By definition, a car is a mobile machine that transports people or cargo from point A to point B. In reality of course, vehicles have far more significance than simply providing a convenient way to get to and from work.
As the stereotypes go; while women tend to personify their cars, giving them pet names, specific genders and personality traits, men actually covet and cherish these piles of metal and steel. Where women are more likely to develop a fond sentimentality to their car, a man’s passion for his vehicle is typically primal and unwavering. The relationship between males and their cars is an intimate experience that is blissfully low pressure, undemanding and pure.
Behind the wheel, men are seduced by an intoxicating blend of pleasure-inducing emotions: a sense of freedom, power, and adventure. And if all of this freedom, power and adventure can be delivered in a shiny chrome package sporting a crystal red tintcoat, perforated Mulan leather seats, 20” rear pearl nickel-painted aluminum wheels and shark grey painted exterior vents, all the better.
For many men, their car is an extension of themselves, or at least of who they want to be perceived as. As French playwright Francoise Sagan’s so aptly said, “Money may not buy happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.”
Whether it’s a conscious thought process or not, people judge a driver’s interests, tastes, even their net worth by the car they drive, and men are keenly aware of this. This probably explains why the latest international research on car buying trends found that women tend to opt for substance and practicality when choosing a car, while men prefer vehicles with great aesthetics and high performance features.
So what does the car you’ve invested all those dollars and emotions in say to others about your personality? Below, the facts are separated from fiction: What’s the real truth about certain men who drive certain cars?
8. The Sports Car Guy
The stereotype: Guys with flashy sports cars are overcompensating for other, uh, shortcomings in their lives, and their sporty vehicle of choice is really just a rolling phallic symbol that screams, “Please, please notice me!”
The science: The Porsche 911 is one of the most recognizable sports cars in the world, and is often purchased as well earned reward by buyers who work extremely hard and are compensated well. The majority of Porsche 911 buyers (87%) are 51-one year old males that make a median income of $390,000.
7. The Truck Guy
The stereotype: The truck driving man is a guy’s guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and is far too cool to even care what you think about him. He works hard, plays harder and enjoys the simple things in life.
The science: Not far off. A recent study found that men who drive trucks are more attractive to women than drivers of any other type of vehicle. According to the study, women also concluded that guys who drove trucks were A) manly enough to maintain their beast of a vehicle and therefore handy and B) had enough cash in their wallets to keep the truck’s mammoth tank full and therefore would be able to foot the bill for a nice romantic dinner every now and then.
6. The Hybrid Guy
The stereotype: The hybrid guy is a granola eating hippie whose bike is in the shop, so he reluctantly chose to drive his hybrid to the closest tree hugging ceremony.
The science: Consumers who purchase a hybrid vehicle are less emotional about their decisions and more practical. While the environmental benefits to driving a hybrid or electric car are a plus, the main motivation for buying these green vehicles comes from the cost of savings on gas and federal tax credits associated with the purchase.
5. The Oversized SUV Guy
The stereotype: Oversized SUV guy is an arrogant meathead who doesn’t care about the environment, has no respect for money, other people’s safety or personal space.
The science: Extolling the virtues of a Hummer is a tough sell. It could be argued that the Hummer has great off road capabilities, and is quite safe. It’s particularly good for handling tricky environments like snowy cities. Of course, owning such an expensive vehicle is considered an enviable status symbol, but the common perception is that these gas guzzling monstrosities are crude and blatant errors of judgement that the owner will (hopefully) eventually grow out of.
4. The Muscle Car Guy
The stereotype: The muscle car owner is a guy with more money than sense, and the only thing cooler than his car’s chrome rims, custom fiber hood, exhaust tips and uber cool flame decals is the story about how it outran three cop cars at last weekend’s underground street racing meet.
The science: As muscle cars are typically vehicles that were manufactured between the 40’s and the ‘70s, where an engine has been replaced to up their speed, many of these cars are considered classics now. Despite the flagging economy, savvy buyers are still investing in vintage gems and enjoying a handsome return. Must-have muscle cars that can fetch a market value of over $400,000 include the ’69 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the ’71 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda and the ‘69 Dodge Hemi Charger Daytona.
3. The Minivan Guy
The stereotype: The minivan guy is a kid-toting, sandal and sock wearing, multitasking uber dad who is so off the market he doesn’t remember what the fuss about actually being on the market is all about anymore.
The science: Not far off the stereotype: There are not many guys who browse through their local car dealership, feast their eyes on a practical and sensible minivan and think ‘chick magnet’. In fact, minivans came second to last in a poll which ranked cars women felt attractive men drove. It was right down there, between UPS drivers (who ranked higher) and mail trucks (coming in at dead last). But you can’t beat the trunk space, and there’s always a handy place to put your coffee.
2. The Jeep Guy
Stereotype: Jeep guys are outdoorsy. Some would say there’s also a correlation with Jeep Wranglers and a man’s statement about his sexuality, as the Jeep Wrangler has bizarrely become known as a ‘gay’ car.
The science: There’s not a lot of science involved in how or why the Jeep Wrangler inadvertently became a gay icon, but it’s a stereotype nonetheless. As one articulate blogger wrote, “I think there’s something ultra-butch [about them which] just has a lot of appeal to some gay men. It’s like asking why a cowboy image is a gay icon.” For the record, according to the Jeep Wrangler press kit the sporty vehicle is targeted, “to those seeking extraordinary journeys, who are adventurous, spontaneous, enjoy the outdoors and desire a personal sense of freedom.” Plus the no doors thing is pretty cool.
1. The Compact Car Guy
The stereotype: Compact cars and coupe drivers are ordinary run of the mill people that deserve neither disdain nor accolades. They’re mild mannered, hard working, middle class Joes of average income, and they put their pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else.
The science: The appeal of the compact car encompasses such a wide demographic of buyers that it’s hard to pin down just one stereotype. Popular among cautious first time car buyers, pampered Millennials, the jaded Generation X crowd and even experienced baby boomers, confused car manufacturers are scratching their heads coming up with the best way to adapt and evolve the compact cars market for these diverse demographics.
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