Lynn Dike

Steer clear of these cars!

2007-08-22 09:44

Lynn Dike

So you think your car is just a method of transportation? Think again, as according to consumer psychologist, you're wrong. Whether you buy a red convertible, a 4x4, a family minivan or a Beetle, that vehicle is a reflection of who you are.

The specific type or brand of car that you buy is supposedly a way to fulfil an emotional need and an extension of your personality. The archetypal account of "you are what you drive".

Every car, old or new, has a personality. Actually that might exclude white Toyota Camry's, the wallflower of the automobile world, undoubtedly the most boring car alive.

I love my car, but its uses go way beyond getting me from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time. I use it as a storage facility, a make-up room, a disco, a coffee shop, and a fine place to straighten my hair in the morning.

And along with all these amenities, I love the fact that it's sleek, sexy, has lashings of torque and leaps away from traffic lights like the clappers.

What is va-va-vroom?

Car surveys state that Porsche owners are more likely to cheat on their partners than any other car owner. I think this may be a case of having more opportunity to cheat, rather than just their drivers being manipulative, deceptive bastards.

I suspect that is more likely that daft women are just more attracted to men with fancy cars, rather than the possibility of Porsche owners being drop-dead gorgeous. Let's face it; a man in a gleaming Boxster is more likely to turn your head than a lesser mortal in a yellow Ford Cortina.

Driving a 4x4 tells people that you have a need for adventure. Even if you don't go off road, you still could if you want to - it gives you that capability and the feeling of no boundaries. Of course, most 4x4s in Joburg's northern suburbs have never even seen the great outdoors, let alone the wild; they are more of the captive, tamed animal variety.

Personally I think they are popular because the driver sits really high up and can survey their kingdom in a regal fashion and look down on other people in cars. But the burning question I have of 4x4 drivers is this: If you have a vehicle that can drive straight up a cliff, traverse a ravine and wade through a raging river, why is it necessary to crawl over speed humps in suburbia at 10kms per hour, inching along to protect the undercarriage?

Status and uniqueness

Apparently driving a minivan means you need nurturing and escape. And if you have four screaming children in the back, I'd say escape looks pretty tempting. (On that note, did you know that before 1920, it was technically legal to send children through the mail? Aaah, the good old days, can you imagine the fun that could be had with chain letters bearing small children?)

It seems that ultra-luxury brands show off a need for status and uniqueness. Yes, you're about as unique as every other poser show-off driving the same model.

And a hybrid car? Well, hybrids exhibit character and doing the right thing, saying that the driver is an intelligent consumer who cares about the environment.

And then of course there is the colour of your car. Black cars supposedly denote an aggressive personality or someone who's a rebel. Right, less leaping aggressively away from traffic lights for me to avoid the stereotype then.

Yellow cars signify someone who is idealistic and novelty-loving and pink cars are chosen by gentle, loving and affectionate drivers. My favourite analysis however, definitely belongs to the owners of green cars.

Yip, apparently they have hysterical tendencies, so whatever you do, try and avoid them on the road and steer clear of their frenzied inclinations!

Send your comments to Lynn.

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