Still, even if anti-SUV activists can't seem to understand the inherent contradiction in vilifying SUVs for being big and heavy and wasteful of fuel, but reverig minivans and trucks, at least corporate America has a clue. Or should I say, corporate Japan:
"For some time during the 1990s, our product planners in Japan resisted creating a big V-8 pickup for sale in America, but our U.S. colleagues changed this opinion. How? By inviting them to a Dallas Cowboys football game," Cho said.
"On the way to the game, the Americans took the Japanese on an extended tour of the Texas Stadium parking lot. Spread before them were thousands upon thousands of full-size pickup trucks, row after shining row. Our planners realized then that American pickups were not solely commercial vehicles but widely used by everyone for regular transportation. The result was the Toyota Tundra."
The common argument that SUVs are "image vehicles" bought by egregious consumers for single commuters is absurdly false, though bandwagon critics like Keith Bradsher, Greg Easterbrook, or Arianna Huffington still rely on it as their central argument. The actual vehicle of choice for the Wasteful Commuters is the pickup truck.
Of course, some people buy trucks for legitimate reasons, like hauling, farmig, construction, etc. Just as there are people buying SUVs for image. But the point is that the opposoite is also true in each case. The focus of anti-SUV advocates on SUV's negative users, but ignoring the negative usage of trucks, is a blind spot that exists solely because SUV hatred is an a-priori religious belief, to which facts must be bent towards, rather than a rational conclusion drawn from all data.
UPDATE: Thomas of Newsrack agrees with Easterbrook, arguing:
The real points against SUVs are that they deserve none of the free regulatory ride they've been getting, and they are a disproportionate danger to *other* drivers on the road. Easterbrook may have padded his article with atmospherics about intimidating design and so forth, but I suspect even here he's got a point, just not one that is easily verified. I would bet that you'd find SUV drivers are consuming their sense of collision safety with more aggressive driving habits, rather than simply reveling in Junior's added safety back there in his child seat. But I wouldn't know how you could go about proving it. I just feel like I see it on a daily basis.
The entire SUV fervor is indeed highly subjective, agreed. I address his point in his comments section, and he responded, its worth visiting Thomas's blog in general so i won't summarize that discussion here. Go read him! But my response is that his call for regulatory or policy decisions to minimize SUVs are then equally reasonable for trucks and minivans. There is simply no argument that can be applied to SUVs alone that ignores all other vehicles above the weight class of a Camry.