Big-Tire Backlash

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What do evangelical Christians, Hollywood liberals and anyone stuck in traffic behind a Range Rover have in common? A desire to rethink the American love affair with the sport-utility vehicle (SUV), which accounts for 27% of new-auto sales. A national television ad campaign will be launched in January linking gas guzzlers to the war on terror. One commercial opens with an image of an SUV driver pumping gas, followed by stock footage of a terrorist training camp. The closing text reads, "What is your SUV doing to the world?" The two 30-second spots are the project of Laurie David, wife of comedian Larry David, along with political pundit Arianna Huffington and others. The campaign, written and directed by the man behind the "Got Milk?" ads, is the latest of several attempts — many spurred by 9/11 and the prospect of a war in Iraq — to convince Americans that buying a car is a moral exercise.