Reading journal: The car in British society (20/03/2017)

Sam Spiller

Okay, so Car Cultures did not yield much. If you’ve been to university, you know how some academic writing can be so pretentious that it’s virtually impossible to interpret. Case in point here. And while I will give them the credit to tackling those sort of subtopics, it’s not really my thing.

This one, on the other hand…

2017-03-20 15.02.50

Do not let this title throw you off. This is clearly just a section of a book anthology encompassing the whole timeline. And the writing is derived from academic text. But that does not prevent it from giving some very interesting facts. Facts which allow for a comparison between the social norms and conventions of pre-war England and present South Africa.

A good example. In 1925, Morris launched the Minor SV, effectively a cost-driven base version of their more-expensive Minor. Most of the changes had occurred under the hood, with the exception of one less window wiper, while the exterior of the car remained the same. The Minor SV proved to be a commercial flop, with internal marketing research showing that drivers were unwilling to show that they could not afford the best a car model could offer. This was a definitive case of “keeping up with the Joneses”. This is in stark contrast to our situation, where consumers are happy to get along with rebranded old models, foregoing the newest trend for the cost saver. Think of cars like the Ford Figo and the VW Polo Vivo.

This book is going somewhere, and it’s taking my attention with it.

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