The object that was chosen for the purpose of this assignment is a car. These vehicles are instrumental in the history of the United Arab Emirates as they directly responded to the oil boom that characterized most Gulf countries in the 1970s. Oil was in plenty and roads were constructed to improve access to oil mines and meet other needs. With these factors in place, new vehicles could be introduced to make use of the oil and the roads. Notably, the change observed in cars in the UAE from the 1960s to 2010 emanated from among other factors such as the rise in the standards of living after the oil boom, and in the 21st century, cars continue to change to serve the various needs of the society.
In the 1960s, one of the most popular cars was Chevrolet. This vehicle gained a lot of popularity not only due to its association with class, but also because it had features that were uncommon amongst luxury cars. For instance, the Series C Classic Six contained electric headlamps and electric starter and the two were very rare those days. In addition to this, it introduced desirable features at a time when such characteristics were introduced by models that were more expensive than it (ChevroletArabia, n.d). These included safety glass, anti-lock brakes, fuel injection, as well as electronic stability control systems. In addition to this, the model made performance affordable. Its initial four and six-cylinder engines were particularly recognized for strong performance and durability. With slight improvements, these engines persisted for the following many years being passed from one generation of car models to another. However, what is notable about these features is that they made this car gain a position amongst the elites in the society (ChevroletArabia, n.d).
Chevrolet was diffused into the UAE society from the US where it had already gain roots. In this regard, it cannot be deemed as an independent invention as it was more of an outside influence. On knowing that it was associated with class in the US, those who could afford it readily imported it. From here, its popularity spread from the urban centers to the rural areas. Moreover, it could also serve as a sports car and, although car sport was not renowned in the UAE society then, the vehicle was gradually recognized for this function (ChevroletArabia, n.d).
The change was intentional. Although Chevrolet was more efficient and had more desirable features than those introduced in models before it, many people purchased it out of the fame it had gained as a classic car. Moreover, with every new characteristic that was introduced in this car throughout the 1960s, people began to reinterpret it to fit the local culture. For instance, the high level of comfort it conferred to its owners was translated as necessary for the elite class that owned it (ChevroletArabia, n.d). In this regard, it can be said that the opportunity for comfort that it provided led to a cultural innovation in terms of a new way of defining class. The intermediate forms that it took were in the nature of additional features from the previous class. For instance, Series C Classic Six contained the electric head lamps that were absent in the previous series (ChevroletArabia, n.d).
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The Bedford truck that was popular in the 1970s in the UAE was borrowed from Britain in its entirety. It had been developed for use in the British army but later exported to other countries including the United Arab Emirates to serve a similar purpose. In this regard, it was directly diffused from Great Britain to the United Arab Emirates in that all of its features were adopted to enable it serve the same purpose it was serving in the former state (Military-Today.com, n.d.). One of the aspects that contributed to the adoption of the Bedford truck was its payload capacity, which stood at 4,000 kg, although it was also possible to extend the load to more than 6,000kg. With this possibility, it performed diverse military duties form transporting cargo to passenger transportation. In the case of the latter function, it was possible to detach the seats otherwise fitted in the cargo area’s center. Subsequently, it could transport more than 20 fully equipped troops. The canvas cover could also be easily removed and replaced (Military-Today.com, n.d.).
The change from the initially used models to the Bedford truck was not intentional. This vehicle provided a higher level of functionality that was useful to the military; hence its adoption was necessary. No reinterpretation of the car took place and in fact, just like the initial series, for the years that followed, the subsequent series would be first introduced and tried in the British Army before being adopted in other countries including the UAE. As such, what occurred in the United Arab Emirates is syncretism in which some elements would be rearranged, mixed or combined to fit the particular function or purpose it was intended to carry. These were mostly things such as inscribing the logo of the UAE military and also ensuring that the combination of colors fitted those of the military (Military-Today.com, n.d.). Additionally, the truck is by no means an independent invention as it was neither produced in the UAE nor significantly modified there.
The intermediate forms of the model were the MK series, which was powered by a Bedford multi-fuel engine that could hold four liters of fuel. None of these could serve the required purpose as well as the M series, which encompassed the re-fueller, dumping truck, recovery vehicle, roadway laying vehicle, signal carriers, and others (Military-Today.com, n.d.). The Bedford truck was an ideal example of how a cultural innovation would come to solve certain problems. The model most suited the British Army culture, but it ended up solving problems elsewhere including the UAE.
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Ferrari Testarossa is a model that fast gained popularity in the UAE in the 1980s, and it was recognized by its cheese-grater sides and flared rear arches. It was the first poster car and it was introduced as a replacement of the 512 BB that was then ageing. Notably, the rear end appeared to match a shoulder pad whereas its style perfectly fitted fax machines, brick phones, and long hair. Its styling was, in fact, the major reason why it grabbed the attention of people fast. The side strakes had emanated from a safety legislation passed in the US requiring cars to have large openings (Ebdon, 2014).
Ferrari Testarossa was directly diffused from the US to the UAE market. This is true considering that those who obtained it wanted to have it serve the exact function it was serving in the United States. The change to adopt Ferrari Testarossa was intentional. First used in the US, the car gained popularity in other countries purely because of its style. In the UAE, the elite class that had extra money to spend would be easily drawn to purchase an item simply because of it being stylish (Ebdon, 2014). Ferrari Testarossa fitted this definition. No reinterpretation or syncretism of the model occurred in the UAE market. Those who imported it wished to retain its most identifiable features and thus did not attempt to modify it in any way (Ebdon, 2014). Similarly, the car was not an independent invention as it was entirely borrowed from another country. The immediate form was Ferrari, but it did not gain much popularity both in the US and the UAE. Notably, the model does not relate to the feedback loop since it was neither a cultural innovation, a response to environmental change or even designed to exploit an opportunity or solve a problem.
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Ford Explorer ventured into the UAE market in the period between 1991 and 1994. It was a sport utility vehicle that would either be two-door or four-door, and in other cases, a two-or four-wheel drive. However, the sports features were added later to the initial design, and they included aluminum wheels, blacked-out exterior accents, and other interior refinements. The car was powered by either a four-speed or five-speed automatic gearbox. One of its features that appealed to environmentalists was that it was a low-emission vehicle achieving up to 40% less pollution compared to its predecessor, the SUV (Edmunds.com, n.d).
The change to Ford Explorer was intentional considering that car sport was not popular in the UAE society at that time. Even so, it came in to solve a problem of pollution that was associated with a good number of vehicles that were then on the road (Edmunds.com, n.d). In addition, its four-wheel drive series fitted the UAE roads that were yet to be built at the time. It was not an independent invention as it was diffused directly from the UK. However, it was reinterpreted to change from serving a sports function to enabling mobility along rough roads of the United Arab Emirates. The car relates significantly to the feedback loop owing to its environmental friendliness and the fact that it solved the problem of pollution and facilitated movement on poor roads.
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Hummer was introduced in the UAE market in the 21st century, precisely in 2006. It was designed for those drivers who did not care much about the prices of gas and even the problem of global warming. Upon introduction, the UAE market rose fast to become the second largest one for the model outside the US. The car was literally born into war as its popularity was mainly associated with its military aesthetic (Gerson, 2010).
Hummer underwent stimulus diffusion. This is because whereas in the US it had been created for the military, in the UAE, it was adopted purely as a luxury vehicle owing to its high price. Its intermediate forms were the gun turrets and other versions that were more suitable as troop carriers (Gerson, 2010). The change to Hummer was intentional considering that it was meant for luxury. It underwent reinterpretation as it did not serve the military function in the UAE. Similarly, it was not an independent invention. It relates to the feedback loop in that it was developed in the culture of the military, but it ended up being an opportunity for luxury.
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Lastly, Toyota Prado is a more recent introduction to the UAE market and it was readily adopted resulting in skyrocketing sales. It was mainly adopted as a luxury car but it emerged to serve the rugged terrain that characterized some of the rural areas. The vehicle was directly diffused from Japan and the change involved was intentional. This is because the functions it served were fulfilled by other models that preceded it, but not belonging to Toyota. Its intermediate forms were other Toyota versions, but they were not much regarded as luxury cars (Gasnier, 2014). The model was not an independent invention and it only slightly relates to the feedback loop. The latter is because it was intended for luxury but ended up solving the problem of driving in rugged terrain.
In conclusion, the UAE has experienced significant changes in its automobile market since 1960 to 2010. All of the models diffused from other countries either directly or as a stimulus. The change was mostly intentional and rarely driven by a need. However, it is worth noting that most of the models easily fitted into the local culture. This was especially after the oil boom that rendered the nation ready to adopt different car types serving different functions in the society.
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