Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thoughts on a Hummer: Do I have a Dirty Mind?

Recently while surfing the net I came across a review of the Hummer H2 published by Siliconeer, a general interest magazine targeting the Asian demographic. Maybe I have a dirty mind but somehow the lead-in picture for this automobile review just seems raunchy.

"As a Mom, I am supposed to be focusing on sedans and minivans, right? Okay, that was the argument I tossed around when I was unwilling to admit the vehicle’s size and width intimidated me somewhat. Well, enough is enough. This Mom has finally decided to take this 81-inch-wide vehicle on." - excerpt from the review
Once I got over being amused by this reviews juvenile sexual puns, I began to think about the decline of the SUV and its affects on the American auto industry. In the 90's the SUV was synonymous with the yuppie culture. For over a decade it was almost as American as mom (hopefully not the one that reviewed that Hummer, though) and Apple Pie. They were the supermarket, soccer practice, cul-de-sacs...rarely off-road though...In recent years, however, SUV sales have been going down faster than a Thai hooker at the Bangkok Spa...yeah, I said it.

Due to rising gas prices and an increasingly environmentally conscious public it has become rather politically incorrect to be seen in one of these beasts of an automobile. Detroit was behind the curve and waited a bit too long to jump off the SUV bandwagon and this lack of vision has only added to the Big Three's financial difficulties. But was it too soon to abandon these decadently large vehicles? I ask this because I think that the Big Three could have pursued a different route in addressing the declining sales of large SUV's.

With GM bringing back the Camaro and Chrysler bringing back the Charger and Challenger it appears that they are targeting a demographic yearning to relive their "glory days" when such nameplates were the king of the road. They are targeting people who are nostalgic for their past...

There is nothing worse than misguided nostalgia.

...but as we all know sometimes we do silly things in our youth and it's fair to say that romanticizing the Camaro and such cars counts as misguided nostalgia. Some things should just be left in the past. There is no need for the reincarnation of these cars and its best for everyone that they remain a piece of America's past and that we let those who just won't let go reflect on them in their little communities (read: trailer parks).

If Ford, GM and Chrysler want to use nostalgia as a means of moving their vehicles maybe they should use practical nostalgia as opposed to misguided romanticism. Let us think about what the Big Three are doing by bringing back "muscle cars" like the Challenger. They are offering to the America consumer heavy cars with relatively large bodies to haul around four people (two people in comfort) while sucking down gas quicker than that aforementioned Thai hooker. If the Big Three wants to sell large cars that guzzle gas wouldn't it be more practical for these vehicles to at least be practical (read: offer utility)?

While these auto makers feel marketing heavy, fuel inefficient cars based on nostalgic value is the way to go then perhaps they should think about utility in these trying times. While the SUV's were not economical, they at least did offer utility and practicality while burning copious amounts of fuel. Perhaps the SUV wasn't the problem and the Big Three jumped off the bandwagon too soon.

With a sinking economy and the American public reflecting kindly on the roaring economy of the 90's, maybe now is the time to bring back large SUV's and sell them on their practical applications. I mean, if you're going to drive a big heavy car that burns holes in the ozone layer as it only gets 12 miles per gallon, then why not have a practical vehicle that seats 7 as opposed to having to shoehorn the kids in the backseat of your Camaro. Not to mention driving with a few of them on your lap as most Camaro owners are known to do. The Big Three should remarket their large SUV's and sell them based upon their practicality and use the nostalgic value of the 90's as a driving force behind the campaign.

Maybe an I Love the 90's type of campaign (we are far enough removed that its not that ludicrous) would help place nostalgic memories in the minds of buyers. Heck, even get a celebrity spokesperson for these ads...a celebrity that the public associates with this time and place and the positive economic climate of the time. Jeez, who could they get that people associate with the "good times" of the 90's that would provide just the right nostalgia to evoke fond memories of the SUV's hey-day?

What better spokesperson for joys of the Hummer? We all know Bill likes 'em big (ex. Monica Lewinsky). And imagine if GM introduced a hybrid version of the Hummer. Clinton could tout the pleasure of keeping up with the Joneses while also showing love for Flowers. Now, that is the kind of nostalgia the Big Three should be trying to evoke.

Oh, and for those of you who think I have a dirty mind...

I love lamp.

Jokes on you, suckas!

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