Swedish invasion

Dear Crank: Tell me about it! It seems that everywhere that Ace goes, there’s a boxy, earth-toned Scandinavian baby wagon blocking his path. Unfortunately, due to ongoing court proceedings, Ace is not at liberty to reveal the exact make and model of the Acemobile—but you can rest assured that it is nothing as safe, staid and boring as a Volvo. (Nor does it do Volvo-esque things such as start consistently, or reach speeds in excess of 50 mph). But, for whatever reason, it does seem that Charlottesvillians love their Volvos, and it’s not a trend that looks likely to end any time soon.
    To try to get to the bottom of this automotive conundrum, Ace placed a call to Charlottesville’s oldest Volvo-centric car dealership, Edgecomb’s Imported Auto. Manager Sherri Edgecomb (what, you were expecting a Svensson?) had a very simple explanation for the car’s continuing popularity. “Well, this is Charlottesville, home of the smartest people in the world, who therefore pick the best cars in the world.” Hmm. Spoken like a true salesperson. But why has this practical, terribly unsexy vehicle become such a Char-lottesville standard? Ace asks. Edgecomb says a combination of factors—including safety, roominess and longevity—contribute to sales. But even she is at a loss for why, exactly, so many people choose Volvos, which, new, can cost up to $40,000 and only get around 20-25 miles to the gallon. “I will say this,” she admits, “I’ve lived many places, and I’ve really never seen the per capita number of Volvos that I’ve seen here.”
    In search of greater insight, Ace placed a call to the Virginia DMV. Unfortunately, after the obligatory 20-minute wait, we were informed that any information about auto registration and car-make popularity would require “an ad-hoc computer run,” which, in turn, would cost a trunk-load of cash. So, in the interest of conserving Ace’s all-important beer budget, he finally turned to that wellspring of suspect knowledge, the information superhighway. There, Ace discovered the one fact that might just explain this rampant Volvo-mania: according to the National In-surance Crime Bureau, the boxy Swedish import does not appear even once on Virginia’s list of most-stolen cars. (Jackers are apparently more interested in the Oldsmobile Delta 88 than a Volvo anything.) Finally, an explanation that makes sense: After all, it’s better to have the world’s dullest car than no car at all.

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