Car Stereotypes – Are they warranted?

Interesting, Others | April 29th, 2015 by 15
bmw vs audi1 750x500

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 …

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.

15 responses to “Car Stereotypes – Are they warranted?”

  1. Michael says:

    Great piece.

  2. Shawn Sepehry says:

    I’ve noticed that stereotyping comes from the need to label and organize things. When someone does something on the road that seems like a ‘jerk’ move, it’s easier to say that Corolla drivers don’t know how to drive rather than delve deeply into that person and their actions. Same reason that racial stereotypes are easier to make rather than judge a person on their actions and virtues.

    If we were all driving grey, no-name cars and the driver runs a light, doesn’t signal, or cuts you off, what will we say then? Sadly, something racial I think.

  3. Efoza says:

    Audi has always been seen as the poor man’s BMW in Europe. It is said that those who cannot have BMW, drive an Audi, even still now that Audi prices have gone up and are the same as BMW. Don’t forget that Audi was not always in the same league as it now tries to be.

    I would therefore say that Audi has a much bigger problem than BMW when it comes to stereotypes in Europe. It is always said, why drive an Audi if you can afford a BMW?

    • Christian says:

      I my mind you would buy an Audi like you would buy an Apple product – simply due to hype. A lot of people simply buy a product because it is “in”. They don’t really know why they buy it, but they do because the masses do.

      • Max says:

        Disagree! Apple really made good products with good quality and good service, but Audi is just an expensive VW ;) But of course its still better than a Toyota, Renault or whatever… :D

        • Christian says:

          I understand that Apple makes good products and so on, but they are also really overpriced. Same as Audi.

  4. Derrick Rose says:

    each car appeals to multiple psychographics; that being said, I hate almost all Nissan Altima drivers.

  5. orojeklo says:

    Jerk is a jerk, I’ve seen plenty polite BMW drivers, jerk will drive like a jerk in Suzuki or Mercedes. But it is true that a powerful car will boost your confidence in driving and subsequently you will be seen as jerk.

  6. Mike Vella says:

    Man, I live in southern CA, you can pretty much erase all the preconceptions because people behave badly no matter what. We all do sometimes.. As a BMW driver, I try really, really hard to use my blinkers, though.
    And you never know who can afford what. No one bats an eye at my sloppy self when I get out of our car in flip flops and my old hoodie at the grocery store.
    FYI, the worst douche I ever saw – horrible tshirt, too tan, super young wife with huge fake boobs – drove a Ferrari and couldn’t parallel park it to save his life. :)

  7. Michael Nava says:

    I’ve believed this for many years,however with auto makers making vehicles now that don’t require much human intervention,what can we expect in the future? What will people buy then?

  8. Forty2 says:

    Here in Atlanta BMWs are common as dirt. There’s 4-5 M cars and an Alpina B7 just in my apartment parking deck along with a bunch of others.

    But a great many of them are base lease specials: blah white/black 320/328/528 driven by people who have no interest in actual driving experience but want to be seen driving a BMW. These tend to be the worst BMW drivers, though most drivers of all makes here have no concept of the world outside their little bubble. Nobody signals, they do stupid, dangerous things without realizing it, they’re texting or fixing their hair, screaming at the kids, yelling into their phones, eating fast food and throwing the trash out the window, etc. They’re just awful.

    But I suppose because I drive fast (yet safely; I always signal, always look where I’m going, never tailgate) and my 335i has a pretty loud exhaust, others probably think I’m a selfish jerk. Oh well. I don’t really care.

  9. SP says:

    I’ve been driving the F10 M5 for almost two years now. What are those “turn signals” and where are they located?

    • Max says:

      In Germany I really dont need them, but here in NJ I sometimes use them on the Highway, because you can also overtake on the right :D

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