Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall of an American Icon

An era passed this week, one in which I was part of. Pontiac ceased to exist as a brand and a company. I grew up in the era of the muscle car. Pontiac started it all with the GTO and along came the next wave following after. It was a great time to have a fun car. But things change and what was fun then isn't fun now.

I read an article recently as to how the younger generations are not loyal to car brands. Back in my formative years there were really only the U.S. brands to choose from. Other than the VW bug there were not practical or affordable autos from other countries. Cars from companies such as Mercedes were (and still are for me) too expensive to afford. British cars couldn't be driven more than a month without a major repair and the offerings from Asian makers didn't hold up to the style and power of the American cars. Oh how times have changed.

Today's prime targets for automakers don't look at cars the same way I did, and to some extent still do. I use vehicles in the functional process such as just getting to work and hauling things to and fro. In years past the upgrades that were 'cool' were wheel covers, stereos and adding a tach to the dashboard. And if you really wanted to go on the edge you hooked up fog lights. Back then they weren't driving lights. I still own a twelve year old Isuzu that does what I need it to do. (And would look really cool with a set of fog lights).

As this blog should indicate, I understand the interconnected world. I try to move forward with it as best as I am able. But when does technology for technology's sake just not make sense. I have no interest in a car that 'syncs', parks itself or has a spot to drop in an iPod. Those extras have no value for me. These are the upgrades that appeal to the new generation of buyers, not a rambling fifty year old man. Sure, kids are likely cooler than I ever was.

It is a techie generation and it is the gadgets that the car buyers will flock to in the future. Our fathers purchased cars because their fathers purchased the same ones. Dear old uncle Herb would only own a Buick, I guess even if that same Buick fell apart as he drove down the highway. Todays buyers simply have more and better choices than we did growing up.

Still, I don't understand the appeal of the rice rockets that power away sounding like someone farting in a tin can. It just doesn't do it for me when I hear the deep rumble of a Mustang. I think I'll go to the parts store this week. I heard fog lights were on sale.

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