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People Prefer Angry-Faced Cars

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the researchers-like-to-anthropomorphize dept.

Transportation 473

fatalfury writes "Researchers from the University of Vienna asked 20 males and 20 females to rank vehicles based on their appearance. The list of traits included arrogant, afraid, agreeable, disgusted, extroverted, sad, and others. Cars with 'meaner' traits (such as BMW) ranked higher, whereas cars with 'nicer' traits (such as Toyota's Prius) ranked lower. With billions spent on developing new products in the automobile industry, this could spur a trend in meaner-looking cars and perhaps explain why sales of the Prius and other green cars are slow to take off with average consumers."

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As a non-driver (4, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 6 years ago | (#25352589)

This doesn't surprise me too much; people who drive seem to be so much more tense.

Re:As a non-driver (5, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 years ago | (#25352631)

A serious follow on from this is what effect does a mean-looking car have on a driver or other drivers. I know that for some reason it is *much* easier to be nice and let a VW beetle out from a side road than a BMW or SUV.

Also when a BMW tries to cut in to your lane you are much more likely to perceive it as an aggressive deliberate move and block them than a "nice" looking car, where you tend to think "oh, someone's not paying attention!", let them in and then shake your head dismissively.

Re:As a non-driver (4, Insightful)

Goffee71 (628501) | about 6 years ago | (#25352659)

As a driver I look at the driver of the other car, not the model. If its an idiot on their phone, doing their makeup, eating, flipping through radio stations or CDs, having a row with a passenger - I give them miles of road, regardless of model.
As an aside, most cars look pretty cool compared to my little old Renault. However, if I see a Prius on the road, all I'm reminded of is a beached whale - they're just the ugliest things ever.

Re:As a non-driver (2, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 6 years ago | (#25352881)

You obviously have never encountered a Chrysler PT Cruiser or a Fiat Multipla, if you think the Prius looks bad...

Seriously though, you've got time to look at the drivers? I try not getting into accidents... that takes most of my concentration ;).

I can't say I'm more weary of BMW or Mercedes drivers than I am of drivers of other makes... I'm trying to keep an eye out for 'Stupid Behavior'. The make just determines whether or how much I'm surprised afterwards.

Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (2, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 years ago | (#25353023)

Just weird. Especially the early models [wikimedia.org] , later ones look much more standard.

Re:Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 6 years ago | (#25353045)

The first time I saw the original Multipla, I seriously thought it was a clown car or some sort of spoof. The idea that somebody would seriously want a car to look like that did not cross my mind.

Re:Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (2, Funny)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 6 years ago | (#25353069)

I'm still trying to get over the fact that people beside patriotic Italians would buy Fiat or Alpha Romeo at all. ;)

Re:Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (2, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | about 6 years ago | (#25353113)

well, the alfa 159 at least looks bad

Re:Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353235)

Maybe because Alfas are actually great cars, and above all, beautiful. And come with a pedigree.

Proud owner of a 1992 Spider and a 2007 Brera.

Tell me this isn't drop dead gorgeous: http://www.gokertuning.com/autodelta-alfa-romeo-brera-j5-3-2-c-2007.htm [gokertuning.com]

Re:Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (2, Informative)

FJR1300 Rider (888176) | about 6 years ago | (#25353251)

Maybe because Alfas of old used to be some of the best looking cars of the time. Not the most reliable things, granted, but still stunning machines.

And maybe because Alfas of today are both very good cars _and_ also damn sexy.

Check out google images for Alfa 147, Alfa 159, Alfa GT, Alfa Spider, Alfa Brera, Alfa Mito and Alfa 8C.

Probably the only automobile marque of today that hasn't a single dud/ugly duckling in its line up.

Re:Fiat Multipla - does not look bad (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353101)

It looks like a ninja turtle

Re:As a non-driver (1)

ozbon (99708) | about 6 years ago | (#25353193)

I still maintain that the Chrysler 300C is the most butt-ugly modern car. It beats the Multipla hands down, and looks like a brick on wheels.

As for being wary/weary of BMW drivers, I'm not wary of them, but instead just tend to expect BMW drivers to do stupid things at any given moment.

Also, I swear that working indicators are an optional extra on BMWs - there seem to be an awful lot of owners who have no idea what they do.

Re:As a non-driver (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | about 6 years ago | (#25352687)

On another bright side, thieves are people too and this made me more interested in my dream of owning a pink Prius. (who knows, maybe they will steal it and return it piano black to me)

but I had to settle for just a pink DS now

Re:As a non-driver (2, Funny)

quenda (644621) | about 6 years ago | (#25353115)

my dream of owning a pink Prius.

That would be the car with an "O"-face.

Re:As a non-driver (5, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | about 6 years ago | (#25352889)

I know that for some reason it is *much* easier to be nice and let a VW beetle out from a side road than a BMW or SUV.

BMWs, Jags, Mercs tend to never say thankyou for being let out. They seem to assume that they own the road. Therefore I deliberately don't let them out.
Also, I notice - they're the last to switch their lights on when it starts to get dark - or when there's fog/spray on the motorways. I put that down to them assuming that everyone "can see them because they're so important, in their important car".
Psycho-analyze that. :)

Re:As a non-driver (1)

tacocat (527354) | about 6 years ago | (#25353211)

It would be interesting to see what other people have as their top three list of unpleasant cars.

Mine is clearly a different breed: Dodge Ram and full size pickups (Dodge, GMC, Ford F-series) top the list. After this comes the SUV's starting with the Cadillac and Lincoln models. After this comes the more aggressive mid-size cars: Mustang, Charger

Re:As a non-driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353285)

I thought the new BMWs' lights went on automatically?

Re:As a non-driver (2, Informative)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 6 years ago | (#25353015)

on the other hand, people do tend to go out of the way far sooner when you approach behind them in something like a bmw.
my mother sometimes complains when she's driving the bmw that every car just makes way for her on the highway, rather forcing her to overtake them, even when she doesn't intend to.
the few times i could drive it, i also noticed it. i usually drive a ford focus, people respond less agressively to your manoeuvres, but on the other hand, noone is inclined to get out of your way if you want to pass them -_-.

Re:As a non-driver (5, Insightful)

Chatsubo (807023) | about 6 years ago | (#25353201)

When I moved from a rather ordinary looking ford to a BMW, I noticed a sudden and drastic change in the way traffic around me responded.

The biggest of this is, when I'm cuising down the fast lane (my driving habits didn't change all that much, actually these days I tend to cruise a bit slower), people tend to get out of my way much quicker.

From the get-go I've suspected that this is because my car looks "angrier" and that people somehow feel that the guy sitting behind the wheel is exuding that same aggressiveness, and thus just want to get out of the way.

However another theory I have is that people assume BMW == asshole and expect me to be excessively aggressive because of that.

The again, I've thought much about how certain cars (like my poor BMW) get a bad rap for having "asshole" drivers... if a BMW driver doesn't signal, he's a f&^% bmw driver, if another driver does the same, he's just a f&%^ idiot. Maybe it'll turn out to be based more on the cars' looks than anything else. The car looks angry, therefore the driver must be angry, therefore he must be an asshole.

Re:As a non-driver (3, Insightful)

ozbon (99708) | about 6 years ago | (#25353319)

Well, I have to say that in my experience it's not because the BMW looks "angry", it's because the drivers tend to see their BMWs as safety cages, and thus can do what they want, when they want.

My other half used to laugh at my rational prejudice against BMW drivers, until I started pointing out how many times the cars that cut us up on the motorway, or failed to indicate (or both), or tailgated, or slammed across all three lanes of motorway to take the turn-off they hadn't appreciated, or jumped red lights, or (ad infinitum) were BMWs.

I don't know *why* so many BMW drivers are assholes, but the great majority certainly fulfil (and thus propagate) that conclusion.

Re:As a non-driver (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25353203)

Me, I tend to think that those driving a Beetle don't know anything about cars, so are less likely to be good drivers than say someone with a BMW M3.

A Beetle is just the same chassis as a Golf, but the bodyshell is bigger (probably less aerodynamic too despite being curvy), heavier and more expensive than a Golf to buy. Then since it is heavier and less aerodynamic it will also get a lower MPG and cost more over time as well. So basically it makes no financial or practical sense - only people who are concerned with looking "fashionable" get them. Hence the term "hairdresser's car" (see also the first generation Audi TT).

Of course plenty of BMW drivers will just be trying to make some kind of statement with their car as well - but at least some people get BMWs because they are good driver's cars, so you can't be sure that all of them are just pricks trying to show off. My uncle likes his fast cars, but he refuses to get a BMW just because of the way people perceive them.

Re:As a non-driver (3, Funny)

cailith1970 (1325195) | about 6 years ago | (#25352777)

So apparently we don't only need to worry about road rage from the drivers, apparently the cars are angry too!

Re:As a non-driver (2, Funny)

tacocat (527354) | about 6 years ago | (#25353163)

Mad Max

It's part of the mentality that people drive very aggressively. Hard to do in a cute car.

New keep one thing in mind. Of the people who drive/own vehicles, this population consisted only of those with the time and interest in rating the emotional appeal of their vehicles. For the rest of us who don't care... Maybe that is a small part of why the Prius, Beetle, etc are selling better than the H3, Mustang, Cherokee, etc. I think people who take importance in their vehicle tend to be more aggressive drivers and are therefore willing to pay the price at the pump for their personal lifestyle.

So, with this, and other comments already provided I think all they have confirmed is that dicks, on the road and off, are always trying to f#@K you. And the nice thing is that now it is so much easier to identify who the dicks are. A license plate frame might help too.

Re:As a non-driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353313)

Opinions may tend to vary wildly. So they thought a Prius looked "nice"?! To me, the Prius gives the impression of having a virtual "Kick Me" sign mounted on the back -- no offense to any tree-hugging earth-muffins who may drive one, it's just my opinion. I recently saw a Prius with a radar detector and I'm still trying to suss that out - since they are usually hard-core right-laners. BMW's (for the most part) don't seem very intimidating. However, the drivers occasionally appear to be suffering from testosterone-poisoning.

I wonder how the Europeans would view the soccer-moms, aggressively driving their Christmas-wreath encrusted (some with blinking lights), full-size SUV's that will soon be popping up around Atlanta?

Me? I drive a tiny Ford POS with a "Kick Me" sign over the license plate. I'm not at all proud of it's appearance (buck-toothed-goober), but it's paid for, has cold A/C and gets over 30, non-hypermiled MPGs. I can't haul plywood with it, but it's more than adequate for it's usual job of sitting at the airport all week.

That's why I prefer... (5, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | about 6 years ago | (#25352621)

... pop-up headlights. It looks like my car's asleep, which is fairly representative of what's going on in my driver's seat too...

Re:That's why I prefer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353161)

Overdose of knighrider?

Re:That's why I prefer... (1)

Joolz50 (1381499) | about 6 years ago | (#25353249)

I prefer popup lights too, because it makes me feel like a sleeping ninja

Yes you're right (4, Insightful)

superskippy (772852) | about 6 years ago | (#25352625)

Yes, you're right. A survey of just 40 people will change the direction of car design, especially since they spend billions on car development, but they haven't thought to ask people what they thought of the appearance of cars.

Re:Yes you're right (2, Interesting)

darinfp (907671) | about 6 years ago | (#25352665)

Well, we recently had a survey of 20 people make the national newspaper with findings about racism and integration issues regarding the Muslim community.

I suppose a slow news day combined with slowing sales might help.

Re:Yes you're right (4, Insightful)

Fallus Shempus (793462) | about 6 years ago | (#25352675)

Not only 40 people, but 40 people in Vienna prefer BMWs to Toyotas, anyone got a map?

Re:Yes you're right (0, Flamebait)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | about 6 years ago | (#25352855)

Let me see - you ask 40 Austrians whether they'd rather be seen in:

a) a Nazi Staff Car, or
b) Hirohito's rickshaw.

Guess which they choose?

No shit, Sherlock!

Re:Yes you're right (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353275)

*something* tells me youâ(TM)re voting for McCain/Palin.

Re:Yes you're right (5, Funny)

quenda (644621) | about 6 years ago | (#25353109)

In Austria they only prefer BMWs because of the better 'roo-bars.

Re:Yes you're right (1)

temcat (873475) | about 6 years ago | (#25353175)

Are there kangaroos walking on the streets of Vienna, AUSTRIA?

Re:Yes you're right (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#25352749)

A survey of just 40 people will change the direction of car design...

Surveys of 20 people or less can make headlines all over the world these days. In fact, the less people you survey, the more likely it is that you will be picked up by news feeds and your results broadcast all over the world. I suspect that if you surveyed 5 people who liked bananas, and took the time to run half dozen statistical tests on their five answers, we could have any colour car we wanted as long as it it was yellow.

Re:Yes you're right (5, Funny)

teh moges (875080) | about 6 years ago | (#25352891)

100% of the people I just asked agreed with you on that.

Re:Yes you're right (2, Informative)

elynnia (815633) | about 6 years ago | (#25352863)

Another problem that I see with this survey is that it was restricted to one geographical location. Do people universally prefer similar traits in automotive design or are there regional discrepancies?

I find the Mark 2 Ford Focus to be an interesting case study - the European and American branches of Ford made significantly [wikipedia.org] different [wikipedia.org] cars as a follow-up to the original Focus. The European Focus uses clean-cut, simplistic lines whilst the American equivalent treats it as a scaled-down large sedan with a much more aggressive tone.

Is this a result of market demand or just a difference in design philosophy? Someone here should be an expert in automotive design...=]

-Aly

Re:Yes you're right (1)

HUKI365 (1113395) | about 6 years ago | (#25353233)

No, not even design philosophy. The American Focus is a POS, and is being dumped in 2010 in favour of the Euro style. Though that didn't stop you Americans buying the ugly thing!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352627)

I don't think this has something to do with the 'angry' appearance of the cars (although that really IS what perhaps even a majority of people seek in cars - the old freedom, a place to relax, unwind). To add onto that, BMW design although controversial, is good. I'm sure if they tested a better looking 'cute' car than Prius, a car whos design at least for me creates _no_ emotions whatsoever (compared to lets say a small Peugeot, Mini...), the results might have been different.

Angry test subjects. (5, Interesting)

TwoBit (515585) | about 6 years ago | (#25352633)

I'd be angry too if I wasted my time being part of a "study" that includes only 40 people.

Re:Angry test subjects. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353081)

After an exhaustive study of 40 people I met on East Colfax, I conclude that 10% of the population is into fucking geese, and the rest enjoy manipulating tail-pipes with potatoes. The government is watching, and that is why they smell like sour milk.

Excuse me? (5, Interesting)

John Betonschaar (178617) | about 6 years ago | (#25352661)

and perhaps explain why sales of the Prius and other green cars are slow to take off with average consumers

Uhmm, last time I was in the US (CA), a 2nd-hand Prius with low mileage was actually _more expensive_ than a new one, because everyone wants to have one but Toyota can't keep up with the demand.

Calling Prius sales 'slow to take off' sounds a bit like... Opposite reality?

Re:Excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353043)

That Toyota can't keep up means only that they can't keep up not how much demand there is (compared to other cars).

Also if I remember correctly one of the reasons used Pruises cost more is because they have a HOV sticker. Newer ones are no longer eligible for the sticker while existing stickers are valid for a couple more years I think.

Re:Excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353263)

That's still the case. If you want a Prius, you order it and wait a couple of months for it to come in. Pre-owned are still as expensive, if not more, than a new model. Although these tend to be well spec'd vehicles, not the no frills option at the bottom of the price list.

Yes... (1)

misiorysio (940608) | about 6 years ago | (#25352663)

I am sure the car companies will spend billions on differently-looking cars because 40 people said so.

Ford Ka (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352669)

Oh, yes, definitely true. Have you ever seen a Ford Ka [elitecarmallorca.com] , for example? They're mean-looking little beasts, but they sold very well here.

then this is a mutant (5, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#25352673)

Re:then this is a mutant (5, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25352851)

Looks perverted to me - two ugly cars humping.

Perhaps not a mutant,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353169)

I would say that this car can be described as "fugly".

The angriest-looking car in the world... (5, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 6 years ago | (#25352677)

... is the Triumph Herald Vitesse [wikimedia.org] .

Re:The angriest-looking car in the world... (1)

Twisted Willie (1035374) | about 6 years ago | (#25352827)

It might look mean, but it can be easily tamed by turning it into a sailboat and drowning it.

Re:The angriest-looking car in the world... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25352873)

You can hear the "get off my lawn!!"

Re:The angriest-looking car in the world... (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | about 6 years ago | (#25352973)

Here's the same car on a better day [flickr.com]

Re:The angriest-looking car in the world... (2, Interesting)

shish (588640) | about 6 years ago | (#25352975)

That looks like an angry OAP; For real bad-assery, you really need a truck [shishnet.org]

Re:The angriest-looking car in the world... (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#25353209)

That's not a truck, that's a transformer!

Angry cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352681)

So we need green angry cars. Incredible Hulk cars. Awesome.

Not the only problem with the Prius. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352683)

Not only is it ugly, but it's small and very expensive. I'm sure both those traits help it sell well! It's not even that efficient compared to other vehicles its size.

Unless you live in a place like London where the cost of normal cars is artificially inflated so that only the rich can afford to drive there, there really is no point to the bloody thing.

Gosh what a huge and meaningful sample (1, Redundant)

yakumo.unr (833476) | about 6 years ago | (#25352693)

I mean, FORTY WHOLE PEOPLE, wow! and from where? There are whole countries, and probably regions/states within whatever country they took their 40 people from that I don't believe would follow their conclusions.

Certainly immediately millions of Mini, Beetle (new and old style) and Smart Car owners would disagree.

Emotional Responses (2, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | about 6 years ago | (#25352701)

Emotional responses to the outwards appearance of a vehicle is why it should be harder to get a drivers license. There are many people that can't be trusted with the responsibility that comes with driving a car. Operating a car isn't a right, it is a privilege.

Re:Emotional Responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352885)

Not where I come from in the US. In these parts you have to have a car, or you don't work. Hardly a privilege.

Re:Emotional Responses (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 6 years ago | (#25353343)

That is true, but needing something does not make it a right. In the US most people need a car, but driving is still a privilege, not a right.

Re:Emotional Responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352905)

Emotional responses to the outwards appearance of a vehicle is why it should be harder to get a drivers license. There are many people that can't be trusted with the responsibility that comes with driving a car. Operating a car isn't a right, it is a privilege.

Ah, you act like the emotional responses to the outwards appearance stops at the car these days. The average 19-year old female walking around a college campus is probably wearing $250 worth of clothing and accessories at any given time (Coach purse in tow of course), along with $1500 worth of the latest tech (iPhone, Macbook, iPod, etc.) that they HAD to have, which ultimately fulfilled more fashion then function.

And we have to wonder why Gen-Y/Z has screwed themselves over drowning in debt?

As for me, I'll be looking for the right number of air bags before I'm concerned about the look of my car. I'm thinking more people need to take Common Sense shopping with them, especially with the economy today.

Re:Emotional Responses (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352993)

"WHAT?"
Hmm land of the enslaved and home of the frightened.

Re:Emotional Responses (2, Funny)

kklein (900361) | about 6 years ago | (#25353039)

Yes, I agree. People should have no preference whatsoever vis a vis the outward appearance of their auto-mobile contrivances, as it is sure to lead to dangerous driving behavior.

The article lacks important detail (-1, Troll)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 6 years ago | (#25352705)

Who were the 40 people? Were they all Austrians? Austria still seems to have a bit of a love affair with far-right politicians, even if they do kill themselves while speeding in BMWs, so this could conceivably tell us more about Austrians than people in general. People usually support the far right because they feel insecure, and aggressive looking cars might add to their feeling of security. After all, the French often seem to have a passion for cars that look quirky, while many US cars just look too brutish for Europeans. Perhaps Californians like the Prius because they tend to be more laid back and less insecure (I know, pop psychology is scientific junk...but so is the article.)

The other interesting question is whether manufacturers should be allowed to make aggressive looking cars. They are supposed to be a form of transport, not an external dick waver. Perhaps making them look friendlier would make the roads safer.

Re:The article lacks important detail (1)

pisto_grih (1165105) | about 6 years ago | (#25352817)

Austria still seems to have a bit of a love affair with far-right politicians, even if they do kill themselves while speeding in BMWs

It was a VW Phaeton. Not an angry car.

Crap survey (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | about 6 years ago | (#25352709)

More likely that people saw the recognisable face of a BMW and opted for that - There's no doubt BMW's are a popular car. And the face is recognisable because its usually the one you see in the rear view mirror tailgating you and flashing its lights.

Thats the very reason I would never be seen dead in such a car.

N.

Now you did it (1)

Dirk Becher (1061828) | about 6 years ago | (#25352715)

Lol-Car is sad! :(

It's conscious, rather than subconscious (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | about 6 years ago | (#25352731)

It's conscious, rather than subconscious, if you ask me. It's not a mystery like "what makes someone attractive" - you look at a car with a "mean" look and you know why. Aggressive angles, sharp lines, etc. And aggressive look equates to engine power and speed with a car.

Nearly everyone likes a "mean" looking automobile; mostly because car makers generally put "mean" looking designs into sports cars or put in powerful engines.

Re:It's conscious, rather than subconscious (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 6 years ago | (#25353061)

What is 'powerful' in your book?

Personally, I drive a 99 Buick Century. In Switzerland, that is a rare make and model to be driving.

I do so for several reasons:

1: The previous owner sold it with a few minor and one hellishly obvious dent. So it was cheap.

2: It has a nice V6 engine and thus is safer to drive as I can find my way into traffic more easily. Good acceleration equals safety. I don't care for top speed as just about any car manages 120 km/h, which is the maximum speed limit we have.

3: It's fricking one and a half tons. And looks it, too. Meaning all those fucking businessmen and housewives in their SUVs will think twice before getting into a fight with me. I'm not some New Beetle. You can't squash me with one of your huge tires. I bite back and your car will take SIGNIFICANT damage, too!

4: Pretty darn good mileage for such an engine.

5: As my wife and myself have experienced with her Peugeot 206, people are generally much less inclined to be rude to you in traffic (tailgating and such) and put you in harms way with their reckless driving, if you have a car that doesn't look puny. She, and myself (so it doesn't depend on the driver), has had much less trouble once she swapped the little silver potato for a Chrysler.

This is like the arms race between the Sovjets and the US back then... if you can keep up with the others, chances that war starts actually go down.

A to B (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#25352737)

I prefer a car that gets me from point A to point B; safely, efficiently, and comfortably. In that order. This appears not to be the case for most people.

A neighbor of mine one got ~$1500 off the price of his (new) car because it had a bright yellow paint job. His wife was not pleased. His children were furious. He was happy to have "saved" so much money. Most people would say that the paint job saved him ~$1500 off the price of a perfectly fine car. I say instead that the paint jobs of all others cars of that model cost their owners $1500.

When things like a paint job and how "angry" a car looks are determining what cars people buy, you know that the cars themselves are grossly overvalued. If someone can add on 5% to the price of a car because of the shape of its headlights, you have to ask just how much of the original price was based on cosmetics and not on quality. This is important because if its the former, then the modern automobile industry is standing on thin foundations which may end up crumbling when severely undercut by the latest line of cheap Chinese cars, which can be glossed up just as easily as their western counterparts.

There's a simple rule to buying cars. Never buy a new one. You'll invariably be conned out of thousands over silly cosmetic details. Buy used, and put your pocket before your pride. You might need what's in there later on.

Re:A to B (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#25353029)

There's a simple rule to buying cars. Never buy a new one. You'll invariably be conned out of thousands over silly cosmetic details. Buy used, and put your pocket before your pride. You might need what's in there later on.

Don't forget that by buying used, you also dodge the steepest part of the depreciation curve.

Re:A to B (1)

TwentyCharsIsNotEnou (1255582) | about 6 years ago | (#25353057)

He saved $1500 because of the paint job, and he'll sell it for a lower price for the same reason. So he may not have saved any money at all.

Other people's opinions DO count when buying your car - those are the people you'll be trying to sell it to when you're finished with it.

why all the Prius hate? (3, Interesting)

rarel (697734) | about 6 years ago | (#25352745)

Am I the ony one who actually likes that car? It's a clean and minimalistic without being bland, like the first-gen Prius was. I like it a lot, it's very contemporary. At worst I would call it unremarkable, but certainly not ugly.

Now the Fiat Multipla posted above, that's one ugly vehicle. :x

Crap (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 6 years ago | (#25352763)

I drive a Miata; 08, icy blue.

Not only does it not have an angry face I am not gay either.

I am so confused now.

Yet I haven't found a woman who doesn't love it...

I always wonder if some of these studies aren't just because of where they were taken

Re:Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352847)

Imagine what would have been your score if you drove a BMW Z4 then...

Cars are ugly these days, why? (5, Funny)

Batmensch (130224) | about 6 years ago | (#25352765)

To tell you the truth, there's been one car in the last decade that I thought looked interesting (under $50K, anyway), and I bought one, the PT Cruiser. Why can't they make decent looking cars anymore? Design by committee?

In lieu of this discovery... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352783)

...why not make car horns sound more angry? Perhaps a human voice swearing? Preferably in French.

Yeah, confirmed. (1)

archeopterix (594938) | about 6 years ago | (#25352803)

Screw market research - I chose my Yugo for its figurehead of a rabid sabre tooth tiger in flames. Try to beat that, BMW!

if nothing is learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352837)

the lessons/consequences will be repeated ad nauseum.

I like renault twingo (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#25352853)

perfectly shaped car like sci fi movie cars -> compact, shapely exterior, like a toy that fits in your hand, interior is big as a normal car, fits everywhere.

there should be more cars like that.

In Germany (3, Informative)

mbierenfeld (72214) | about 6 years ago | (#25352865)

you need angry looking cars on the "Autobahn" to get all the suckers out of the way. Serious this is sick. Families are drivin around with their kids in small Fiats and are attacked by old farts with 160mph.

Re:In Germany (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | about 6 years ago | (#25352933)

it's all right if you've got the right connections [wikipedia.org]

All People Are Austrian, All Cars Are Faces (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 6 years ago | (#25352921)

If the conclusion that "people" prefer X holds, then either everyone thinks like Austrians, or else Austria is the most culture-neutral group of people on the planet. Far be it from me to suggest that say, Americans and Japanese might evaluate cars differently because they evaluate and relate to faces differently, when we have Austria as a global baseline.

Also, everyone evaluates cars as faces, rather than as machines or butts. The former would make too much sense to be interesting(!), and the latter would make it impossible to conclude that anger was the most important characteristic, because after all, how can you tell when a butt is angry?

What a great example of forced results. If the results had been real, by now cars would have evolved to have faces painted on them rivaling the toothy grin on the Curtis P-40s of the Flying Tigers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_tigers [wikipedia.org]

A Sleek Red Beauty (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 6 years ago | (#25352949)

And then there's the Alpha Romeo 8C ...

Its true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25352971)

The point is true though isn't it. I drive a Renault Safrane (Mk2). IF you've ever seen one you'll know what I'm talking about. The headlights have the mean focused and streamlined look. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with the car. BMWs suggest arrogance as do some of the latest sports range rovers. Mercedes lost the plot with their 2 little round headilghts on each side.

It is a fact of life that people respect mean looks. I used to drive a Renault Megane. I used to get cut up and forced to let other drivers past all the time. Now they see me coming head on with my beast they always give way and let me through. It doesn't matter that only 40 people were surveyed because it only confirms what most drivers know to be true anyway.

What we've missed out on however is the back lights of a car. Most BMWs have big ugly back lights that say 'bully' on the road. You get one of them cut you up pulling into your lane in front and you get annoyed. You see a car with 'nice' rear lights do the same thing and it just doesn't offend which is what Renault have uniquely mastered with the Safrane.

Cars do have a very strong impact on people. The fact they have 2 headlights instantly reminds most people of eyes. The radiator grill opening reminds us of the nose. The bumper the mouth. The meaner it looks the more people respect it.

You also don't tend to mess with drivers of mean looking cars. You find you don't risk winding them up on the road etc.

Trickery of the mind is a powerful too.

Take it to the next level.... (1)

codeButcher (223668) | about 6 years ago | (#25352999)

Nothing says "mean" like a machine gun mounted in your sunroof.

So there's no possible way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353003)

that Priuses sell less because of cost? How about performance?

Car analogy anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353027)

Could anyone come up with a car analogy? I just don't get the article...

Re:Car analogy anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353143)

A car driving down a road is like a packet of information traveling down a tube.

Hardly a scientific test (1, Redundant)

simonech (229668) | about 6 years ago | (#25353077)

40 people is hardly a significant number test cases for such a universal statement.. furthermore all are Austrian.

What about a flex-faced car? (5, Interesting)

bdwoolman (561635) | about 6 years ago | (#25353085)

Hmmmm. Not hard to imagine some simple ways to alter the "expression" on the car. Compressed air components acting like face muscles, lights, rotating panels.

Heading to the beach? Happy face. Heading to work? Angry face. On a date? Depends what you are into. Heading in for service? Sad face. Heck. Why not have mood horns as well? Okay, maybe not. Let's not get too crazy.

Things must have changed... (3, Interesting)

karot (26201) | about 6 years ago | (#25353099)

I distinctly remember seeing a TV program way back (perhaps 10 years ago) where the Japanese carried out a study just like this. They wanted to know why a new car would not sell, and discovered entirely the opposite - The car was unpopular because of its not-smiley face - Which is why a large number of Japanese manufactured vehicles have a smiley face on them. I have noticed this quite regularly ever since.

It could be that drivers have changed in 10 years, it could be that Japanese drivers are just "nicer" and prefer a smiley car, or perhaps it is saying something about how the world is changing as a whole.

On the other hand, perhaps it is just so much statistical bullsh*t... You choose :)

So... (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 6 years ago | (#25353111)

... which car has the "I just came" face?

Have you seen the honking Prius 2.0? (5, Funny)

KlaymenDK (713149) | about 6 years ago | (#25353119)

Old news ... to boost Prius sales, Toyota are giving the 2.0 a face lift. I can't find any good online reference, but spy photos report looks similar to this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Honking [wikipedia.org]

GEM Peapod (2, Funny)

Two99Point80 (542678) | about 6 years ago | (#25353151)

Well, this thing [greenecomobility.com] is right off the scale...

Old news, really old news. (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 years ago | (#25353199)

Car designers seem to have caught on this decades ago. Have you seen any recent Audis or BMWs and compared them to earlier models? That's clearly a trend toward looking mean and aggressive already. This study just confirms what car designers have known for a long time.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25353273)

Tell that to Toyota - what B.S.

Americans ... (1)

giorgist (1208992) | about 6 years ago | (#25353279)

I don't mean to be anti- anything but I just went to the Australian motor show, and as well from my experience on cars in the street the US cars seem to be made that way. The European have a sense of luxury, The Asian seem practical and a little frilly but the American cars are in your face, me vs the world. Keep the outside world out ?!?!

anti greenpower (2, Interesting)

nicknamenottaken (1384173) | about 6 years ago | (#25353335)

Besides performing a survey on 40 people in a country populated by alot of BMW's, is there perhaps a psychological impairment on the fact that alot of people are still not interested in going green? If they know they are looking at a prius is there mind thinking "well before I actually make a judgement on the looks, its a low powered, environmentally friendly car and I'd never have one of those" before actually considering the cosmetics? Does the car they know to have a fuel guzzling engine in it look better than the car they know to run on batteries?
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