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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Alpha Betta Kappa

GM is going to be making use of their new Kappa platform according to this article. They're going to go ahead with the Nomad, a modern remake of the 1950s station wagon. To me it's a mistake.

Before SUVs became a big deal, every suburban mother had a wood panelled American station wagon. Station wagons had more cargo space than a car, or a truck, and they were perfect for towing the kids. Then SUVs came, and though they didn't have more cargo space, they SEEMED to have more cargo space, and they replaced station wagons dominance.

To bring back station wagons, is attempting to force people into something they're trying to escape from. It's also Bob Lutz's attempt to Europeanize the GM lineup. Europeans love luxury station wagons, like Americans love luxury SUVs. Europeans also love hatchbacks. Americans hate hatchbacks, look at the sales of the Civic SI, and they view station wagons as effeminate, as well as big hatchbacks. It won't cut it.

That's not to say that Americans don't love European vehicles. They do. But more than that, they love the character and status that owning a European vehicle brings. A station wagon brings a status as well, that of a dowdy housewife. The nomad will probably be sold as something slick and cool, but Americans won't see it that way. It will fail, like the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix failed before it. A station wagon/hatchback, is just that, not some cool Euro/retro new car form.

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