Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sold American

I made a major change this week - I am no longer a minivan driver (I really never was that fond of it). Buying a minivan was a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of things that, at the time, seemed compelling: first of all, we were contemplating the possibility of additional children (this now seems very unlikely), and also a panicked response to how much baby junk we traveled with. We didn't get out much in those days, but in the winter of 2003 when David was about 9 months old, we went away with a gigantic travel system stroller, a pack & play with a changing table accessory, milk & formula supplies, diaper bags, and so many toys that we didn't have room in our Olds Bravada SUV for luggage. So I traded in my 2-year-old Olds for a Chevy Venture (losing about $10000 in depreciation at the time), and bit the bullet. Jane kept her small sedan.

Well, after about 6 months we weren't carrying the travel system anymore (a small umbrella stroller did the trick), and by his second birthday we'd ditched the pack & play (he was sleeping in beds by then). And sometime over this past winter we dumped the diaper supplies, because David finally potty-trained himself (anyone notice I don't write about that stuff anymore?). When I combined that with the litany of things that, though not a lemon, just were sucky about the van (water in the left headlight that wouldn't go away, way too much rattling for my liking, inconvenient to reach and operate rear seats, only four people seated in the front two rows, a leak in the rear door that I've had on and off ever since being rear-ended last spring, etc.), we decided to unload it while it still had some value.

After shopping the Internet, I finally bought a new midsized SUV - a Kia Sorento. Sadly, this ends for now a 23-year tradition of buying American-made cars (since trading in the Saab 9000s I bought from my parents I've owned a Dodge Intrepid, a Chevy Blazer, an Olds Bravada, and finally a Chevy Venture). But nothing American could match the Kia for features or price - and that's a bad sign for American carmakers.

The good news is that Jane will probably be replacing her car within the next year, and several of the leading candidates for that role are American-made. She hasn't owned an American car since her 1981 Chevy Monte Carlo.

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