Car enthusiasts understand that owning and driving a car says more about who you are than almost anything else. If you disagree, and think that a car is mere transportation between work and home, then let me try and persuade you. When a person purchases a car, regardless of kind, make, model or price, it says something about them. They chose, out of all of the cars in the world, to buy that one. They chose to live with it, drive it everyday, make payments on it, pay insurance on it and pay for maintenance for it. So the choice of which vehicle to drive one that you must live with for years to come. Which is why the chosen car says as much about the buyer as their chosen spouse does.
This can get tricky, however, as certain cars inherently come with certain stereotypes. Fair or unfair, whatever car you drive, there is most likely some sort of stereotype about you for driving it. For example, I own a BMW, so according to the automotive world, I have no idea how to use a turn signal, don’t understand how stop signs work or care if I run over children. Okay, maybe that last part isn’t true of BMW drivers, but you get the point.
The list of stereotypes is endless; BMW drivers don’t use blinkers, Mercedes drivers are arrogant stuffed-shirts, Audi drivers are yuppies, VW drivers wear backwards hats and ‘illest’ shirts, Toyota drivers only wear beige zoot suits and Hummer drivers have little…well you get the idea. The point is, people hate the drivers of specific cars simply because they drive those cars. There’s never any good car stereotypes, unless you drive a Volvo, and everybody participates in the stereotyping.
I’m one of the most open-minded car enthusiasts out there, and can appreciate a good car regardless of badge, country of origin or price point. However, I find myself often spewing vitriol at fellow drivers because of what they drive. Admittedly, sometimes its true. Pontiak Aztek drivers must have poor vision, taste or wear Juggalo t-shirts, or they would’ve have bought literally anything else. I’d rather strap myself to a skateboard atop a solid rocket booster, with nothing but paper mache helmet as protection than drive an Aztek. So despite my somewhat decent understanding of the automotive world, and general accepting outlook over most cars, I still succumb to the primal instinct to judge my fellow driver, based solely on their vehicle of choice.
The reason behind this, I feel I’ll never know. Is it mere coincidence that every time I get cut off in the fast lane, by someone going 15 mph under the speed limit, they’re driving a Lexus? Probably, but my knowledge of that doesn’t stop a expletive-induced, ten minute rant afterward. I don’t know if it’s human nature to judge unfairly, or if it’s years of similar minded neanderthals buying the same kinds of cars.
I’d have to say the latter, to be honest. We as BMW drivers have taken our fair share of punishment from the rest of the automotive enthusiast world. Being a BMW fan comes with the understanding that most people don’t like BMW drivers. On a test drive of the BMW i3, a couple of young children came rushing over to it on bikes to gawk at its funky looks. While doing so, one of the kids said “Wow, what a cool looking car. Even though my Dad says all BMW drivers are jerks”. I really wish that story was made up, and I’m sure the boys father wouldn’t have used a harsher term than jerks, but it couldn’t be more true. It must have been quite some time ago though, that BMW drivers made such a bad name for themselves, as the great Jeremy Clarkson said “All the Cocks seem to be in Audis now.” Which furthers my point. There was a time when many BMW drivers, probably due to massive popularity, drove like absolute animals. However, due to the massive popularity shift to Audi, which seems to be the hip brand these days, Audi drivers are labeled as ‘cocks’.
But it doesn’t matter how many idiot drivers switch brands, once a brand is deemed fit for bad drivers, it stays that way. So you may be the kindest soul living on planet Earth, but if you drive a BMW or Audi, or some other car with a negative stereotype, people will pass you by with looks of disgust, as if you’ve just bought the newest Drake album. It’s impossible to avoid this. The only thing to do, is buy a car that suits your specific tastes and needs, enjoy it and use your damn turn signal.