In Detroit recently, Toyota unveiled another new “crossover” — a wagon-like vehicle built on a car chassis that sort of looks like an SUV or sporty minivan but isn’t built to go off-road.
Maybe too much, also.p>I’m not singling Toyota out for any particular reason. They just happened to be the ones introducing the br> latest of these duplicative, already got it/don’t really need it/probably won’t sell too well vehicles that’ll just add to the already overwhelming confusion brought on by a bloated surfeit of cars of every type and description … sometimes, several examples of each type. /p>
There are too many of them — and they all look just the same. Or many of them do.p>”Crossover” has become the latest overheated fad that has instilled in every automaker the frantic urge to br> get a version of their own onto the market. Even though the market is torpid already — with anemic (at best) growth and a strong chance of going into a state of paralysis as the perfect storm of a burst housing br> market bubble, credit crunch, income stagnation, dollar deflation, price inflation and energy shocks br> takes hold. /p>
Squeezing a profit out of the US. auto market is getting to be a real chore. Throwing new models into already well-represented segments just makes it that much harder to eke a dollar out of each individual sale.p>And it is becoming too much for most consumers to deal with, too. It’s manageable when there are, say three or four competitors in a given segment. Not so few that the pickings are slim, but not so many that it br> makes you swoon just trying to acquire the specifications and keep track of the relative pros and cons of each one — and compare them against all the others.