We are seeing the beginning of an onslaught of vehicles in that new category called crossovers or sport wagons.
Those so-called new-segment vehicles are really in one the oldest segments of all.
Let's quit kidding ourselves: They are nothing more than a modern, improved version of the station wagon - not a minivan but a good, old American station wagon, as I explained in this space on March 24.
There's nothing wrong with giving those new/old cars a new name. The car companies probably aren't eager to have them known as good, old station wagons, even if that's what they are.
But there is an issue about these new "station wagons" that is far more disconcerting than what you call them.
It would be hard to find anyone who considers those new vehicles anything but people haulers.
Whether we call them crossovers, sport wagons or station wagons, the one thing we aren't going to call them is trucks.
Some manufacturers are classifying the new models as trucks.
The reason is corporate average fuel economy. The Big 3 want those vehicles in the truck category for CAFE.
It will be a lot easier to meet 22.2 mpg under the 2007 rules than 27.5 mpg. And if the vehicles get better than 22 mpg, they can offset some of an automaker's trucks that have poorer fuel economy.
The auto industry has always abused the classification of cars and trucks.
It got screwy when the Chrysler group decided to classify the PT Cruiser as a truck. It takes a vivid imagination to consider that vehicle a truck, but it certainly has helped the Chrysler group's truck CAFE.
Now a whole new segment of cars will be called trucks so they can mess up the idea of what's a car and what's a truck.
Sadly, it seems as though the criteria for what makes a vehicle a car or a truck will depend on what suits safety, emission and CAFE standards, rather than the purpose for which a vehicle was designed and how consumers will use it.
It's time for Detroit to call a rose a rose - and that means when automakers talk to Washington, too.