In 2002 there was a bit of an uproar over the Unimog -- it was the ultimate in SUVs, the peak of suburban decadence, a threat to all other vehicles in the road! The idea of soccer moms driving a vehicle that dwarfs a Hummer was both amusing and frightening. Safety experts, economists, and pundits all had plenty to say.

It never happened. The Unimog looks like a large service vehicle -- a flatbed, unless you buy the enclosed version, in which case it looks like a delivery van. They were sold by the same dealerships that sold heavy trucks (big rigs, not Hummers), and they were most certainly not aimed at suburban middle-class families. They were tractors built to look like a truck. They were not something anyone wanted to drive to the grocery store.

After five years Americans had bought only 184 Unimogs, and Freightliner removed them from their American dealerships. They are still sold overseas, and are still not anything like an American SUV.