Today’s Sunday Times has a piece on how fuel prices are affecting how Americans perceive their own cars. Are they a mode of transportation? Or are they an important statement about a person? It seems like the idea of the “dream car” is being sacrificed to save money:
Can you love your Prius the way you once gave your heart to a 4Runner or a luxury sedan?
Increasingly, for many, the question is moot.
“I’m willing to not love it,” said Justin McCarthy, 43, a public relations executive from Long Beach, Calif., who is considering replacing his 10-year-old Volvo with a hybrid.
Americans have long seen cars as a fashion statement.. a reflection on the driver.
For many drivers, their cars are an extension of themselves, displayed as fashion or an accessory.
“You wear your car like you wear a Ralph Lauren suit,” said Clotaire Rapaille, an anthropologist and psychiatrist known as the car shrink, whose company, Archetype Discoveries Worldwide, studies consumer preferences.
While it’s certainly possible to be proud of a train as well, it’s a very different kind of pride. Americans are used to viewing their transportation as a matter of personal pride, whereas an amazing train elicits more of a feeling of civic pride. It’s that last quality that’s lacking when our government fails to allocate the necessary resources to our intercity and metropolitan rail serivces.