The Symbolism Behind The Cars In ‘Squid Game’
Warning: Some massive spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Squid Game yet.
The international sensation that is Netflix’s Squid Game is capturing people’s hearts while also giving them anxiety induced heart attack. We wanted to take a look at some of the cars of this new binge-phenomenon. There aren’t that many, but they’re worth pointing out because everything in this show seems to have some sort of symbolic resonance and the cars are no exception.
It’s also no wonder that Squid Game has apparently attracted an estimated 132 million viewers worldwide. Even though Netflix isn’t allowed in China, the show is still somehow the most popular show in that country right now. It’s so popular that sales of white Vans shoes, the sneakers that are worn by the downtrodden players along with their now iconic green track suits, are up 7,800%. But we’re interested in a different kind of van.
We want to talk about the van that picks the players up from the streets of wherever they happen to be to participate in the games- the Hyundai iMax. A seemingly endless fleet of these non-descript white passenger vans are used to transport the working-class players of the titular game.
The iMax isn’t sold in the U.S., but does quite well for Hyundai in the Pacific market, with decent sales in Australia and South Korea alike. We find a decent 2.4 liter engine, but it’s nothing to write home about. Also, its max capacity is six, instead of the 12 passenger vans that Ford sells. That makes us think that while the van may find a workable niche in smaller population markets, it can’t really compete with the Fords sold here.
But, perhaps, that’s the point. There’s something left wanting about this van much like the contestants on this show. It is low-key, humble, and utilitarian - all motifs that appear throughout the show. It is also uniquely Korean, much like the Dalgona (honeycomb cookies) that the contestants are forced to break apart later.
The limo in which the lead character Seong Gi-hun rides after winning the squid game, however is not Korean. It is the Chrysler 300C 10 passenger limo which you’d be hard pressed to find outside of America’s shores, let alone all the way in South Korea. Only six 300C’s were sold in Europe in 2018. It would stand to reason that the showrunners would have had to either specifically import this American limo or would have gone through great lengths to procure it. What that means is up to your interpretation, but you can be sure that the choice was deliberate.
Our interpretation is that the Chrysler 300C is a unicorn in South Korea. It’s one of a kind, much like the only survivor of the Squid Games. Perhaps it is fitting then, that Seong Gi-hun deserves, at the very least, to ride in a special car after his victory.
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