Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Can you judge someone by the car he or she drives?


Results from an interesting AP-AOL poll were released on 1/15; 62% of those polled say "they can tell something about someone's personality from the kind of car he or she drives." And the more affluent or better-educated, the more likely they are to feel they can make such an evaluation.

Let's try to understand, using some real-life scenarios.

Is the guy who drives an F350 Super-Duty turbo-diesel crew-cab dually pickup truck more likely to be a macho, outdoors, rugged he-man -type than some milquetoast who drives a Toyota Corolla?

No doubt!

But what if he gets to his destination, and steps out of the vehicle, and it turns out to be Wally Cox instead of Paul Bunyan? (For you kids who are reading, and don't know who Wally Cox is... substitute Clay Aiken.) Or worse – what if it turns out to be Betty White? Some of them sweet little grandmother-type ladies might like the big rugged pickup trucks. (My momma could drive one, just as capably as Dinty Moore... know what I mean?)

Is the guy who drives a Porsche Carrera more likely to be a rich playboy-type than the guy who's driving a '74 Olds Cutlass?

DUH!

How about the stereotype middle-age guy, who's balding and fighting the belly, and has a mid-life crisis and buys a shiny red Corvette. What can we judge about HIS personality? (Maybe in the post-Viagra years, that thing doesn't happen so often. Hahahaha)

Here's a tougher one.

Is the Hummer driver more likely to be a Democrat, or Republican? How about the Volvo driver? How about the guy riding around in the back of the stretch limo? Do people choose transportation on the basis of their politics?

The most amusing drivers are those who drive the "rice burners." (You know – those little Japanese cars that the kids like. How sad for them! When I was a kid, the cool kids drove GTXs and Corvettes and '56 Fords.) Nowadays, they drive what was once a Honda or Mitsubishi, but it's been rendered unrecognizable with the addition of huge but non-functional hood scoops, wings on the back (look more like carrying handles to me), low-profile tires, 10,000-watt onboard ghetto blasters, etc. What can you learn about those drivers, by observing their cars?

How about me? I ride a bike. (Maybe that doesn't count.)

I WILL tell you this… the car companies are certainly convinced that America will buy a car based on the image of that car. Witness the millions (if not billions) that are poured into marketing and advertising cars on TV. And I'll go this far... lots of folks buy a car because of that "image" - their purchasing decision includes their perception of what others will think of 'em, when they're motoring about in their new stylin' pimped-out ride.

The sporty cars lean toward mystique… cryptic names made up of meaningless strings of characters and numbers, heavy on the X's and Z's.

The SUV-types, and pickups, usually get the "macho treatment." Even the names are macho – the new Dodge vehicles? "Caliber." "Nitro." ("Nitro" isn't likely to explode, is it? It's good they didn't name the Ford Pinto the Ford Nitrothat woulda come back to bite 'em in the butt!)
I tend to make quick snap-judgments about drivers, based on their cars, when I'm riding my bicycle and see one approaching. If it's a kid in a rice-burner, I'm wary, because they are usually the worst drivers, except for maybe distracted cell-phone SUV Soccer Mom. If it's a guy in a pickup truck, I'm wary, because SOME of them seem to think they have an exclusive right to the road, and are hell-bent on occupying the same space as I am occupying, to intimidate me. (All pickup drivers aren't stupid rednecks... but stupid rednecks tend to gravitate to pickup trucks.)

In a related story, it was recently revealed that gays and lesbians are likely to pick certain vehicles for their transportation. (Reported on a source no less reliable than "Click and Clack, the Tappett Brothers"!!)

The Lesbian top five:
5. Honda CR-V
4. Ford F-150 pickup
3. Jeep Wrangler
2. Subaru Forester
1. Subaru Outback

The gayest cars in America:
5. Mazda Miata
4. Jeep Wrangler
3. BMW 3-Series
2. VW "New Beetle"
1. VW Jetta

Weigh that, too, my friends, when you are making your critical vehicle purchasing decision. If you're a guy, you'd have to be pretty darn comfortable in your manhood to drive a New Beetle or a Jetta, huh? Be gay! Or look just like one when you're driving!

(Accompanying graphic was snagged from The Onion awhile back - the "anger powered" concept car. For people who tend to road-rage when they're driving.)

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