Research suggests that humans assess the shape of cars in the same way they assess people’s faces. The research led by Sonja Windhager, an anthropologist at the University of Vienna, also mentions that cars with a wide grille and narrow headlights are perceived as dominant and aggressive. Those with large windscreens appear childish and happy.
As highlighted in the Telegraph, the research also suggests that specific car models are associated with the driver’s personality traits as well. While the BMW 6 Series and Volkswagen Sharan are considered angry cars, the new Nissan Micra is submissive, and the Toyota Aygo is childish. Cars made by German luxury manufacturer Maybach were seen as being the most dominant alongside the BMW 3, BMW 5 and BMW 645ci.
Speaking of personality traits, there is a difference in what types of cars men and women choose to buy. While heavy-duty trucks and sporty cars are mostly purchased by men, the marketing niche of ‘designer’ small cars is often purchased by women. While this may be the case a decade ago, the stereotypical “girly” car does not really exist today.
Interestingly, cars that are now considered rugged and geared toward a men’s world, like the Ford Mustang, were actually originally designed and marketed towards women. In 1964, when the first Mustang hit the sales floor, there was a focused effort to sell it to women specifically. Truth be told, women have been 35% of Mustang’s buying audience since the line’s inception in 1965.
As part of their initial campaign, Ford put Mustang ads in the “women’s” section of over 2000 newspapers on a single day. To no surprise, the first-ever buyer of the car was a lady named Gail Brown, a 22-year-old teacher. As of 2013, she still owned it. So, whether it is a girly car or a girly car, it is all in how you look at it. After all, any assumption about just men being into muscle cars is wrong.
Human beings are judgmental. And we make snap judgements on the cars our neighbours drive. For car enthusiasts, their car is a form of artistic expression and an extension of their personalities. To the rest, their daily carriage is a need which does not serve as a statement piece. But the question remains – are you really the car you drive?
*Photos are courtesy of Google Image Search