The AWD Crossover Conspiracy

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One of the reasons it seems that all cars are increasingly the same cars is that almost all of them are crossovers, most with or offering some type of all-wheel-drive system. This has homogenized them to the point that picking out which one was made by which company has become almost as challenging as divining the difference between Home Depot and Lowes.

Same here, same there.

Could it be on purpose?

With regard to cars?

What if the object of homogenization is consolidation? To acclimate people to the one-size-fits-all? Which ideally fits the electric car, which is as-the-same as it gets.

These look-alike/drive-alike crossovers also serve to make people forget that, once upon a time, there was variety in function as well as form. A spectrum of differences that ranged from cars such as the old ass-engined, air-cooled VW Beetle with its unmistakably Beetle sounds – as well as shape – to other end of that spectrum and V12-engined luxury dreadnoughts made by Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar that were just as unique in altogether different ways. There was no mistaking one for the other.

Even in-between, there was so much to choose from.

Once upon a time.

Government regulations have had a homogenizing effect on vehicle form and function that is essentially Soviet, in that it trends toward one-size-fits all, like the uniform (single form) of a proletarian in the worker’s paradise.

Or rather, on type fits all.

We are still allowed to choose small, medium or large. Also color. And perhaps the size of the data-mining you (probably also watching you) touch-swipe Telescreen that forms the centerpiece of almost every same-same new vehicle today. How long before the image of Big Biden – or whomever’s next – manifests on the screen, unbidden, to exhort you to avoid Wrongthing?

People are becoming resignedly used to this.

Tesla led the way, with cars both homogenous and fully Telescreened. Everything you’re still allowed to control is controlled via the touch-swipe Telescreen. Other Telescreens – TeeVees and computer screens – tell the people it is good and most of all, “cool.” That they must have it, in order to be “cool.”

As they lined up to be “vaccinated,” they are lining up for this. Predicate conditioning made it all inevitable. Decades of exhortations that unseen danger lurked everywhere, initially in the form of “terrorists” you couldn’t see. This led to a “virus” you couldn’t see – even more fearful to not see. But it was on TeeVee – and people did see that.

They cringed – as required.

The homogenization of transportation has been under way for decades longer than that, beginning in earnest back in the mid-late 1960s – when the government began to get seriously interested in the homogenization (via regulations) of new cars. It began modestly and even superficially reasonably, if you didn’t question this business of the government forcing you to buy (and later, to use) seatbelts, for instance.

Many people didn’t object to this business because they wore seat belts themselves, already – voluntarily – and could not see the danger of forcing people to (buy) and (later, inevitably) to wear them. It was like the good advice to eat your veggies – without realizing the white-hot danger of empowering the government to make you eat them.

That latter principle, once established – however initially unthreatening and even sound-seeming – led us half a century hence to where we are now, which is very far down the road upon which that journey began.

Acceptance of seatbelts-by-decree led to acquiescence to 5 MPH bumpers, also by decree. From there to mileage mandates and mandatory air bags – and mandatory restraints for kids until they became teenagers, which resulted in their being conditioned to both fear and dislike cars (this latter being extrapolated today in the form of the Face Diapering of kids too young to understand that they are being conditioned to fear the world – and other people).

This has been enormously successful. The car culture which was once synonymous with youth culture in this country has almost completely dissipated – to the point that something on the order of a fourth to a third of the driving-age teenage/young-adult cohort doesn’t even have a license or drive. This is a thing inconceivable to the generations who were reared before seat belt use became obligatory, who weren’t strapped into restraints in the back seats until they were almost old enough to drive. We champed at the bit to get our licenses, as soon as we could – and we loved our cars, often working after-school jobs in order to be able to buy them.

These cars not only gave us the freedom of adulthood years before legal adulthood – which made us eager to become adults as soon as possible – it allowed for expression of our individuality, courtesy of the incredible variety of cars we were then free to choose from. Everything from those old gattling-gun exhaust-tipped Beetles to a third-hand chromed and bench-seated land yacht in which a young man might find paradise by the dashboard lights.

Today, it’s different – because it’s increasingly all the same.

And that’s very sad.

. . .

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47 COMMENTS

  1. Eric, you mentioned the 5 mile an hour bumper. You remember that the cars in the fifties and sixties had real bumpers and attachments called bumperetts. The the car companies began making bumpers smaller and lighter in the mid sixties. The government mandate in my opinion was due to the car companies making flimsy light bumpers to save money, costing the consumer in minor accidents. Along with preventing damage to the car body in a minor accident, the regulation required a consistent height for all passenger car bumpers, so bumper would meet bumper. I am on the government side on this one.

    • Hi Oskar,

      In re: “I am on the government side on this one.”

      I am opposed to the government – and not just on this one. Here’s why. First, the merit of such things as bumper-impact standards is subjective. You think they’re worth having because of the hypothetical protection (if you crash) they provide and this the cost is worth it. I think the cost is not worth it – and don’t feel the need. I think the bumpers are uglifiers that make cars heavier. I am willing to accept the possibility of more damage if I crash for the sake of the certainty that my car will be lighter, less expensive and probably look better.

      The market lets us each choose what we want – and want to pay for. The government forces us all to accept what it considers “good.”

      And, having accepted that it’s ok for the government to make such decisions for us we accept in advance future such decisions. It is why things have gotten so totally out of hand. This is the danger of granting the government any authority beyond a strictly limited role as the protector of people’s absolute right to be let alone unless they’ve caused tangible harm to someone else; the criminal and cvil courts, national defense – that’s it. If that much. Anything else and you open the door that leads to where we are now.

  2. Question: If you had an extra 45 grand stuffed inside your mattress, would you buy one bitcoin or spend a few thousand on a good used car? Which purchase will be a good investment?

    Perspiring minds want to know.

    • I have chunk of change saved but I don’t wanna spend it! There are a few different used cars that I would love to buy and I might.

      But as an active daily options trader there’s no way in hell that I’m going to risk a penny on crypto. No way. IMO it’s a trap. It’s advertised as the “safe harbor” and the way to avoid government. I don’t believe it. I think crypto is specifically put out there by the monied interests that own our government. They don’t work against each other.

      I think all the sucker surges were entirely manufactured to get people thinking that they’ll win big! yay! free money for nothing! (and your checks are free!)

      There’s no way. There’s absolutely positively no way TPTB with their govt. henchmen are gonna let anyone get away with cheating their casino.

    • Bitcoin would be a no, gold or silver or other precious metals including FE, PB/Cu sure. As for cars I would go with a used Corolla, Camry or a diesel VW with a 4 cylinder, about 10 or 15 years old, a solid rust free body and preferably low mileage. I know these cars would have a good resale value and are generally reliable. The domestics like the Ford Focus and what have you seem to have bad transmissions or other issues.

    • Drumph,

      The used car is a sure bet, as long as you take care of it.

      A bitcoin yield is slightly more of a longshot, BUT, if history is any indicator, that yield could be substantial. We’re talking maybe 20x substantial. In 2017, Bitcoin crossed the $2,000 mark. It’s now at $45k and has been considerably higher. So, if instead of a that $4k car, you bought a little Bitcoin, and your investment surged to $80,000 worth in 4-5 years, what would you say, then?

      Is it a gamble? Yes. No risk, no reward. Will a good used car appreciate to that degree? Possibly. Or maybe manufacturing sanctuary states begin to appear, and good cars are produced once again. That would be a true prize.

  3. A while back I watched a YouTube video about Chinese cars and the salesman ask the customer if he wanted Mazda badges put on instead. You know if they all look the same is there any reason you can’t rebadge a KIA into a Mercedes? As you said I can’t tell the difference just looking at them anymore. If this keeps up I’m going to start missing the Edsel, at least it looked different!!

    • Yes indeed, I’ll have the Lambo badges on my golf cart please!! vrooom! I can make the engine noises myself or maybe they can play Lambo engine noises out of an over-priced 25-speaker system with subwoofers and pop-up tweeters.

      And then I can make believe that I have phasers and photon torpedoes too! pew, pew, pew!

    • I have a 2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R. I somewhat re-badged it. I added an S and made it a 3.6RS. I took some Plastic Dip spray paint and applied this on the Subaru hubcaps. I replaced the two Subaru mufflers with aftermarket low restriction mufflers. This muffler job took me about an hour and a half as you only have to remove four bolts and four hangers. Itz not quite a Ferrari or Porsche sound but it didn’t cost a heck of a lot of money. I also blacked out the front and rear Subaru 5 star logos and left only the big star visible.I am also thinking about front and rear Porsche emblems. In my mind I want to remake this Subaru into a Porsche Cayenne with a boxer 6 cylinder engine.

  4. Eric, you also notice now all new cars SOUND shit as well ? Just the other day was watching car videos with kids (yes they’ve started liking them too !) The new Audi RS sounds horrible !! Infact when I was looking for a new car, one of the deal breakers for me with the Audi SQ5 (diesel performance SUV) was that it had a FAKE EXAUST !!

    There was a time cars were also differentiated by engine sounds – I guess that too is no more… again making people loose any memory of what cars were, and make them not notice the change to electric….!!

    • It’s true, Nasir – depressingly so.

      There are some exceptions – but these are few and far between. For the most part, great effort has been expended to make new cars sound like … well, nothing. To eliminate – to the extent possible – the sounds associated with combustion. It makes me want to fire up my old two-stroke Kawasaki, right now…

      • Oh I just love a two stroke bike! I raced around on amateur dirt tracks and the great outdoors on a couple few and that was just the time of my life! I used to be head-over-heals in love with the Suzuki RM250… the closest that I got was my brother’s Yamaha YZ125. But it was a blast!

        That “ring, ding, ding…” sound they make. Even the smell… I just loved everything about it. Two stroke oil in the gas!

        As much as I love those old memories (which is quite a lot) is the equal measure to how much I hate these people taking these things away from everyone. They freaking suck. Garbage people that make live miserable (aka “safe”).

        I was not born to live safe.

        • None of us are. “Safety” is an illusion. We are big bags of Jello with some bones. We fall down wrong, we die.

    • I’m taking my 2014 A8 up to Audi service today. Now that’s a car that sounds and looks cool. It’s the coolest car I’ve ever owned and will probably be the very last cool car that I own.

      I had to wait an extra week because Audi was short on loaner cars. Apparently a bunch of ’em ended up taking a swim! I don’t know why Audi can’t use older/used cars for loaners but whatever.

      They almost always give me a Q5 loaner. Generally speaking I hate the Q series and the Q5, I hate the worst. Those cars are the most non-Audi Audis ever made (well, not so much anymore). I had a Q7 loaner… freaking behemoth… like driving a truck.

      TBH, I did like the Q3 loaner better than Q5/Q7. It’s just more fun and easier to drive (in the sense that Erik talks about “driving” a car).

      I think you’re a Brit? My condolences on your awful govt. But, on the other hand, you have so many choices from Audi that I don’t. Why not an S4/S6 Avant?! Whoo boy, the S6 Avant is my actual dream car! Well, the old school ones anyway.

      I just hate any SUVs or “crossovers” as they’re now called. Cool cars are low and wide IMO. SUVs/Crossovers are scrunched together, topsy turvy, lumbering adult baby buggies. They’re for moms taking a riot of kids to soccer practice. Mom doesn’t need a lot of HP or handling… she needs room for soccer balls and groceries along with seat belt warnings and multiple cameras. For saaaaaaafety! 😀

      I’ve been trying to teach myself to learn to like SUV/crossovers because almost every damn car is now one of ’em. Ugh. They’re so retarded. I hate ’em so much but at least lots and lots of ’em still have an engine.

      I guess the SQ5 is the cooler version of the Mexican Audi. I never drove one. I don’t think you’re missing out on anything good there. Why not an A5/S5 or A7/S7? You have all those wonderful choices across the pond!

  5. Somewhat off topic but how is Wokecar/ Nascar supposed to survive the change to electric or boosted mini engines? No more moaning V8s circling the tracks? Is the Dukes of hazard reboot going to feature two two non-binary guys from the Big bang theory driving a Prius with the trans flag on the hood?

    • Morning, Mark!

      NASCAR is a weird thing. A race series premised on “stock” production cars representing the various American automakers that hasn’t featured a race car based even loosely on any American production car in decades and which now goes so far as to include absurdities such as Toyota Camry “coupes” with rear-drive and V8 engines. They are the automotive analog of Lia Thomas – fakes, in other words.

      The racing itself, also. Highly regimented and based on personalities. The cars are so similar I cannot grok how anyone could be interested in the outcome. I can see going to a race and getting drunk and throwing fried chicken bones at the track, like I did back in the day.

      But otherwise?

      I’d rather watch a re-run of a ’70s Daytona 500.

      • Eric – what do you make of F1? I mean it’s so overrun by European bureaucrats it’s almost depressing at times. Infact the last season I watched properly was the one where The Brawn team came up with the double diffusers and surprised everyone and won the title. Sad as it sounds it was more a feat of lawyering than engineering which drove the breakthrough which won them the title….

  6. I have a twelve year old grandson who LOVES to drive my ’73 CJ5 with power nothing and a three speed transmission. I have a twenty two year old grandaughter who asked if she could drive my ’84 F-150 with straight six and four speed manual transmission. I encourage them to drive and enjoy them, as I will do with my other grandkids. Make it fun for them in some way to get them excited about it.

    • Excellent, AMNTRAT!

      I have also corrupted the youf in the same manner. A ride in the Great Pumpkin, for instance. My niece begins to see the light. When she comes for a visit this summer, I am going to let her drive it (God help me). My buddy’s kid nephew got into old VWs because of me, too.

      I rub my hands together like Emperor Palpatine…

    • Same here. My 16 yo son recently got his “license” to drive…of course he has been driving our F-250 with a trailer full of lawn mowers for a couple of years now.

      He is now buying that F-250 diesel to replace the 5-speed 1994 Mazda truck that was given to him by a friend…his only complaint is that the diesel isn’t a manual.

  7. I agree the cars today are ugly and appliance-like. But… do an image search of “city street 1950” and just look at all of the vehicles. They are all the same style/shape! The only difference is in the driving force of the style, government or free market.

    Government decreed styling tends toward the safety of the bland, while free market driven style tends toward the risky unique. Risky because the market may reject your new outlandish designs! And this concept of trial and failure/success of new ideas is gone due to government.

    My middle finger extends to them in the form of driving my older, paid off, well maintained cars for years and years and years. When they outlaw my cars, I’ll still drive em.

    • There’s a guy near me that has acres of old cars, tractors, and other motorized history one can go see on the weekends and a lot of the old vehicles look plain and boring. There are many forgotten makes/models that only survive there because someone “rescued” them and put them out to pasture.

  8. There was a great segment on Top Gear when James May and Richard Hammond discussed a fleet of crossovers that they were supposed to review. They went to the dry erase board, said they all drive the same and called it a day.

    My Baby Boomer parents have a Highlander and a Ridgeline (a crossover with a small bed) and driving those two vehicles is the same: nice but boring. My parents were never car people even though they love purchasing a new car every 3 or 4 years and always were critical when I had “fun” cars like my Prelude, the Firebird and my beloved Mk. IV Supra, which isn’t for sale at any price.

    My father in particular always told me “cars are for going from Point A to Point B” even though he always had to have leather and gadgets in every car he’s owned since my childhood. He tried desperately to talk me out of purchasing that Supra (that was poorly repaired from a collision and took lots of work to restore to factory fit and finish) when I didn’t have a lot of money and also tried to convince me to sell it when I fell on hard times (I kept it despite my lack of money).

    When I complained about crossovers putting me to sleep behind the wheel, he complained about the heavy clutch (it’s not heavy at all, really) and the tight quarters of the Supra in the two times he’s driven it. He also said it was loud and the steering was heavy. Psssssh.

    Crossovers are the ultimate vehicle designed for people like my parents who abhor fun behind the wheel. They like a nice, comfortable ride on the interstate, decent MPG with enough acceleration to merge with traffic. I’ve cautioned them that the new turbos designed for manufacturers to cheat on the EPA mileage testing loop that doesn’t resemble driving reality don’t deliver on their mileage claims and are likely going to blow up at the 100k mile mark like the ones on my Sonata did.

    The shame of it is that the number of people like us who enjoy driving fun cars are declining by the day. That’s why the crossover is so ubiquitous. I hate them with every fiber of my being and will never drive one. If I’m going to have a truck, it better be body-on-frame with a naturally aspirated V-8 by God.

    • I have a WRX, and at 235,000 miles, the turbo still works, albeit, with the high mileages, it will wear out first-and is wearing out. Then again, I did not try to tinker with it, as a lot of guys up here do, and blow up their engines, or ruin the turbo in the process. I figured I would leave well-enough alone, and in return, have gotten many good years of running.

  9. Eric, I’ve been working on some automotive self driving tech for a few years, and as part of that, I’ve seen the regulatory shackles that automotive companies are forced to wear. Today, the shape of a car is dictated by a set of of safety standards, which covers things like the acceptable slopes of windshields, locations of glass, the size and angle of front and rear overhangs, placement of lights, strength of pillars, roof, etc. So, leeway here is small. Next, you have fuel efficiency mandates, which amount to requiring the best aerodynamics possible, so within this acceptable design “envelope” of shape, you need to minimize drag, and so, there’s really only way to do that, and all cars end up being the same.

    This is the reason we have 2.0L 4-cylinders (or basically 0.5l per cylinder, so 2.0L 4-cyl or 3.0L 6-cyl, it’s the efficiency sweet spot).

    These cars have to survive 5x their weight on their roof, so they have terrible visibility, so they need good cameras. The hoods must be high for pedestrian safety in collisions and shaped to throw the pedestrian on top, the rear lights must be on fixed bodywork, so only optional lights on an opening tailgate.

    If I was a car company owner, I’d rage quit making cars and open a chain of torch and pitchfork stores near regulatory agencies.

    • Hi OL –

      Yup; I’m hip!

      I’ve said for decades now (man, I am getting old) that the car companies ought to have resisted… decades ago. Just gone on strike or refused or engaged in sabotage/end runs of the sort Pontiac famously did with the ’73-’74 SD-455 engine.

      Never comply with evil. You will never be free of evil.

      • I am sure I mentioned this before, it was after the fight against airbags where the auto manufacturers lost their will to fight and became one with the beast in my opinion. It was the last real fight they put up. The automakers were in the right to fight tooth and nail against the airbag mandate. Their data showed how the unbelted average male standard would kill people. The government didn’t care. The compliant media cast the automakers as evil wanting people to die. The end result was of course the automakers were correct. They had abandoned airbags in the early 1970s and had good reason to. But idiot know nothings like Claybrook and Nader pressed on anyway.

        I think it broke their spirits somehow. The government was willing to kill children with these airbags and when that happened the government avoided all responsibility. The government even prosecuted parents because the children were in front seats or in pickups with no rear seat.

        Then the regulations started making the bigger automakers money, increasing the price of cars, hurting smaller automakers.

        That was it.

        • Morning, Brent –

          Yup – and I had a front-row seat. I saw the culture shift within the corporate hierarchy from one of the contempt and resistant to one of mewling, apologizing obeisance. The VW thing being the worst example of how bad it’s gotten. I think it’s just for this reason that the business is now dominated by the the worst sort of virtue-signaling opportunist types such as Barra at GM, for instance. Compare such a person with giants like Ed Cole, Henry Ford II and Iacocca.

    • ‘If I was a car company owner, I’d rage, quit making cars and open a chain of torch and pitchfork stores near regulatory agencies.’ — OppositeLock

      Opposite Lock describes the characteristics of any mature, heavily-regulated oligopoly. Banking and public utilities are other examples.

      In such industries, offerings to consumers differ only in trivial details. Innovations come mainly from outside sources, and are actively resisted by the club of insiders who don’t want their sleepy, predictable market shares disrupted.

      As a kid, I wanted to be a car designer when I grew up. If I were a kid today, I’d rather grow up to design weapons that could pound woke, gov-whipped global auto makers to dust.

      Make them cry; make them die.

    • So again, the message seems to be either secede and manufacture, or start declaring vehicular manufacturing “sanctuary” states, cities and counties. I’m for trying the latter, and seeing where that goes. Worked out well for pot.

  10. Re: the kids not driving: I’m not sure it’s the seat belts. I took “driver ed” in the summer of 1970, and cars all had seat belts by then (although the shoulder belt was separate and considered optional). Along with all my contemporaries, I was completely eager to get the driver’s license. About a year later, I was driving a 1960 Plymouth Valiant that didn’t have seat belts, and I got T-boned by a briskly-moving pickup truck, resulting in my breaking the windshield with my melon, taking a brief nap, and waking up a bit later, sitting in some Good Samaritan’s car and wondering what the hell had happened. This gave me a proper appreciation of seat belts (but NOT seat belt laws), but didn’t make me the least bit hesitant to drive. Something else, I think, has pussified the kids. Might be the car-seat thing, maybe.

    • I learned to drive in the late 80’s, when everything had a seatbelt, and it didn’t bother me one bit.

      What I was able to do back then was work a couple of summers, buy a cheap used car, and call it my own, and I had no cell phone or internet to connect with my friends remotely, so we always met somewhere in person. This is all different today; cars are super expensive, complex, so you can’t fix them yourself, and people constantly exchange videos and texts rather than being idiots somewhere in person, together.

    • Why did we drive? It was fun. We got to see the friends that were to far to walk or bike to.
      We got to be free from our parents, go on dates, or go to parties.

      But we didn’t have much at home. No AC, no cable, there was no internet. Nothing for a teenager to do.

      Life is different for teens now. To me I see them as babied and coddled. Home has every possible comfort and convenience. Friends are a click away, endless sites and videos on the Internet. Food can even be delivered.

      But mostly, we didn’t have rules upon rules, ready to be enforced by a cop around every corner. We could hang out at parks after dark and if caught, the cops would tell us to scram. That’s about as bad as it got.

      Once I got my permit, two week later I had my license. No more. 6 months, drive at night, bad weather, required number of hours.

      Maybe there is no incentive & plenty of disincentive.

  11. I don’t ascribe it to conspiracy as much as much as lighter versions of the CR-V and RAV4 with AWD having been popular with my generation (X-er) 10-15 years ago which resulted in lots of imitators even as the vehicles gained weight due to Uncle.

    Right now, I believe the manufacturers are missing out on sales by not having *real* small trucks with simple drivetrains and minimal gadgetry on the market for $20,000. The Maverick doesn’t count because it isn’t a real truck and none of the drivetrains are simple.

    Am I wrong in assuming Ford sells those in Mexico with just the 4 cylinder engine, no hybrid/turbo bolted on?

  12. All these crossovers look like station wagons of yore; my first car was actually a ‘57 Ford station wagon, not very sexy but extremely practical for carrying stuff.

  13. I’m often overwhelmed by the absurdity of our recently acquired form of government called Bureaucracy. It used to be an aspect of our government, that has now become its form. That some unelected delusional psychopath has “authority” to determine what we need, and are allowed to have, and how we are allowed to use it.
    The republic has failed, largely because it has been erased. Turning individual sovereign States into submissive provinces. Time to start afresh.

  14. I was looking at a couple of old photos recently; one was from high school (Campolindo HS-78, Calif) and the other was a snap from a rock concert in Oakland *Day on the Green* back in the day-late 70’s. We were all young, thin, tan, athletic. Sure, there was the occasional over-weight type but that was unusual not the norm. We all couldn’t wait to get our drivers licenses because that meant freedom. Freedom to go to the beach, cruise the main and or find girlfriends. We worked at jobs after school to pay for the parts to put into our Camaro’s and Mach 1’s which were affordable used cars (even during Jimmy Carter’s stagflation) because there was so many available. Even during the gas crisis, we switched to motorcycles and Datsun 510’s and Datsun Roadsters for hot rods (still have my 69 2000 Roadster) (Wish I kept my 70 Mach 1).

    Those were the best of times.

  15. I see a lot of tattooed and pierced (expressing individuality?) driving the homogenous crossovers. Some even tattoo the car with stickers. Maybe the federales haven’t completely stripped us of our humanity (even tho tattoos are trashy, imho).

    • My problem with tattoos is that the color, and its intensity fades. Rather quickly. But NEVER goes away. They always end up looking like so much mud smeared upon one.

      • Hi John,

        I’m bored with tattoos. Everyone – just about – has one. They have lost the outlaw quality they once had and are now just another sign of conformity to trendiness, like scruff beards.

        It’s more rebellious today to be unmarred by “ink” and to be clean-shaven.

        • Ha so true!!! I see some of these people with tattoos, full arm sleeves, I laugh. They think they’re tough but how can they be? They’re 132 lbs of 2nd rate soy. The female versions are usually pushing 200 lbs, but I digress. Speaking of 2nd rate…Teslas and EVs are trash and I make sure I tell everyone about it too. Horrible cars, and even worse for the environment.

          • Excellent, Unvaxxed!

            I always thought – and still do – that you should be a biker, a sailor or a criminal to have a tattoo (if male). If not, then don’t. It annoys the bikers, sailors and criminals.

          • Combing your hair, shaving everyday, not being “sleeved out, guaged” and tucking your shirt in is the new punk rock.
            Once 30 something soccer moms started getting tats it was no longer fringe.

            Yes crossovers are lame.

  16. It’s a two way street. Once the “big three” – actually the big two (Ford and GM) and a third (Chrysler) – had eliminated all the other manufacturers (AMC was too small to survive once the Japanese entered the US market, especially after losing government contracts), The only way for growing the bottom line was to cut costs. Move production to Canada, check. Reduce parts count, check. Automation, check. Eventually they have to cut back on actual products. GM got so bad in the 1990s when you couldn’t tell the difference between a debadged Caprice and a Fleetwood from the side. Government decree just makes it easier to do by making the regulator the scapegoat. But company managers are all beholden to their stock options incentive plan, and that means the customer isn’t you, it’s the Wall St investment banks. And they’re hard to please when they want to be. So you bland out the product line and hope that everyone else does, too. You consolidate production, cut costs even more, and try to squeeze the dealers. All to get an extra penny of EPS for the quarter.

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