The new millennium has seen a revival in the popularity of several older types of cars, as well as innovation in new directions. Read about a few of the models that have helped to shape consumer tastes since 2000.
The Crossover Vehicle
Also called a crossover utility vehicle (or CUV), the crossover vehicle includes many of the features associated with an SUV or hatchback. Such features might include the rear door and shared passenger/baggage space. Unlike an SUV, however, a crossover vehicle has a unibody construction instead of being built on top of a frame. While a few cars that meet the CUV specifications have been around for decades, the term was actually invented by marketers in 2008. The coinage of the new term corresponds to a large uptick in the production of these in-between automobiles, a compromise between SUVs, station wagons, and sedans.
The Hybrid Car
Despite an increased awareness of global warming, the driving force behind the growing popularity of hybrids is gas prices. Sporty sedans were first produced by only a couple of manufacturers, but now every major brand seems to push its own gas-efficient electric machine. While electrical outlets for charging cars are not yet commonplace, hybrids have the major advantage of being able to also use gasoline. This makes the vehicle more conducive to road trips, and it also paved the way for hybrids to find their way into the hearts and driveways of average Americans.
Produced in Great Britain, the Mini has been around since the 1960s. In 2000, the classic car began being produced by a subsidiary company. While the original manufacturer maintains control to this day, the offshoot represented an adjustment in the image. A convertible version and five-door crossover vehicle were also introduced. The Mini also skyrocketed in popularity with the 2003 release of the remake of The Italian Job. Seeing Minis powering down stairways and dominating cityscapes made Americans appreciate these spunky automobiles.
The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) was vital for America’s military presence in the War on Terror. As the American demand for these giant automobiles became apparent, the manufacturer began to produce everyday versions. These versions used a different acronym, and three different models (“1,” “2,” and “3”) were produced before the economic downturn caused consumers to question the brand. Without a hybrid option, gas mileage made this vehicle an expensive choice.
Ultimately, these brands and models represent a diverse range of consumer interests. One could argue that the new millennium has seen a polarization in car buyers as well as politics. From tail fins to scissor doors, manufacturers and consumers want to stand out from the rest.