Who would have guessed that the car or truck you drive indicates what you are? No, not as a person but a political preference. And, who would even study such a thing? But for over two years Strategic Vision collected data from over 300,000 new car buyers to see which way they voted. Then they combined the new car data to see if there were any patterns. What they found was that they could tell whether you were Democrat or Republican from the type of car you drive.
Take convertibles, for instance. Almost 70% of the people who drive one are Republican. “You wouldn’t just take this data on convertible buyers and only create Republican appealing messages, but instead, ask yourself about the conquest opportunity with Democratic buyers who don’t gravitate as much to convertibles,” Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards told Drivingthenation. “However, you still can’t ignore the obvious. If I were selling a convertible I’d consider buying some air-time on Fox News.”
Conversely, only a bit over 20% of Chevy Bolt EVs were purchased by Republicans. So for Chevy, it would make better sense to advertise Bolts on MSNBC. Below are the top five vehicles owned predominantly more by one party affiliation than the other:
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Volvo C30
- Nissan Leaf
- Acura TSX wagon
- Ford Fiesta sedan
- Ford Mustang convertible
- Audi A8
- Mercedes GL
- Ford Expedition
- Ford F-150
In general, the study found that Republicans tend to purchase vehicles that are both domestic and large. They also prefer higher horsepower models. Democrats, on the other hand, purchased greener, less expensive vehicles. They also wanted vehicles with greater fuel efficiency.
Three of the vehicles for each party were labeled as the best value
Interestingly, what the two parties had in common was that three of the vehicles for each party were labeled as the best value in their particular segment. Strategic Vision says that the similar values of vehicles show they had a clear image plus emotional DNA. So the owner’s perception of the vehicle’s value increased. This led to more purchases.
When it came to median income, the Republicans have the highest at $93,000. Breaking out the Libertarians revealed the same median income. Democrats were lower at $86,000. Those identifying with the tea party had a slightly lower income than the Democrats.
“A major election year would make such findings interesting”
“We obviously believed a major election year would make such findings interesting, but the value of this data exists in how it trends with specific brands, models, and the multitude of correlation profiles possible, says Christopher Chaney, Strategic Visions vice president.
“We certainly can appreciate the anecdotal discussions that explain why these consumers make the decisions they do,” says Chaney. “But the actionable steps to create more sales come from understanding at the brand/model level. Such things as openness and freedom associated with convertibles and those who vote Republican, for example.”
We don’t know how important this information will be for campaigns. But it does shed light on the preferences of voters in each party. During this campaign season, it might help some car companies target certain models of cars around political advertising. And it continues to show that members of each party see the world in different ways, and place the importance of purchases around different parameters. But in the end, we’re all Americans, and that is what is most important.