Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Snooty Eco-Friendly People Mover Niche?

Here is Mickey Kaus with an idea for a new car:

"Wanted--A Brentwood EcoZoomBox: Here's a lucrative market niche none of the auto manufacturers seem to have spotted: There is a huge pent-up demand among the West Side L.A. parents I meet for a) a minivan, meaning something like a front-drive SUV but with a Honda-Elementish low floor and ride height; b) big enough to have 7 seats; c) hip enough for a mom to be able to drive it and get admiring glances; d) hybrid, in a way that advertises its hybridness to the world (meaning essentially that it would be available only as a a hybrid). It wouldn't have to get 40 m.p.g. It could get 22 m.p.g.--as long is it got certifiably better m.p.g. than the non-hybrid equivalent. The point isn't to save the planet so much as to advertise how the planet might be saved--not necessarily a hypocritical posture... Since top mileage would not be a requirement, it could also be e) fast. ... This combination seems eminently do-able, but there's nothing I see on the market now that fills the bill. The Prius meets (c) and (d) but not (a) or (b)."

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