Actually, Mark Morford's article here has a stinger in its tail. Morford ultimately concludes that the Hummer and the primitive consumer mindset it reflects are *not* dead at all, viz.:
"... despite the H2's apparent demise, despite $4 gallons of gas, despite a huge increase in sales of hybrids and the move toward alternative energy and despite all the talk of the 'greening' of America, sales of giant SUVs seem to be surging once again, just this year, after many months of slumping sales."
In fact, the nextgen macho-moronmobile could be even more execrable than the wide-ass Hummers that currently disgrace our streets. After all, the Humvee has lost cred as a Big-Swinging-Dick patrol vehicle, and the military is keen on getting a bigger, nastier vehicle in the field ASAP. The civilian marketplace is sure to follow suit pronto.
The Humvee's status -- both military and civilian -- has faded since the vehicle has presented such a sorry spectacle in its Iraq tour of duty. In its initial deployment, the vehicle was wrapped in thin metal sheeting that offered occupants as much protection against bullets and bombs as a tin pie plate. The huge Congressional hubbub that ensued resulted in retrofitting Humvees with armor. However, since the vehicles weren't designed for this modification, the heavy armor caused problems such as causing doors to jam shut, trapping occupants. "One quick fix to the jamming problem," says USA Today, "was to weld D-shaped hooks to Humvee doors so another truck could rip them off with a cable."
Clearly that solution lacks a certain elegance, and it begs the question that even the armored Humvees are no match for ever more effective IEDs. A true solution calls for what the US military does best -- spending billions of dollars on a whole new generation of equipment, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
Here's the kicker: These bunker-like MRAP vehicles cost $1 million *each*.
So, what price status for US automotive consumers who are military-wannabees keen on staying current with the latest Army fad? The Hummer that was introduced to the consumer marketplace was, at $50,000, a real bargain compared to the sticker-shock-and-awe that would be commanded by a civilianized MRAP vehicle . Even stripped of items that are de rigueur for firefights but de trop for picking up groceries, such as machine gun mounts, a civilian MRAP would cost a bundle -- say, $500,000 to $750,000. But it would offer an excellent way of maintaining contemporary American class distinctions on the highway. I would imagine that a Wall Street hedge fund manager driving an MRAP vehicle en route to the Hamptons could easily squash any of the pathetic losers who got in his way driving miserable little Hummers.
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