You might be tempted to think, in this day and age, that the love affair between men and cars isn’t what it once was—and you’d be wrong. While car ownership is down a bit, and men don’t make up the 90% of drivers they once did, the topic hasn’t disappeared until advertisers stop asking THE question, and they have not.
What is THE question? “what makes a car a ‘man’s’ car?”
The idea that every man want to drive a tank or a truck is misguided but it’s fair to say that men have a type. It’s not, statistically speaking, women who are buying long vehicles!
Driving still seems to be a male activity. According to a poll by Strategic Vision 31% of men say they love driving compared to 18% of women. But not all the time men spend with cars can be blamed on the love of the open road. Men also prefer tinkering with cars and washing their car when compared to women.
Reasons for the love affair:
Traditionally, at least according to car salesmen, a car is associated with wealth by men. Some men may even see their car as making them more attractive, even in these days. There must be some signals in the opposite sex, otherwise men would quit thinking this way. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that a man who believes women are attracted to status symbols will be able to attract some women who are attracted to status symbols. In other words, he may not notice the women who are repulsed by a fancy car.
Perhaps the real question isn’t do men buy cars to attract women? Is it possible that men buy cars to advertise their style, and thereby attract the kind of lady they’d like to date.
What are macho men looking for—in a car?
Although men’s cars seem to be about looking good and going at fast, something like a Lamborghini maybe impractical for day-to-day use. Now that we’ve said, “looking good and going fast,” we see where a car can vibe with a man’s thinking.
To represent an animal nature, automakers use big wheels pushed to the corners of the vehicle, suggesting high shoulder lines. They use taut lines resembling muscles. What doesn’t appeal is the overdone interior. The jury is still out on animal names like Jaguar.
Some cars are even known as muscle cars, known for their rumbling, deep sounding engine. This is a good chance to test our theory about men using a car to express style in a potential mate. It seems likely that a woman who finds a man in a muscle car is probably very different than a female who might prefer a male who drives an Aston Martin or Rolls Royce, should they have any preference at all. Even if it doesn’t exactly attract the women of your dreams you still have a mean machine in your possession.
The macho cars include the Ford Mustang, the big black 7 by Aston Martin, Range Rover and Dodge Vipers. Men seem to like boxy cars. The Hummer1 was driven by Arnold Schwarzenegger and this seem to increase its popularity. Certainly, taking the idea of muscle car literally.
So is that raw power a metaphor for something more primal?
There are a number of obvious innuendos to be seen in adverts such as a “hot hatch”(back) but in general, as the rest of the world has become more sexually overt, car innuendos have become more subtle.
Are their car designs aimed at women?
Absolutely! There are even cars aimed at the Metrosexual. Cars aimed at non-macho men seem to be VW Beetle, Mazda and Nissan Cube according to sales. For some reason convertibles are not liked by men. It’s not immediately obvious where these conventions come from.
When 47% of cars are purchased by women it is maybe time to go beyond lazy stereotyping but only time will tell.