reasons for developing SUV

what exactly were the reasons for developing the SUV in the U.S ? i mean, how many people actually need the size and power of an SUV ? was the target group created by the motor companies or were the particular ‘drivers’ already in existence and ready for this product ?

interested in your opinions…

only idiots buy suvs. so the japanese figured there’re a lot of them in US.

Uh, unless you actually USE what they were origionally designed to do.

Pull trailers
Pull boats
Go “off” pavement, ie need low gear 4x4
Pull stumps
and so on

I drive a 4x4 small truck, and I use it for what is was designer to do. Most of the US population does not need an SUV. They need station wagons, but that is not “cool”.

%99.9 of the suvs i see in california are not only empty of passengers they aren’t pulling anything.

it’s designed for american middle class that has some extra money they don’t know what to do with.

funny thing is that %80 of the cars i see on highway travelling are normal passenger cars not suvs. the rest are trucks, big and small.

[quote=“ufo”]%99.9 of the suvs i see in california are not only empty of passengers they aren’t pulling anything.

it’s designed for american middle class that has some extra money they don’t know what to do with.

funny thing is that %80 of the cars i see on highway travelling are normal passenger cars not suvs. the rest are trucks, big and small.[/quote]

True, and most of the time you will not see a boat behind mine. But 2-3 days a week it does. Does that mean I do not use it for what it is for? I have to own a truck to pull a 5,000lb trailer. Trust me, I drive my wife’s car as much as I can. We take it everywhere. If I was not inton PWC and boating, I would have a car. They are more fun to drive.

But lets not get started on the three two stroke motors I own… :open_mouth:

Lack of self-confidence?

i’m not pushig for a guilt trip. just saying what suvs are from my own experience.

SUV’s offer the sense of safety that many small cars lack. It is the whole I am bigger than you mentality. Thisnk about this, 75% of all interstate travel is conducted by Long Haul Rigs (Semi-tractor and trailer rigs) weighing in excess of 80,000 lbs. The addes size both height and weight increase the average commuters sence of security/serviveability when on the interstates. They also serve the perpose of allowing socer moms to drive “cool” cars and not be refined to the stationwagan or minivan. The makers of SUV’s saw a desire, not a need. The capitalized on it, and it is here to stay like it or not.

Only problem is no they have become a status symbol, were people who have no need for these vehicals…single pop stars.

I might be a bit scewed in view though as I have a 03 Hemi powered Ram 1500 Quad cab (with 6 inch lift) in the parking lot. But it is covered nose to tail in good-old midwestern clay/mud, with two of my mountain bikes mounted to the custom rack. I guess you could say I use it as any Off-Road enthusiast would use thier truck…mine just happends to seat six adults comfortably.

Some good thoughts here. I hope everyone was able to see Frontline: The Persuaders last Tuesday, if not, watch it online.

The SUV tapped into alot of Ameriican emotions. One that has been discussed here is either a fear of accidents or the positive feeling of power that comes with driving a large vehicle. I think that also the feelings of independence, and adventure are high in an SUV. They look back to the tough covered wagons that were used to explore the vast American west. Note: SUVs are most popular in the Southwest and also that they use names like “navigator”, “Explorer” and “Trailblazer” names which create images of adventure and also names like “Durango”…clearly linking an SUV with those American tradition of exploration and expansion.

Denial is another possible factor that comes into buying an SUV. We have been fed a constant stream of doomsday predictions about oil and pollution for 20-30 years. Many people today don’t want to add an environmental doomsday in with all of the other problems of their life, so in order to prove that it won’t happen, they drive something so polluting and inefficient in order to show this belief - as though to say, “if global warming or an oil shortage were really possible, how could I drive this thing?”.

The simple thing to always keep in mind is that, other than Mr. Spock, no one buys something because of logic. The SUV is simply a reflection of their buyers needs + a healthy dose of their dreams and/or worries. See my other post:

for more info.

My take on it is as follows:

Premise 1:
Americans like big cars. Even though 5 days a week it hauling air, they like it for that one Saturday a month they go camping/surfing/shopping… whatever. Just a simple cultural obsevation, I have a very small car, but I am also not the average consumer, I doubt many of you are either, so it is logical that it is difficult for us to understand, none the less, this is premise 1.

Premise 2:
most passenger cars reduced in size, power, and for some odd reason design, after the oil crisis of the 1970’s


With a lack of vehicles that fit premise 1, the American car buyer addopted a vehicle that wasn’t designed for their purposes but fit the premise (kind of like how indie artists wear chuck taylors: the origional ultimate on court performance basketball shoe), or how the urban consumer has adopted the timberland 6" feild boot - who’d duck hunting in NYC?). The consumer has adopted it and become comfortable with it, but recognizes it is not truly practical. My hypothesis is here is where a lot of rationalization comes in the form of “I feel safer” and other arguments, that are esily reutable with some simple math: 25oo extra lbs x 60mph = not safer)

So here’s the thing, about 75% of people that buy SUV’s don’t buy another one when they trade it in. Hopefully most people will transition to a vehicle that meets their needs, say a Dodge Magnum wagon, or at least a car based CUV, leaving the SUV’s to the people that want to haul cargo and gear off road.

I think it is an obvious case study for the huge market need for design and not just styling (or worse, not even good styling, just bad American engineering standards and brand marketing)

Autombile purchases are rarely based on need. Infact studies have proven that upwards of 90% of the descision making process involved in choosing a car, truck, or SUV if IMAGE based. That is why they have the largest $ amount spent on marketing to a speciffic demographic.

When you were 16 what did you want?..Fast Flashy car the chicks would dig.

Its all about image, not practiclity. If it practicality fell into the equation there would be no Porche, Lambo, Ferrari, Vector, Salleen, Hummer,etc. So why even argue the point. The image factor will change in a few years, next should be hybird sports cars…watch and see

Have you checked to see what the best selling cars are lately? Same as they have been for over a decade: Camry, Accord, Carola, Tauras, yeah those babies are all image. :open_mouth:

On the truck end you’re looking at the F150, the Explorer, the Trail Blazer. Not much better than the car list. You’re really working that image rolling up on the Starbucks in that creaking, weazing Chevy Blazer.

What people want isn’t the same as what they buy, or what they say they would buy. Focus group 101. While a porsche may stir something in the collective unconcious of us all, few of us pony up at the dealer. A shame, if you are going to drop 30k on something you loath, why not pop 45k for something you’ll love and get better resale from?

actully SUVs are all about hitting the loser in the prius and totalling his car in a 10mph collision

and of course the bitches

I think it’s a bad cycle between designers, consumers and marketers. It’s originally designed to tow stuff, etc. Some consumers see that it satisfies their egos in other ways and gets one for reasons it’s not designed for. Marketers then see that there are people buying them that aren’t towing etc and push the designers to make the new versions to cater to those “posers”.

You see the same thing in athletic gear. Sweatsuits made to keep athletes warm so they can get back on the field. Bon-Bon Mom sees they’re really comfortable so gets them to lounge around the house in. Marketers see increase in sales to that group. Then you end up with cheap sweatsuits designed out of crappy material that’s not intended for athletes but for loafers. Same for popular tennis shoes, boots, all kinds of things.

But I don’t think that just because other groups are misusing them and they’re in greater numbers, that it should take away from the true users. It’s just those damn marketing people always chasing the numbers that you end up with hot pink hummers and lexus suv’s that aren’t designed to see an ounce of mud.

i don’t think suvs will last long. i was in china few weeks ago and there wasn’t even one suv in sight.if china is the next big car market the suv is an extinct species.

So SUV owners wish to project a certain image or lifestyle w/ the cars they drive - how’s that different from everyone else? In Portland, OR everyone drives a Subaru wagon - you can say the Subaru is the SUV of Portland. And VW’s are the SUVs for designers. And on and on…

China is an emerging car market, and should not have SUV’s yet. It will eventuially. Tiawan has only recently started to catch the SUV buzz. China will also. Maybe not as much as here.

The SUV and Pickup truck have a place in the market. There ARE reseons to own them. Does a majority of the people in the US market need them, no. They need to buy station wagons. There are people that will always need trucks, that is life.

I think there is a bigger problem in the US. Everyone is concerned about fuel econmony. Why are there not more manual transmissions? They get a few mpg more by self shifting. Everyone drives slush box autos. No there is a quick and easy way to get better mpg. :open_mouth:

Totally agree with you man. Really I don’t know where people get off judging other people’s purchasing decisions. It’s their choice to spend the money how they see fit, as designers I think its our job to provide people with options and solutions, not to dictate what people buy and how they should use it. As skinny pointed out, companies are responding to a market demand, if their was no intrest in it, they wouldn’t be producing them. Somehow it became cool to bash people for driving them but the fact of the matter is SUV’s will be around as long as people keep buying them. Simple economics. I’ll keep driving small sports cars and rationalizing their speed and agility (and my driving) as the ability to avoid accidents.

What the industry, any freaking industry for that matter, should be focusing on is trying to figure out what the next thing is, instead of getting all wrapped up in facelifing the same tired concepts over and over (new grand cherokee) or coming to the party super late (buick raineer).

You got to love the old wood paneled grand wagoneer don’t you?

Basic physics says that heavy objects have more inertia than lighter ones, therefore, human body goes through more stress during collision. What really ticks me off are the KEEP TAHOE BLUE stickers on SUVs - hypocrites!

In the US is the feelgood factor. First of all it’s safety second of all it’s the idea of a big adventure while you speed between your office and home. It’s big and we are just in love with big things, look at the cars from the 50’s. While Europeans were making cars half the size with the exception of Russia. So here we are 50 years later going back to fat cars for fat people so we can feel better about ourselves. I am not skinny nor fat but I checked and I am overweight. SUPERSIZE!!! That’s the word of today! Oh by the way the new DURANGO… the ugliest SUV on the market it makes the AZTEC look good. No I take that back it makes it look better.