A new Swedish research study on car brand, gender and personality shows that both personality and gender has an effect on the car you choose. Previous studies have focused on exploring the brand's personality, while this study claims that things we surround ourselves with actually reflect who we are. The study investigated whether the personality was relevant to the likelihood of owning a particular car brand.
The survey was done by John Magnus Roos, PhD in Psychology and Researcher at the Centre for Consumer Science at the University of Gothenburg and Design Psychologist at design and innovation agency Veryday. The study was done during the period of 2009-2012 and it is based on data from 1122 single household car owners and includes 15 different brands.
"We wanted to examine the relationship between the brand and the personality on a deeper level and used personality tests. The results of the study indicate that personality has an impact on people's choice of car brand," commented John Magnus Roos. "The results provide a really good baseline for further analysis about the connections between car, gender and personality."
It has been statistically proven that introverted people are more likely to own a Volvo or Opel, while extrovert own a Peugeot. Agreeable individuals seem to prefer Japanese brands, like Toyota or Nissan, while people with a more antagonistic orientation are more likely to own a Volvo or Ford. Furthermore, people of an open disposition more often own a Hyundai, people of an impulsive disposition more often own an Opel and people that are emotionally unstable more often own Peugeot or Skoda. Car manufacturers have long used brand image in its quest to make the brand more competitive and attractive. However, it is by understanding the consumer's subjective interpretation of the brand image that true competitive advantage lays. For example the Volvo brand image is associated with safety and the Toyota brand is associated with reliability and as consumers we identify with those aspects of the brand that best coincides with feelings we appreciate, the lifestyle we lead and the values we seek. The question is whether or not the car industry takes a masculine, extrovert and emotionally stable driver for granted?
"It is important for the design industry and everyone involved in the development and innovation processes, to include all relevant types of users in the design research," said Thomas Nilsson, Head of Design Research at Veryday. "We have done a lot of research in this area and there is reason to believe that the design industry has underestimated the needs of the more introvert and emotionally unstable people. To analyze the things that surround us based on user personality is much more complex than analyzing a brand personality. Now evidence is building up that deep knowledge of consumer's personality is a powerful and untapped area for designers."
"The conclusion to be drawn from this study is that the 15 most common car brands among Swedes is used to accentuate their own identity," Roos added. "Furthermore, the effect of personality on the choice of the brand differs between men and women. For example, we have found that women who drive BMW are more impulsive, but we can't find a similar co-relation among men. Note however, that we should be cautions of making the results 'a truth' as the study sample was very small."