People's sense of worth has, among other ways, been determined by automobiles since their introduction into society outside of the elite. The increased popularity of SUV's in today's market simply shows a shift in value in regard to what the consumer feels is desired, required, and appealing. You could likely talk to any auto sales rep who was responsible for the marketing of any vehicle in any era and they can tell you that their work was guided by the dictates of what consumers want.

Because there is such a specific, scientific approach to car advertising and target buyers, I can't help but dislike the direction consumers are headed. But at the same time, SUV's aren't any more the epitome of the American mind set than the Camaro, Mustang or other models that go back 30 years or more.

The popularity of the SUV is contingent upon the fact that its drivers are so diverse, more now than when oversized vehicles like these first came out. While many have legitimate reasons for owning SUV's, most do not and don't think they have to legitimize such a potential unecessary and audacious purchase. What few reasons they give are perpetuated by fears, some that are quite legitimate and others that are perpetuated in all the ways in which the average consumer gets his information: the media, salesmen, word of mouth, experiences of other car owners, ignorance by lack of ability to research, etc.

The issues surrounding SUV's are neither black nor white but it is very easy to slip into stereotypical mindsets. I do it myself. I fix SUV's all day long and often get annoyed at how clueless their owners can be. But since I do not have much say or control with regard to popular trends of such size and weight, all I can do is keep my eyes open for them when I'm driving, since I own a Festiva and they likely can't even see me.

ATTENTION: SUV OWNER SAYS LOOK AT ME!

It doesn't make me feel important. If it did, I wouldn't feel the need to justify. I could ignore the insults and tirades that I get and go about my merry business feeling Self-important.

I own one because I was required to transport up to eight kids at any given time. I own one because I prefer to travel to other places via camping and have yet to see a car up to the challenge of transporting a trailer. I own one because the weather where I lived was such that owning a four wheel drive vehicle was a necessity. I did not own it for the prestige, the feeling of power, the feeling of increased worth, the exhorbitant car payments, the joy of filling the tank, the delight of my tax bill or the pleasure of other drivers flipping me off as they passed me on the road. I own it because I needed it.

That said, I will not be owning it shortly because I no longer need it. I no longer have eight kids to shuttle around, camping has lost its appeal, and I live in a less challenging climate for driving.

I need a vehicle that will give me the illusion of greater worth and power. I need one that says, HEY LOOK AT ME! I wonder what other vehicle I can get to fit my needs and STILL give me the pleasure of being flipped off...maybe a Punch-a-buggy?

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