Keith Bradsher was a psychologist employed by the American automaker, Chrysler. His idea that the public views SUVs out of primitive identification with lizards and snakes, which means a desire for survival, has become the new design and mentality for the American SUV market. Not only is it used as a visual survival tool, but it is also used on the road as an intimidation factor.
Americans have become more fearful of crime. Although some statistics have shown crime has gone down, more violence has been added to television and video games that has distorted the American view. Also, people have become more concerned about their physical safety. The automakers have seen this and created the SUV to be as bulky as possible. People need to be bigger than everybody else on the road. If they are involved in an accident, they want to feel secure that they will be alright and the other person will be injured. During World War II, people first saw the SUV (Jeep). The public was stunned with how the vehicle could withstand abuse. This SUV helped symbolize safety and security. Many market researchers including Keith believe that people buy SUVs "because they are trying to look as menacing as possible to allay their fears of crime and other violence."(Bradsher 453).
Another idea that automakers came up with is a more aggressive front end and a nice cabin. Dodge was the first car company to put this idea to the test. The buyer wants a more masculine look. "SUVs are thus fitted with vertical metal slats in their grills (a tiger bearing teeth), flared wheels and fenders."(The Psychology
par 3) This more masculine design was used by all SUV makers. People love this look, because it represents a "get out of way or I'm going to run you over" mentality. Another addition the designers added was the home-like interior. The thought behind this is that if we were going into battle people want to look mean on the outside, but warm and cozy on the inside. These two ideas changed the...
Cited: Bradsher, Keith. "Reptile Dreams" Presence of Others. Ed. Andrea Lunsford
and John Ruszkiewicz. Boston: Bedford St. Martin 's, 2004, 450-457.
Logical Fallacies in SUV Advertising. 23 Nov. 2001. 13 Apr. 2006
The Psychology of the Consumer. 17 Aug. 2000. 13 Apr. 2006
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