Sunday, April 27, 2003

More TNR tid bits:
from Gregg Easterbrook's New Republic review of Keith Bradsher's High and Mighty: SUVs--The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way:

"They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors." This is Bradsher's summary of the auto industry's own marketing research about SUV buyers, and he adduces numerous on-the-record comments from auto-marketing gurus to back this up. One such wise man, named Clotaire Rapaille, tells the Big Three that people buy SUVs "because they want to look as menacing as possible." It is perhaps not startling that rather than trying to alter these buyer proclivities, the manufacturers of SUVs have tried to encourage them... One hostility-intensification feature is the "grill guard" that SUV manufacturers promote. Grill guards, useful mainly for pushing oryx out of the road in Namibia, have no application under normal driving conditions. But they make SUVs look angrier... "