January 20, 2010
I came to this conclusion several years ago. I had three young daughters in elementary school, and they all wanted to go with Daddy whenever Daddy wanted to go somewhere. We owned a Suburban back then. It was very useful for hauling the kids, the dog, and half of Costco when we went shopping. But it got really poor gas mileage. And it maneuvered as well as the S.S. Minnow on dry land, too. Daddy wanted a pickup truck. But I didn't have the money to afford a huge, four-door, full-size pickup. Like the ones I saw hauling construction workers all over Phoenix. And these pickups were just cut-down Suburbans, really. Same wheelbase...Then, on a national news report, I saw the solution. Small, four-door pickups! The story was about Mexico. In it, the story showed all these Federales piled into four-door Toyota Hi-Luxes, screaming down dusty streets, in pursuit of who-knows-what. But it struck me. There was the answer to my problem. Why couldn't us Americans get our hands on those trucks? This was before the Internet was invented, and popularized, by Al Gore, so I had to do my research manually. I soon learned that four-door pickups were sold in EVERY country in the world EXCEPT the USA. This knowledge made me fume. It was so obvious to me. These were the perfect vehicles for, gosh, nearly everyone. What situation could NOT use a four-door pickup? Maybe a single, hapless, partner-less sad sack of a man living at home with his mommy! How many of those guys are out there?! Everyone else could use one of these. A four-door pickup is like a high-riding sedan with a HUGE uncovered trunk! And, if you wanted to, you could fix the uncovered problem with a fiberglass lid, or a camper shell! What's not to like? Soon after cooling off, I discovered it was time for the annual car show here in town. So, I asked the manufacturers' reps (the ones that hide in the back of the booths, trying to be unobtrusive) for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge why they didn't sell four-door pickups here in the USA. Their universal answer: Research had shown there wasn't a market for them. This must have been the same research firms that said that the AMC Pacer was sure thing, or that the Edsel would be a huge hit. I also quizzed the Toyota and Datsun reps. They said they would love to sell them here, but their dealers didn't want them. Unbelievable. I gave up, them and there. I couldn't believe the collective shortsightedness of these people. I don't remember who brought out the first small or midsize four-door truck, or when. It was too late. We bought an MR2 and a four door sedan. Which is probably what Detroit wanted us to do, anyway. They got two times the money. And, later down the road, I finally got my four-door truck. A Dodge Dakota Quad Cab. And later than that, a Chevy Colorado Crew Cab. I kept the Colorado after the girls grew up and moved on to their own lives. It's still the perfect vehicle for Dad. Especially when the girls need help moving, or many other, myriad things. Thanks, car makers, for finally waking up and giving us what we want. Years late!
The Car ConnectionSee the winners »
The Car Connection
People who read this also read
The Car Connection Daily Headlines