Opinion: If countries were based on car models

Mixing his Game of Thrones episodes with VFACTS statistics has got Keen thinking in nations

Opinion If we were citizens of the cars we drove

In figures that surprised no-one, Toyota has sold eleventy gazillion Hiluxes so far this year. In September, Hilux alone sold only slightly fewer units than all of Honda’s range put together. You might have seen this statistic: if Hilux was its own car company, instead of part of Toyota, it would be the 11th-biggest car company in Australia by sales.

But why stop the comparisons there? Over the past decade (I’m counting since 2008, and assuming the 2018 total will be on par with the 2017 number – in fact, it’s on track to exceed it) Toyota has sold 447,494 Hiluxes in Australia. (Or is it Hilii?)

If everyone in Australia who bought a Hilux in the past 10 years lived in the same place it would be the eighth biggest city in Australia. In fact, the total population of Hilux City would be 37 people larger than the population of the Canberra-Queanbeyan metro area. This is a bizarrely true fact. Is it coincidence that a decade’s worth of Hilux owners almost exactly matches the population of our nation’s capital? And is it wrong to want to see a fight between the two?

Hilux City would be bigger than Hobart and Darwin combined. On the other hand, there’s not much that isn’t bigger than Hobart and Darwin combined. I think the 7.23am Sydney North Shore train has more people than Hobart and Darwin combined. Peak hour in Darwin is when one car gets stuck behind the other car.

So maybe that’s underselling the Hilux clan. Maybe the people of Hilux City should aim bigger again. If Hilux City seceded, Hutt River Province style, it would be the 169th biggest country in the world. It would have roughly the population of Brunei. It would have about as many people as Iceland and Tonga combined.

And the Hiluxians could give seceding a red hot go: with 447,494 people, the newly declared Sovereign Nation of Hilux would eclipse the total Australian Defence Force by more than 367,000 people. Even if the ADF drafted the entire population of Townsville and Cairns, they’d still be outmanned. Especially since half their draftees would be drunk – and the other half would already be living in the Republic of Hilux.

Would the world be better if nations were based on what we drove instead of where we were born? As John Lennon once mused, “Imagine there’s no countries/It isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And cheaper spare parts too.”

The Hiluxians would live in a quasi-utopian land of mostly dual-cab harmony, as long as they didn’t want to use Apple CarPlay or carry as much as a BT-50, and carry on a friendly Aussie-Kiwi-style rivalry with the slightly smaller United State Of Ford Ranger next door.

The Democratic Empire of Corolla and the Principality of Mazda3 would both be designed as supermarket carparks that stretch as far as the eye can see, with herds of shopping carts being stalked by trolley tractors as they gathered at watering holes. And the leaders of the two nations would argue at the United Automotive Nations about which country is bigger, depending on whether you include fleet sales or just private vehicles.

The Federated States of Hot Hatch would occupy the mountains, all winding roads and snaking tarmac that looks suspiciously like it was copied from early chapters of Initial D. Down below, the Confederation Of V8s would be a vast series of two-lane traffic lights followed by quarter-mile straights, and a nation-wide ban on speed cameras.

And in the distance, concealed from view in a blue smoky haze, the Kingdom Of Summernats would carry out their arcane barbarian rituals accompanied by the ancient rhythmic incantation, “Tits out, tits out, tits out for the boys...”

Anyway, that’s what the world looks like to me when I look at the VFACTS numbers. Especially if I’ve had one of those special brownies while watching Game Of Thrones beforehand.


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