Monday, February 14, 2005

Defending the World

Jeremy Hart's article on the Land Rover Defender and its importance in Africa is not only fascinating, but very telling of how most automotive companies approach the American market. Outside of the United States, the Defender is one of the world's great work-horses. Whether it be a fire truck, an ambulance, armored for peace-keeping, or simply on the farm, the Defender is not only transportation, but a necessity in the lives of millions. Here in the U.S., the utilitarian simplicity, dependable off-road ability, and rugged nature of the Defender turned it into a suburban show piece. Before Land Rover was forced to pull the Defender, it marketed the SUV as a quasi-luxury vehicle for those desperate to prove their macho-ness in a caramel macchiato world. While the rest of the world was able to and still is able to choose from a wide variety of wheel bases, engines, and body style, Americans got cup holders. These icons deserved better.

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