Originally Posted by rostam
I am 100% for you using the tow vehicle you like and am glad that you are happy with your set up. What I take issue with is you (and your friends) justifying your decision at the expense of the car companies. "Minivans are intentionally underrated by car companies", where even you agree no none has done any tests to show this. Or "Car companies do not understand towing". I agree that most dealerships are clueless, but do you for one second believe that engineers at Mercedes (the biggest manufacturer of commercial trucks in the world) do not understand towing? Or "European car makers do not understand weight distribution hitches", where WDH is just a fancy form of crowbar, but apparently the engineers at Porsche and Volvo, that makes some of the most complex vehicles on earth, somehow do not understand it. And the list of rubbish claims goes on and on and on and on...
I appreciate how the OP was upfront on why he chose a minivan and the experience he has had using it.
I wanted to chime in on this one, because I think your post illuminates the root of the disagreement we're having.
You appear to be thinking, and quite reasonably so, that engineers (or people in general) make decisions based in rational observation, choosing the best of many available options.
Unfortunately, the opposite is often true.
I've got over 25 years experience working as a marketing professional, the last 10 years C-Suite level. I've worked with some of the world's largest technology companies, companies that create the products you're using every day to make phone calls, connect to the internet, send email. Many of them invented the products they are selling.
What most of them had in common is that they were led by engineers, or people who were sympathetic to engineers. You would think that, as a result, the decisions made by these teams would be rational, numbers and research based, with emotions taking a firm back seat.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Especially working in an international environment, it quickly became apparent that many Europeans think the Americans are a bunch of overbearing yokels who use brute force to solve all problems, whereas many Americans think the Europeans are lazy and predictable, to pick just two of many mutual prejudices.
You are mentioning the Mercedes example and WD hitches. WD hitches are illegal in Europe, not for any rational reason but because of protectionism, thus nobody has any incentive to research them.
Add to this that most European automotive engineers sneer at American car technology - watch any episode of Top Gear, the UK car show, featuring US cars for a sobering insight on what Europeans think of US engineering -in many cases without any justification.
There are fundamental differences in engineering philosophies separating our cultures. In the US, "bigger is better" is still a valid mantra - perfectly understandable in a society that never had to worry about availability of resources, or space, or wealth.
So while a Mercedes engineer will understand a WD hitch, that doesn't mean he or she will like it. The "not invented here" syndrome is alive and kicking. WD hitches are illegal, so why bother researching them. They rely on simplicity and brute force to work, the exact opposite to the school of European engineering.
You might not believe any of the above, but it is based on personal observation and professional struggles trying to overcome prejudices (on both sides) and get the product to market that is the best, not the product that appeases the egos of the majority.