With a hat tip to Erica Barnett at Slog, some fascinating new poll results about Americans and their cars:
Almost four in 10 of those polled said their car has a personality of its own. Two in 10 have a nickname for their car. Most often it is a female nickname…
Women were more likely than men to attribute personal traits to their cars, more likely than men to give their car a nickname and more likely to see their cars as female.
Three in 10 think of their car as having a gender, with 23 percent thinking of their cars as female, compared with just 7 percent male.
Four in five of those polled said they love to drive. Young adults and older people were more likely than those 30-39 to say they enjoy driving. People who make less than $25,000 were more likely than those who make more than $75,000 to say they enjoy driving.
Also, 62 percent say they can tell something about someone’s personality just by the car he or she drives…
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I wonder, about this tendency of Americans to anthropomorphize their vehicles. Is it a sign of something worrisome about our love of guzzling gas? Is it a hidden obstacle to a more sustainable way of life? Or is it just a benign affection for a common appliance?
Lest readers think I’m looking down my nose at car lovers, I should probably confess something. Despite the fact that I work at Sightline Institute, headed up by a guy famousforhiscarless-ness… Well, I kinda sorta do have a name for my car.
It’s Silver Star. I named it that because it was born– oops, I mean “I bought it” shortly after I discovered Silver Star Mountain in the North Cascades.
It does have a personality—it’s a happy, well-mannered car. It’s also reliable, efficient, good in a pinch, tougher on remote dirt roads than you might expect a happy, well-mannered 2003 Honda Civic EX four-door to be.
Yikes. Now that I think about it, this is sort of embarrassing.
At least my car doesn’t have a gender. That’s ridiculous. It’s a car for gosh sakes.
I’ve got a 1991 Nissan pickup 4×4 unwashed with dents, cracked windshield and needing muffler work. No name, but definitely male. So what are they trying to say Eric? Does this spell ‘cheap bastard’, ‘raised in south King County’ or both?
OF COURSE vehicles have names—especially if they DESERVE them!In other words, not just any vehicle deserves a name. Our coop has “Veggie Van Gogh,” a vegetable-oil-powered combo art warehouse/living quarters, “Sunshine,” a yellow 1982 biodiesel Vanagon, named by her prior owner and now used for shuttling WWOOFers between the ferry and the farm, and “Bubba” a ’91 Dodge Cummins 4×4 biodiesel with huge “mudder” tires and a trash rack that we never would have put on, but they came with it—named for obvious reasons, but it’s probably embarrassed to be filled with manure rather than tearing up some alpine meadow on a yuppie weekend.No, we aren’t “car lovers”—they’re just tools—but when something’s got personality, it deserves a name!
What a vehicle! Maybe it’s the Dutchman in me, but I love Veggie Van Gogh. I had no idea Cummings made a 4 cylinder turbo diesel – I’ll pass that on to the auto engineer in the family. (www.deadcentercycles.com)
I never anthropomorphize inanimate objects.They hate that.
I call all my cars and trucks the same thing … POS. It’s unbelievable to me that anyone would name a car much less feel affection for it.
Isaac Asimov wrote a short story a long time ago called Christine. It took this theme together with the concept of cars with very advanced electronics/artificial intelligence to a bizzaar conclusion.
The only name I can ever remember giving a car was SB, which stood for s**tbox! I think my father used that naming convention too.
Of the 8 vehicles I own (all old things), only one has a name. Merlot Moosemobile. That is attached to our burgundy colored ne “Merlot” 1987 Volkswagen Camper. The moose part comes from my wife’s fascination with Mooses. It sounds funny. It is a fun vehicle. Period. Nearly all boats of any value have a name. It was once common to name airplanes (Spirit of St. Louis), but that practice has faded as most airplanes are called/”named” by the last three digits/letters of their registration numbers – i.e. N3133X is called “3 3 Xray.” All three of my boats have names. Small to large. I am working with a friend who just bought one of the first M.Benz “Smart” cars imported to the U.S. I insisted it have a name. It is white. She, without benefit of reading this, has among other feminine names, considered “Josehphine” which I personally like a lot. For a car built in France, it has a very nice ring to it – and fits well within the demographic above. Damn cute fuel efficient (41 mpg) car too. Real head turner.
My car has a name, maybe not apparently female, however she is somewhat ‘butch’ .. “Rotkraut” MB CLK500 coupe .. red of course