Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Slew of Subarus? Who Knew?

The very first new car I ever bought—In Brattleboro, Vermont, back in 1973—was a wimpy little yellow Subaru DL sedan. I paid $2459 for it. I remember lamenting that its engine was the same size as that of a large-ish motorcycle.

Subarus have come a long ways. Now every time I visit Vermont, I’m struck by the staggering number of them—old and new—I see on the roads and streets.

I’m guessing Subarus, with their relatively small models and across-the-line four-wheel drive, resonate with not just practical needs—the snow, the mud, the rugged landscapes, the small-town and rural digs of many Vermonters—but also their values—love of the outdoors, respect for the environment, an appreciation of scale, responsible consumerism—and perhaps even, as touted in Subaru’s marketing, LOVE.

       The choice of a car is a statement, part 
       of the uniform we wear to show the world 
       our stripes.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a tremendous surge in the number of Subarus plying the streets of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / St. Paul MN). I wondered if it was just my imagination—or perhaps a self-reinforcing result of my leaning toward a Subaru for my own next car.

So yesterday, while out walking, I conducted my own little survey. I postulated that, if my theory bore out, I’d spot—among the 45 or so vehicle brands sold in
the U.S.—at least four Subarus in the time it took me to walk the eight blocks
back home.

I saw seventeen. And this morning, of the 30 or so cars parked in my office building’s west lot, seven are Subarus.

I decided to check out my theory, and I find—at, of all places,—a
list of the ten states where Subarus are most popular. No surprise to me: Vermont is number one. But among the other nine, Minnesota is nowhere to be seen.
           Might folks be at least trying to make 

           a modest, sensible choice?

So what’s going on? Are Subarus even more popular than I thought in the rest of the country? Has the apparent Subaru boom here in the Twin Cities happened so recently that it simply hasn’t yet made the iSeeCars list?

Perhaps it’s just my neighborhood; like maybe we’re sort of the Vermont of Twin Cities communities. I’ll keep my eyes open as I wander around the rest of the metro, but I suspect the phenomenon is widespread.

My reasoning might best be explained in its own post here, but I’ll bet it has something to do not just with consumers’ needs and the effectiveness of Subaru’s marketing, but with the mood of the nation in this bizarre, post-reason period in
our history.

Given how difficult it is to function in this culture without a car, might more
and more folks, given the paucity of practical alternatives, be at least trying to
make a modest, sensible choice—one that lays claim, symbolically as much as functionally, to their values in the face of the most sweeping attack by an administration on wise environmental stewardship seen in our lifetime?

After all, the choice of a car says a lot about a person. It involves much more than
a practical convergence of needs and features. It’s a statement of personality and beliefs, part of the uniform we wear to show the world our stripes.

The hopeful yet misguided Trump base can have their rattletraps and pickups. And the new oligarchy they’ve chosen to lead them—the only true beneficiaries of this regime’s largesse—can have their Range Rovers, Escalades and stretch limos.

Me? I have more concern and more hope for my grandchildren's future than that...and I’m secure with my masculinity; I’ll take that wimpy little Subaru.


Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting One Man's Wonder! I'd love to hear your comments on this post or my site in general.
And please stay in touch by clicking on "Subscribe" below.