Rare Rides: The 2003 Studebaker XUV Story, Part II

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 2003 studebaker xuv story part ii

We introduced the Studebaker XUV in Part I of this series, a concept SUV for which Avanti Motors was immediately sued upon by GM upon its debut. Barred from producing any H2-esque vehicle, their chairman thought up a way to differentiate the XUV in the marketplace: Make it “feminine!”

Responding to the poetic legalese that came from GM’s lawyer, then-chairman of Avanti the upstanding Michael Kelly claimed GM spoke too soon. His first claim: The SUV was still a work in progress and in concept form, can’t tell if it’s going to look like a Hummer, can we? At ease, lawyers.

Avanti sent out a press release in February that addressed the differences between the Studebaker XUV and the Hummer H2. Take a look.

The most unusual details in the release are the sheer length of the XUV, at two feet longer than the H2. The sliding van-like rear side doors and sliding roof panel are also odd. Worth noting, while the Wagonaire did have a retractable roof panel, but did not offer rear sliding doors. Guess Kelly didn’t research his company’s past product that thoroughly. Also of note, two products can look very similar without sharing any parts, as anyone who’s seen Chinese vehicles from the past couple of decades can attest.

Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, Kelly followed up after the settlement with an explanation of changes made to the XUV, and how it wasn’t all that similar to the H2 in the first place. He then made some statements on gender and stereotyping: “We thought the majority of people it would appeal to were men, but at the auto show we found the reaction was greater from, I wouldn’t call them soccer moms, but rather middle-age moms who still have kids in school.”

As a result of these “middle-age moms” preferences (and not at all because of the GM suit), Avanti made some visual changes. Per Kelly, “They wanted more elegance and less a man’s man-type vehicle like Hummer.” So Avanti made some changes so the XUV would appeal to this special group: Hood scoops and vents went away, the previously enormous six-inch gas cap was downsized and painted, hood latches were no longer on the exterior, the windshield angle was relaxed, and the size of the windows was increased.

Now with female-approved styling, the XUV could go on and enter production, right? Next time we’ll talk about lofty goals and the basis for a revised behemoth that was ready for the moms.

[Images: Avanti Motors]

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  • Theflyersfan Theflyersfan on Jul 22, 2021

    The owe Audi royalties on the grille, especially with the Genesis designs. Bentley logo vs. Genesis logo The Kona is a mashup of the EcoSport, Escape, and Jeep Cherokee The Santa Fe cribs a lot from the Infiniti CUVs The Tucson is a cousin of the Escape The Palisade interior steals a lot from Lincoln Sonata and K5 floating roof from Nissan Going back in time: Mercedes E-class from the mid 1990s and the Kia Amanti 2004 Hyundai Sonata and a Honda Accord around that time H/K/G might add some extra slashes and lighting elements to try to make it look different, but the overall shape and design of the main points tends to make them look like the designers (most of whom came from other large car companies) had other cars on their mind and morphed them into H/K designs.

  • Lie2me Lie2me on Jul 23, 2021

    "while the Wagonaire did have a retractable roof panel" Yep, and I had the Matchbox Wagonaire to prove it. It's interesting that about this time GM came out with the Envoy with, you guessed it, a retractable roof. Avanti should have checked with Chrysler's "La Fem" of the mid-50s to see how well that did. One thing I'm sure of women don't want cars designed for them

    • See 4 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 23, 2021

      @Lie2me LOL the one I remember was like. "Finally someone has designed a pen for me. I struggled all my life with my delicate, frail hands, trying to use the huge pens designed only for men."

  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: https://robbreport.com/motors/cars/tesla-model-y-worlds-best-selling-vehicle-1234848318/and any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.