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The Man Card and the Minivan

Recently, the Chicago Tribune printed an editorial about “Chrysler’s manly minivan.” In it, Chrysler’s vague rumblings about introducing a new contender, a man van, in the minivan category are discussed and dissed.

Here’s the rationale:
-It’s not macho enough.
-It’s not sporty enough.
-It’s not ballsy enough.

Never mind that SUVs effectively replaced minivans as the way to shuttle the family around. Never mind that with today’s technology Chrysler stands a good chance of producing a more fuel economic vehicle in this size vehicle class.

I guess this is why I’m into cars on the wrench-turning side of things rather than sitting down at the drawing board. I’m just too dang practical.

The minivan seems forever cast as the vehicle of soccer moms and even though it’s the 21st century this is the conversation we’re having.

I’m a proud VW owner but my Beetle is often referred to as a “girl car.” In my case, it’s true. The yellow Beetle is just so dang chipper I always have to do a double take whenever I see a man behind the wheel of one. But I wouldn’t classify the Beetle as an outright “girl car.”

It is compact but does petite stature necessitate such a designation? What about the MINI Cooper then? Or any other compact with aerodynamic design?

When I worked as a reporter in Georgia my co-worker and friend, Michael, also had a Beetle for which he received a trunkload of flak from our city point of contact. He went as far as to suggest revocation of Michael’s Man Card because of his “girl car.” To which Michael responded by driving to city hall in his 2001 Mustang Bullitt GT and promptly ending any future Beetle sass.

If Chrysler wants to roll out a minivan that appeals to the mass male market then there’s nothing a Ninja Mechanic to do to stop them. I’d just rather stereotypes and other unrealistic expectations not play such a large role in determining what a buyer wants.

Bring on the man van with a hemi I guess.