Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Car Brand Stereotypes Shortlist

My shortlist of best & worst car brand stereotypes, as judged in a completely biased and unscientific way, by me!

Whether we admit it or not, we all have in some way been influenced by the car manufacturers extensive efforts to communicate their car brand to our brains.

Perhaps it was the music in their advert? The nature of the sports event you saw their poster at? The expressions of the model's faces on their TV advert? The type of newspaper you saw their print advert in? Etc etc.

Given that each car brand tries to differentiate itself from the next car brand, manufacturer's advertising seeks to highlight particular attributes, trying to create association between those ideas and the car's brand.

Well Established Examples Include:

  • Volvo = Safety. Pioneered car safety as a main selling point of cars.
  • Ferrari = Racing. Manufacturer ONLY makes expensive supercars and competes on race circuits worldwide, e.g. F1.
  • Top Japanese Manufacturers = Reliability. Renound for pioneering mass robotic car production, with associated quality & reliability benefits.

And through part-advertising, part-observation, part-judgement, and part-bias, here's how I see certain car brands.

My Brand Associations:

BMW 3 Series = Competitive. Front runners in the rat-race, not a very noble victory to pursue.

Ford Fiesta = Dizzy driving. Mirrors used EXCLUSIVELY for make up checking.

BMW X5 = Drug dealer / un-informed school-run-mum. (Who, once she realises everybody thinks she is a drug dealer, looks to sell the X5 ASAP!)

Skoda Octavia = Minicab. Great car, I just only ever see these with a taxi badge on!

Volvo Estates = Best drivers ever. Considerate, patient, and co-operative.

Porsche = Demoralised owners in a race-ready (almost-) supercars, the childhood dream shattered by the reality of crawling through urban speed humps & traffic jams, continually paranoid about knocks, dents & scratches.

Vauxhall Cavalier = Criminal. Most often with a stolen TV in the boot.

Toyota Rav4 = Inattentive driving. More time spent choosing paint colour than spent learning to drive safely. 87% likely to crash *.

* Blatantly made up statistic.

Some true, and some a bit of fun.

So what are your car brand stereotypes?

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Anonymous said...

Road user stereotypes? This is from a cyclist/motorcyclist's point of view?

Any Vauxhall more than 8 years old: criminal with no road sense and homicidal tendencies. Labours under misapprehension that he/she is Michael Schumacher.

Volkwagon Golf Gti: drives in an annoying swervy fashion, very much like a wasp at a jam jar. Wants to kill people on two wheels but isn't aware of it. Lanes painted on the road are only for decoration.

Volvo: block the road at all costs. If it's a Volvo estate, it's made for 3-point turns in side-roads that you couldn't turn a skateboard in.

BMW (older registrations): driven slowly and courteously by day to avoid police and protect boot full of drugs or bodies. Driven madly by night for same reasons. If driven madly by day, it's been stolen by school kids.

BMW (newer registrations). generally driven well, albeit discourteously. Never thanks you for letting them through. Behind the BMW showroom is a huge pile of indicator levers that 'got in the way' of the sat-nav.

White vans: avoid at all costs - no description necessary but... more manoeuvrable than a ball bearing on ice and less predictable than herding cats. These vehicles will disappear when rocket-launchers become legal. To be safe, overtake them if you can - unlikely unless you're driving Thrust II.

Blue vans: non-hired versions of the above favoured by kidnappers, surveillance units, gangsters and plumbers.

Buses: scarier since the introduction of highway ordinance 198: "please let buses out". This rule has been interpreted by drivers as: "pull out - the law is on your side." Every bus driver likes to make life awkward for people in little ways. Buses are horrible (unless you're on one - then they're the best thing in the World.)

Cyclists: the cycling proficiency movement disappeared at the same time as Sgt. Pepper moustaches. No number plate means no accountability. Cyclists are therefore either urban matadors or lemmings on wheels. Brakes are only used at the final destination. Sadly, this is usually preceded by the A&E unit.

Pushchairs: organic devices for crossing the road from between parked cars. Push chair out into road, if screaming stops abruptly, there was a car coming.

Pedestrians: press button, do not wait for green man. When motorcyclist is approaching, run out at the last minute with a sheepish grin and a silly wave.

Motorcycles: driven for many different reasons including: frustration of driving car; midlife crisis; not belonging in car due to tattoos, beard, and ability to drink engine oil etc. All motorcyclists are tarmac snobs who believe they will automatically go to heaven because they have to suffer all other road users. Many get there sooner than planned which, ironically, is why they opted for a motorbike.

Submitted by roux_justin@hotmail.com

Urban Commuter said...

Excellent Comment! Thank you. :-)

That's pretty much everyone covered! Only 3-wheeler Robin Reliants for us to make fun of - oh. No need!

Anonymous said...

I'm a keen cyclist and have a M3 series BMW. I try to be courteous at all times to all road users and indicate even on roundabouts, unlike 98% of road users.

I have been cut up and hooted at by Volvo Estate drivers, so who knows?

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