and become the SUV. Then the SUV is taken off the truck platform and put back on a car platform becoming the crossover vehicle, which you just bought and which made someone really rich. So if you think about it, which no one at the car companies did, you just bought and SUV on a car platform, which is a station wagon. Actually, I would guess that someone in Detroit DID think of that and that's why they named it a crossover vehicle. They have some smart cookies at those companies, because you wouldn't have bought a station wagon, would you have? Yet you were all about that crossover vehicle. So they have re-invented the wheel and you have been all about it. Don't be mad. It was an easy mistake on your part. And you can go on telling your friends and relatives about your great new "crossover vehicle." Just don't get mad when I ask you what kind of gas mileage you get with your station wagon.

2 comments:

ChefTell said...

Ha Ha HA! No truer words have ever been spoken!(well typed)People are soo stupid! The only hiccup in your timeline is about '82-'84 chyrsler's little invention called the "minivan" - may have heard of it, maybe not, not may out there really. A bigger yank is , that chrysler has used this platform since then to create neons & the ever impressive PTcruiser which people bought up like mad, idiots! There is this trendy bitch that just got rid of her sporty little car and got a Chev Malibu Maxx(crossover)which if you dont know is a FUCKING STATIONWAGON! What a fucking Lemming!
I dont have a google account nor do i care to open one, so fuck off!

Big Dave said...

Chef, you are totally right about the minivan, which is the greatest use of that K-car platform since, well, the K-car. And look how we bought hook, line, and sinker that station wagon with a sliding door. People really are stupid I.