by Steve Shay
(Swans - November 30, 2009) I am currently in better financial shape than General Motors, and I love dogs. Many car-owners love dogs. Or more to the point, many dog-lovers drive cars, like those safety-conscious souls we see motoring in their pine green Volvo and Subaru wagons to the organic supermarket with their two frenzied golden retrievers taking turns sticking their heads out the open window and darting around in the back, wetting the closed windows with their noses.
American cars are never named after dog breeds and I cannot understand why this is. Two exceptions I could find in my exhaustive research are a K9 from Uruguay called a "Cimarron," which shares its name with the unpopular, four-cylinder Cadillac offering of the 1980s. The other exception is the cute and snobby Cavalier King Charles spaniel, also the name of a Chevy (Cavalier.) But let's be honest. These cars were not named after the dogs. We could quibble over the name "greyhound," the rapid dog and the slow bus, and the British car, the "Rover." But that's about as close as it gets.
And that is a shame because the potential car-buying soccer mom would love to say mush to the kids in her GM Maltese minivan. But to the misguided too-many-movable-parts-miasma of Detroit, this marketing scheme makes too much sense. Since unlike GM I am debt-free, except for my car payment, I feel qualified to offer the company a pet project, some new names for their latest models that would get the customers' tails wagging.
I admit I would not drive a Labradoodle, the very trendy, whimsically-named crossbred Labrador and poodle. I would also steer away from any car called the "Cockapoo," especially if it came in brown. Just too embarrassing on the rough-and-tumble roadways of America. And a sporty convertible Shih Tzu? Well, let's not go there. But other breeds seem a perfect fit. And besides, if Ford can name one of its all-time best-selling cars after a prostitute, the Escort, then why not throw me a bone with this concept?
As a Mazda Miata alternative, wouldn't you consider driving a Pontiac Papillon? Before GM puts the Pontiac to sleep it would do well launching this puppy. The elegant Papillon is a spunky lap dog with big-dog characteristics. This irresistible Spock-eared breed endures long walks and does not intimidate. It has lots of attitude and seems to say, "Go ahead Mr. Pitbull, stop tailgating me and sniff my behind already."
How about a small SUV called the Chevy Saluki? The saluki dog is sleek, stealth, and sinewy, like a compressed greyhound. Perfect. Saluki dog owners are quick to claim their breed is the oldest, and appears in ancient Egyptian art. So it promises to stick around as a breed, and could also last as a car.
I see the Cadillac Komondor as a slightly larger, luxurious SUV. The Hungarian Komondor dog is a fascinating four-legged cluster of dreadlocks, like a sheepdog that swallowed your shag carpet, and probably did you a favor in doing so. A Komondor is known for sensing the intentions of others and will spring into action against intruders fearlessly. Again, great characteristics for a large vehicle.
The wolf hybrid, another name for a wolfdog, could be an awesome, economical 4-wheel-drive pick-up truck. My Wolf Hybrid could drive right over your Mustang and send it to the glue factory. I would go a-huntin' fer caribou with this bad-boy. I would feel equally at home on the range with a "Husky," although the gas mileage would bite me in the ass.
Hey, GM: Forget about your "Malibu" and "Sierra." Stop neutering the car-buying public and give us what we really want: Introducing the "2010 Bulldog." Now THAT's a car.
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