Vehicles | October 31, 2016 9:00 am

The Auto Industry Is Having an Identity Crisis. We Blame Baby Boomers.

An Alfa Romeo station wagon? A Mini SUV? Where will it end?!

You don’t go to the best sushi joint in town and order a burger.

If it’s a burger you’re after, you haul yourself across town and find some hole-in-the-wall that knows a thing or two about char-broiling a hunk of bloody cow ass.

Point is: you are who you are and you’d be well advised to stick to what you know.

Looking at you, auto industry.

Last week brought us three announcements that require some addressing. First, there was the Mercedes pickup truck news that sent both Benz and 4WD enthusiasts into a tizzy. Then, there was a new SUV from — wait for it — Mini. Because when you think about a marque that literally owes its name to the diminutive stature of its cars, you think ground-clearing sport utility, amirite?

Image via Mini

And then to ice the cake, Alfa Romeo showed announced that their hot new Giulia is going to be turned into, of all things, a station wagon. Or pardon us, a “sportswagon.” Either way, call a spade a spade: it’s a grocery-getter.

Who’s to blame for the world turning itself upside down? Baby boomers, that’s who.

The generation that ushered in the muscle car will also be responsible for its demise. Males born between ‘46 and ‘64 make up the lion’s share of sportscar buyers out there. And as their hips and tickers start to go, they’re taking the slick crop of steeds with ‘em.

What we get in return are crossovers and larger utility vehicles designed to accommodate the aging consumer’s need for comfort and practicality, and the younger consumer’s desire for multifunctionality.

What we get are expanded portfolios but diluted performance.

Top image via Alfa Romeo