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Keep On Truckin'

Saturday, December 13, 2008 10:17 AM

I'm now about to disclose one of the best-kept marketing secrets of the US automotive industry: An SUV is not a car. An SUV is a truck! I thought long and hard about that. The industry must have had a reason for inventing the name "sport utility vehicle." I imagine they were afraid that Americans would not buy trucks, or perhaps American wives would veto such a purchase if the husband wanted a truck as the primary family "car." But Americans did and do buy trucks gussied up with the name SUV and some luxurious car-like appointments. In droves. I therefore feel it's safe to reveal what I just revealed without further damaging the US auto, er, truck industry.

Now, it appears, the House of Representatives and part of the Senate want to rescue the said industry by nationalizing it. Like farmers who dump milk because they have too much of it, our unimpeachable (pun intended) legislators want to dump money into a bailout rathole, because they believe that the cash cows known as taxpayers are producing too much cash. After all, 53% did vote for the bigger-spending candidate.

When I'm out driving here in the USA I see a wide variety of imported cars, but most of the trucks are still American-made. Saddled with a reputation for poor-value cars, the Big 3 still seem to be making trucks that Americans want, low mileage be damned.

I recently heard a lame talk show pundit lamenting that US national security would be threatened if "automakers" went bankrupt, obviously forgetting that Jeeps, Humvees, Bradley APC's and other tactical vehicles are trucks, not cars.

Why would Americans want to buy trucks rather than cars for daily use? I can think of a few reasons.

  1. Safer in a collision.
  2. Easier to get the kids in and out of the government-mandated car seats.
  3. Can be used as an RV for outdoor fun.
  4. Can carry more stuff.
  5. More macho (for the husbands), and can bring more furniture home (for the wives.)

So what are the policy wonks thinking about the bailout madness, which will probably be perpetrated after January 20? Saving the huge pensions of the UAW workers, sure. But what they really want, in my opinion, is a huge ecotopian sandbox in which to play. Hybrids, plug-in electric cars, you name it. Low, low , low mileage. Ten-thousand-dollar batteries. We have a precendent for that: Amtrak. When government drove passenger trains and trolleys out of business by subsidizing highway construction, they then created a Eurostyle rail boondoggle. Money? No problem. Cash cows, remember.

So while government plays carmaker with your money, America, you'll be buying trucks. You betcha.

[Keywords: impeach-them-all.org americans car cars industry low trucks want ]