By Brie Cadman, DivineCaroline
Young men drive Camaros, soccer moms drive minivans, and rich snobs drive Bentleys. We usually associate a certain type of car with a certain type of person, but do we really know who’s behind the wheel? After all, our perception of a car is largely based on how it was marketed—Volvos for safety, Porsches for speed. But it can be tough to decipher whether people buy a car because they think it will make them out to be something they are or may not be, or because the same group of people always buy the same type of car. That’s because psychographics—grouping customers according to beliefs and attitudes and selling them products to fit their group—is at play.
So what does your car say about you? What is that SUV driver really supposed to be like? Here’s a clue.
Small Car: Prius, Honda Civic, Smart Car
According to a study by researchers at UC Davis, small car drivers are more pro-environmental and prefer higher density neighborhoods than drivers of others types of cars. This isn’t surprising; if you live in a big city, it’s simply easier to park with a small car and if you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want something that’s more fuel-efficient. Small car drivers, unlike other categories of drivers, don’t necessarily see their cars as a ticket to freedom. They aren’t workaholics or status seekers who try to display wealth. They want to lessen their impact on the earth and have a reliable car—and find a parking spot.
Mid-Sized Car: Chevrolet Sedan
The authors of the study found that “mid-sized car drivers have no distinct travel attitude, personality, lifestyle, mobility, or travel-liking characteristics.” Ouch! Does that mean they’re totally boring? Maybe, or maybe just pragmatic, or maybe they got their cars as a hand-me-down. The owners were more likely to be female and homemakers; they also had higher incomes.
If you’re driving an American-made sedan, you might belong to the group psychographers call “belongers.” That’s those who need to belong to a group, are very nationalistic, and don’t like change. The stereotype of this person is someone who lives in an average town in the Midwest. When not driving a sedan, they may also be in a U.S.-made pickup or station wagon.
Luxury Cars: Cadillac, Lexus
Those who drive luxury cars are—no surprise—status seekers; they also are more apt to drive long distances. Men and older or retired people are more likely to drive luxury cars. In particular, luxury car drivers are over-represented among highly-educated and higher-income people.
In psychographic lingo, the “achievers”—profit-oriented workaholics who like being independent—are also likely to drive luxury cars and/or sports cars.