Study shows people love their cars and show unique 'autotudes'

Jan. 1, 2020
Whether you drive a Blue Bomber, Sunny the Sunfire, Pontiac Pete or just a plain old Honda, most people have a connection with their vehicles, thinking of them more than a piece of machinery a new study finds. A Shell "Autotude" Survey(i) shows Ameri
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Whether you drive a Blue Bomber, Sunny the Sunfire, Pontiac Pete or just a plain old Honda, most people have a connection with their vehicles, thinking of them more than a piece of machinery a new study finds.

A Shell "Autotude" Survey(i) shows Americans believe their vehicles have unique personalities (67 percent), would make them proud in front of their boss (64 percent) and can even score them a date (60 percent). Plus, there are regional differences in drivers' "autotudes."

While most of the country views their cars and trucks as simply a way to get from point A to point B, drivers in the Farm Belt states (from North Dakota down to Kansas and Missouri) the Outer South (from Texas to Virginia) and New England(ii) say they actually enjoy and look forward to driving.

The survey had respondents describing their autos with language once reserved for children and pets. Here's what respondents divulged:

• Vehicles have personalities, too. Two in three American drivers believe their cars have a personality and most respondents agreed that they had a "strong emotional bond" with their vehicles (56 percent). Additionally, more women (66 percent) than men (56 percent) feel their personality is similar to their vehicles'. And 21 percent even admitted to patting their dashboards like a pet.

• Flush with pride or embarrassment? Most Americans (64 percent) say they would be proud of their autos if they had to give their bosses a ride and only 15 percent say they'd be embarrassed. Southerners are the proudest with more than 70 percent saying they're happy to show them off.

• He-Car, She-Car. Nearly half of drivers think their vehicle has a gender, with 60 percent of vehicles viewed as female and 40 percent viewed as male. Of those with a gender, vehicles in Southern states are more likely to be female, while autos in the Midwest are more likely to be male.

• The name game. While most respondents say their cars have personalities (67 percent), surprisingly few Americans drivers have a name for their vehicle (15 percent). However, one in five people who live on the West Coast say their cars and trucks do have a name and 28 percent of those who name their vehicle say they chose a name based on someone they know.

• Can your pick-up pick up a date? Those lucky in love may have their auto to thank since 60 percent of Americans believe cars can be "chick or dude magnets." Sports cars are the most attractive overall (46 percent), while SUVs turn heads in the Deep South (22 percent) and Mountain (25 percent) states and pick-ups have fans in the Great Lakes and Pacific states (15 percent each).

• Maintenance likes and dislikes. Most Americans feel relatively comfortable performing maintenance tasks on their vehicles. However, there are still certain tasks that drivers dread like changing a flat tire (28 percent) and changing their oil (19 percent). Pumping one's own gasoline is the task American drivers feel most comfortable performing (88 percent).

• Engine gunk is junk. Most American drivers are savvy about the build-up of engine gunk in their cars and say that gunky build-up can rob their engines of performance (93 percent), decrease their car's fuel efficiency (92 percent) and increase how much their car pollutes (80 percent).

"At Shell, we're experts on fuel, but we wanted to know more about drivers' "autotudes" -- or the bond they have with their vehicles," says Todd Jackson, advertising manager, US Retail. "The results showed us drivers have a surprisingly strong emotional tie with their automobiles, and that's why we are pleased to provide them with a gasoline that can help eliminate gunky buildup on critical engine parts and educate consumers that not all gasolines are the same.”

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