Responding to rising attacks against sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and their owners, Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA) today unveiled both a survey of Americans’ attitudes on vehicle choice. “It is fitting that we are re-launching SUVOA’s primary communications outlet and a Wirthlin Worldwide survey on a day that a small, but well-funded group of anti-SUV activists are once again stepping up their assault on SUVs and SUV owners,” said Jason H. Vines, president of the organization, which can also be described as a small but well-funded group of pro-SUV activists. Responding to the National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC’s) announcement of a new advertising campaign challenging Detroit and Washington to “deliver fuel efficient cars and SUVs that meet our transportation needs without sacrificing our safety, freedom or prosperity,” Vines challenged the NRDC to “show me the money.” “SUV owners, like all automobile consumers, would love better fuel economy and we see that in every survey. But they don’t want the tradeoffs that study after study conclude come in the areas of reduced safety, utility, cost and performance,” said Vines. “All we see today from the NRDC and their support groups is a cleverly engineered commercial. As consumers, we want cleverly engineered vehicles that meet the needs of our families and our businesses. It is interesting that no auto company from Detroit, Germany or Japan — in one of the most brutally competitive industries in the world — has been able to deliver the supposed vehicle that the NRDC decided not to unveil in their latest commercial. Did the NRDC decide to keep the vehicle ‘under wraps’ because it only exists in a Hollywood studio?” The SUVOA today also released the results of a U.S. survey conducted as part of the weekly Wirthlin Worldwide Quorum of 1,000 Americans. The survey, conducted April 25-28, 2003, posed the following question: Over the past few months, a small religious group has begun a campaign asking the question “What Would Jesus Drive?” In your opinion, what type of vehicle would Jesus drive? According to the group, 24% thought it was a stupid question, didn’t know or refused to answer, while 23% said “He wouldn’t drive.” Some 13% of those surveyed by Wirthlin Worldwide thought God would drive a light truck (pickup truck, SUV or van), while 10% put Him in a small car. Interestingly, 6% of those polled answered a “fuel efficient or environmentally friendly car” and only three percent said Jesus would drive a hybrid electric vehicle. Some 80% of the respondents said they practiced some form of Christianity, 12% professed no religion, 5% refused to answer, 2% were agnostic or atheist, 1% Jewish and less than 1% identified themselves as Islamic. “Religious leaders should be focused on steering our lives, not our choice of vehicles,” said Father Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. “The SUV and its minivan cousin are mainly used by families. Is it right that religious leaders should urge all families to stuff themselves into tiny, more fuel efficient cars that limit the number of passengers and have a safety record much worse than SUVs, minivans and larger cars? This kind of politicking leads people to believe religious bodies have nothing better to do and then we wonder why the culture doesn’t take religion as seriously as it once did.” An interesting comment from a priest wading into the debate.