I'm not exactly sure what an "automotive analyst" does, but they have 'anal' in their job title, and that's good enough for me. One automotive analyst, though, is pushing the same tired car-gendering crap I'm sick of, so let's talk about that.
The cars in question are the new Jeep Renegade and the Fiat 500X. Both are built on the same basic platform, and both are all-wheel-drive small, fun, occasional off-roaders. They're roughly filling the hole left by cheap off-roaders like the Suzuki Samauri or the Geo Tracker years ago. I'm all for fun, small, inexpensive off-road cars like these — they can be a blast.
Here's what Ian Fletcher, IHS automotive analyst, had to say about them, according to Europe Auto News:
... the 500X is a "cute, urban vehicle with off-road capabilities," while the Renegade is the "rugged" off-roader expected from a Jeep. "They are almost like the male and female version of the same model, although I expect the two models to please both men and women."
What he's saying here isn't exactly earth shattering — the Jeep version has much more "rugged" styling, while the Fiat keeps more with the rounded forms of the rest of the 500 line. And, sure, by some very traditional metrics, that can make one feminine and one masculine. But now, in modern society, why are we still stuck on this crap?
The gendering of cars as "female" is almost never seen as a positive. It's exclusionary and insecure and, worst of all for an analyst, it's lazy. These cars look the way they do primarily because of very specific design vocabularies of each brand, not because one or the other is supposed to be a boy or a girl.
I prefer the Renegade, but why has nothing to do with my (often painfully) external genitalia. I like the big round lights and the chunky proportions and the corrugations and purposeful-looking details. It looks even a little cute, in a plucky way, like a puppy that's ready to roughhouse. It's a good look for a car like this. In some ways, it's taking the basic Jeep formula and making it a bit cute — an idea that's normally associated with femininity.
Conversely, if anything, the 500x is attempting to masculine-up the 500 line — which may be why I'm less taken by it. It feels a bit like an insecure guy who works out obsessively and wears nothing but skin-tight T-shirts. It smacks a bit of trying to hard, and pushing the fundamental 500 design to places where it doesn't really feel like it was meant to go.
The original 500 had a fun little off road variant, the Ferves Ranger, and it was adorable. But adorable and tough. I'd drive one with pride and not for a minute worry about my "masculinity." I think taking a tiny 2 cylinder off-road vehicle anywhere while surrounded by massive SUVs and trucks is plenty of proof of toughness, anyway.
The real issue here is that lazy statements like these just further a lot of outdated, stupid ideas. Women may love the Renegade way more than the 500x. And there's no reason any dude who wants a 500x should feel weird about that. Cars are for everyone, and if you give enough of a shit about cars to have a strong opinion on what you like, that's good enough for me.
Just make that opinion on your own, based on whatever drives you, and don't listen to lazy analysts who talk ex recto about cars and the same tired old stereotypes that need to die, already.