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Is Your Car A Republican or Democrat?

What your vehicle tells other people about who you are

By Rich_Maloof Apr 2, 2012 5:31PM

Photo: Knauer/Johnston/Workbook Stock/Getty ImagesWhen General Motors announced they were discontinuing the Hummer brand in February of 2010, Daily Show host Jon Stewart commented that owners of the giant utility vehicle had a problem: now Hummer drivers would have to go door to door to tell people they’re a jerk.

No matter how often we may turn out to be wrong, we do make assumptions about people based on the car they drive. And because we know others do the same, our auto-buying choices are made with some attention to the image we want to convey. According to an owner survey just released, the car you drive provides a clue to whether you vote along Republican or Democratic lines.

The survey culled 38,000 responses from people who had purchased new vehicles in 2011 and 2012. Among the findings:

• Republicans opted for bigger, pricier models, while Dems chose smaller, more affordable ones.

• Republicans accounted for 69% of convertible purchases, and Democrats only 17%.

• Among Republicans, the Ford Mustang convertible was the most popular car, followed by Audi A8, Mercedes GL-Class, Ford Expedition, and Ford F-150. Republicans also favored large SUVs by a wide margin (76%, compared to 5% of Dems).

• Among Democrats the top choice was the Honda Civic Hybrid, followed by the Volvo C30, Nissan Leaf, Acura TSX Sport Wagon, and Ford Fiesta.

• Large SUVs were favored by 76% of Republicans compared to 5% of Democrats

The consumer research group Strategic Vision conducted the survey to provide automakers with helpful marketing data (“If I were selling a convertible, I’d consider buying some air-time on Fox News,” said president Alexander Edwards). From the consumer side, the survey provides a clue into which carefully crafted images we’re buying into -- and who we are. A VP from Strategic Vision told The New York Times that the popularity of convertibles among Republicans indicates a mindset emphasizing freedom and reward. All the top choices by Democrats matched a separate survey on total auto value, indicating an emphasis on practicality.

Automakers are non-partisan when it comes to accepting car payments, but they do cultivate a customer image with extreme caution. Just look at the current crop of commercials. Subaru drivers are outdoorsy and probably have played hacky sack at some point in the past. Honda drivers are smart shoppers. Scion drivers cruise through neon cities, preferably at midnight with the music blasting. Lexus drivers are not always cleanly shaven but always handsome, particularly when glancing in the rear view.

Not everyone chooses a car as a status symbol, and dozens of factors influence any purchase as expensive as a new automobile. But our choices do reveal something about who we are and/or the image we’re comfortable portraying. If you’re the one wearing a red dress to a party, you probably didn’t drive there in a station wagon. If you’re the practical type, you’re not expected to pull up in a checkered MINI Cooper.

Are you immune, or have you bought into a well-crafted media message? And if you’re enjoying the springtime in your new Mustang convertible, can we count on you to vote Republican this fall?

Apr 3, 2012 3:41AM
I guess I am a Democrat because I drive a smaller car. Actually I am not. This article is so stupid. I drive what I could afford and like. I don't like bigger cars and only have one kid so I don't need an SUV.
Apr 3, 2012 3:38AM
This article is nutty - I am definitely not a republican, and drive a new large MB SUV.  We currently have two new MB, and have had as many as four high end luxury/sport cars at once.  Success and taste have nothing to do with political affiliation-common sense does.
Apr 3, 2012 3:27AM
I drive A Durango, I'd prefer to drive an F150, and guess what...... I am a registered Democrat. And no I did NOT Vote for Obama.
Apr 3, 2012 3:24AM

I'm a Republican and I drive a Scion xB. My neighbors all drive gas-guzzling tanks. I think they're all Demos. At least they appear to be jackasses.

Apr 3, 2012 3:18AM
It's obvious. Republicans are successful and Democrats are barely getting by.  That's why they love the welfare state that Obama is creating. They can't make on their own abilities or talents and buy a nice car.
Apr 3, 2012 3:16AM

I sold cars for about 5 years - both new and used for two large big-city dealerships.


I don't remember who necessarily preferred what, but since I lived in a farm state,

I'd have to say that farmers were mainly Republicans and Ford and Dodge were

the two biggest sellers; Dodge out-selling Ford when the body style changed back

in the 90's but now I'd have to say they are pretty much even.


Blue-collar factory workers loved their Dodge trucks and GMC trucks and SUV's

but now I believe that Chevy SUV and Buick SUV's have captured their eyes.


Most "Union people" tend to be Democat where I used to live.

Apr 3, 2012 3:13AM
I drive a restored 1967 GTO 400 ram air and I have them all beat. BTW, if you're wondering...........INDEPENDENT.
Apr 3, 2012 3:09AM

I like to think that i am a smart shopper, I purchased  2011  honda crv  and do love it as much as every one else that has driven it

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