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Transportation Science Technology

People Prefer Angry-Faced Cars 473

Posted by timothy
from the researchers-like-to-anthropomorphize dept.
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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People Prefer Angry-Faced Cars

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  • As a non-driver (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raju1kabir (251972) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:00AM (#25352589) Homepage
    This doesn't surprise me too much; people who drive seem to be so much more tense.
    • Re:As a non-driver (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:06AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Goffee71 (628501) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:11AM (#25352659) Homepage
        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kokuyo (549451)

          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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by RuBLed (995686)
        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: (Score:3, Funny)

          by quenda (644621)

          my dream of owning a pink Prius.

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

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

        by caluml (551744) <slashdot AT spam ... OT calum DOT org> on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:02AM (#25352889) Homepage

        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. :)

        • by tacocat (527354)

          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

          • by azav (469988) on Monday October 13, 2008 @08:28AM (#25353741) Homepage Journal

            I hate the new (post 2001) BMWs. Their fronts and back look like they are angry at me. Why a car's ass would be angry at me, I'll never know.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by caluml (551744)

              Why a car's ass would be angry at me, I'll never know.

              Why you think a car is "angry at you", I'll never know.

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

                by fishbowl (7759) on Monday October 13, 2008 @12:19PM (#25356911)

                At least in the US, kids are encouraged to anthropomorphize cars from the earliest stages of cognition.

                Now, I had the ultimate "angry" car. A 1959 Chevy Impala. The back of the car looked like an animal face with chrome and steel whiskers and evil looking eyes :-) The front had four-foot long chrome harpoons that ran along the front fenders. The hubcaps when in motion, had an effect of spinning chrome abbatoir blades complete with red and black paint. This car was a real can opener and no matter what you drive, it was a *can* by comparison.

                I parted with that car when I couldn't afford $1.80/gal gasoline in a 1950s car, but I have different standards now for what I think looks "mean and angry" in a car.

                Here is some advice for those who are getting cut off and tailgated: Drive a car that looks like a complete piece of crap. Make sure it looks like there is no possible way you have insurance or brakes. Nobody who actually cares about their vehicle will get anywhere near you. "Rusty old truck" effect is fun.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by PachmanP (881352)
                  A significant portion of my driving philosophy is the person with the worst car has the right of way. Who's gonna flinch? The guy in the brand new BMW 7-series or the guy in POS 80's ford escort?
          • You must live in a red state.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Arterion (941661)

              I wish I had mod points. There is so much truth to this. I have the same experiences as the GP, and I do live in a red state (Nashville, TN). It's the idea that the wealthy folks are royalty, and the average folks are their peasants or serfs. I hear a lot of people here go on about "entitlement" programs, but in my experience, it's usually only the rich ones that really feel entitled to anything. I used to work in an expensive salon in the Green Hills area, and those clients were so overbearing. I ult

        • by digitalsolo (1175321) on Monday October 13, 2008 @08:55AM (#25354019) Homepage
          I once felt the same way that you do... then I purchased a BMW, and it turns out, with it, you do in fact get a deed stating that you own the road.

          Now excuse me, I need to go refill my latte.
        • by tnk1 (899206) on Monday October 13, 2008 @11:25AM (#25356027)

          As an owner of a BMW, I can tell you without any doubt whatsoever that we don't think we own the road, we DO own the road. After all, we paid for it. It was part of the option pack I had to get to get the sunroof. Why do I have to pay an extra 52 million for an interstate highway just to get the sunroof?

          My lights come on when they need to, because they are on automatic, just like everyone else's.

          As for thanking people for being let out, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Just like everyone else. And sometimes when I do, people don't notice it. I think you just happen to notice it more from drivers of more distinctive vehicles. Just like I always look for the drivers of slow SUVs or minivans in the left lane with the "My child is an honor student at..." to be on their cell phones.

          I know a number of drivers who have BMWs, Corvettes, Mercedes and other sorts of cars. Some of them are jerks, but most of them are better than average drivers. You don't spend money on a car with any sort of performance and not want to take care of it, and that includes knowing how to drive so that you don't wreck your car. Do you have any idea how much it costs to fix one of these things?

          I don't regard my car as intimidating or important. I didn't buy it to be intimidating, I bought it because I like good engineering and style. There are cars significantly more intimidating looking than a BMW of any model and many of them are cheaper too.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Racemaniac (1099281)

        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

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

        by Chatsubo (807023) on Monday October 13, 2008 @07:04AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ozbon (99708) on Monday October 13, 2008 @07:27AM (#25353319) Homepage

          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 (Score:5, Interesting)

            by plover (150551) * on Monday October 13, 2008 @08:04AM (#25353581) Homepage Journal

            Well, there are two kinds of people in the US who buy BMWs: those who love driving and scrape every last dime together to buy one, and those who have a lot of money and buy one because they are owned by other rich people. I think the rich drivers tend to be the bad drivers. In general, it seems that people with money tend to have more arrogance, and that extends throughout their social life, including driving.

            In some of the most affluent suburbs around here (especially the ones noted for 'old money'), I've noticed the drivers are exceptionally bad, regardless of make. They are driven as if they were the only driver on the road.

            The exception seems to be Volvo drivers. They are the most timid creatures on the road, and seem to be able to happily sit waiting to make a right hand turn until the entire rush hour is over. I believe the whole "Volvo is the safest car" idea to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: Volvos have a reputation for safety, so the overly cautious drivers flock to them and enhance that reputation. The problem is that the traffic around them is less safe because of their penchant for delay.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by hkmarks (1080097)

          I personally avoid hitting BMWs because I suspect they're really damn expensive to get fixed.

          YMMV.

        • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday October 13, 2008 @08:51AM (#25353987) Homepage Journal

          The car looks angry, therefore the driver must be angry, therefore he must be an asshole.

          That's still better than what others think of me.

          "The car is yellow, therefore the car is a lemon, therefore the driver had lemon pie for dessert."

          Wait, what?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nschubach (922175)

            Try driving an '08 MX5 Miata. I get all kinds of mixed responses. People that tell me it's a nice looking car when I stop at places (like the gas station, drive through, or the cop that pulled me over for not having a front plate, etc.) and people that feel the need to scream out their window that I'm some kind of "faggot" or "homo" for driving it while they speed off or pass by. I'm not sure what exactly inspires them to do so, but the record is currently 10 compliments vs. 3 people with some kind of br

        • Re:As a non-driver (Score:4, Interesting)

          by shiftless (410350) on Monday October 13, 2008 @01:39PM (#25358335) Homepage

          No, this study changes nothing. It's not about the car, it's about the class of people who typically drive them. Different types of cars attract different types of people.

          I am from Alabama, and if I see a rusted out, primered up '72 Nova with Confederate flag and "Fear This" stickers driving down the road, I would be pretty surprised if I saw a corporate exec in a business suit driving it. If I saw a brand new BMW rolling down the street then I would be surprising to see a mulleted, tattooed redneck behind the wheel.

          I guarantee you that a typical good ole boy redneck gettin 'er done in his rusted out POS does not drive in the exact same manner as a snobbish corporate exec who thinks he is hot shit in his $3,000 suit and brand new BMW. The driving society as a whole comes to understand that certain types of people tend to drive certain vehicles, so when you see that vehicle out on the road your mind automatically makes certain assumptions about the person driving it. It's an assumption, yes, but a pretty good one that is borne out by real experience.

          Some cars have stronger stereotypes than others. For example, BMW, Corvette, and (new) Beetle all have certain images associated with them that some people seek out and others avoid. Mustangs (my favorite) and Camaros are the same way, but not as strong. A Camry, Accord, or something like that really doesn't have much of an image, it's more of a bland family car. Nobody sees a Camry cut someone off and thinks "yet another stupid Camry driver", but if a guy in a BMW does the same thing it just reinforces the stereotype. If you look closely, you can see a pattern here. The more expensive the car, the more likely it is to have a certain "image" associated with it. I would say that BMWs as a particular example tend to attract a lot of assholes, because it it just nice and expensive enough to be exclusive but not expensive enough to be unaffordable to the typical young hot shot exec--or those who want to be like him. I'd also bet that the typical BMW driver in Europe is not the same as in the States, because BMWs are cheaper to purchase over there.

          No guy, at least here in the South, would be caught dead driving a Prius because everything about the car just screams homosexual. Sneer and jeer all you want about how this fact proves your culture (wherever it may be--California, Europe, whatever) is superior to everyone else, but the fact remains. The truth is, if the automakers want hybrids to be more widely accepted, they need to design and market them to Joe Average American and not to So.Cal. metrosexual Starbucks-inhabiting elitists. Build a hybrid with a top speed of 140+ MPH, 100+ MPH trap speed in the quarter, aggressive looks, 40+ MPG, and reasonable cost, and it will sell like crazy. Otherwise, don't be pissed when most people aren't interested.

      • 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 concer

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cailith1970 (1325195)
      So apparently we don't only need to worry about road rage from the drivers, apparently the cars are angry too!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tacocat (527354)

      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

  • by n3tcat (664243) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:05AM (#25352621) Homepage
    ... 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...
  • Yes you're right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superskippy (772852) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:05AM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by darinfp (907671)

      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.

    • by Fallus Shempus (793462) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:15AM (#25352675) Homepage
      Not only 40 people, but 40 people in Vienna prefer BMWs to Toyotas, anyone got a map?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by elynnia (815633)
      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 mu

  • Angry test subjects. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TwoBit (515585) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:06AM (#25352633)

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

  • Excuse me? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Betonschaar (178617) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:12AM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MtViewGuy (197597)

      Besides the fact you can get about 45-49 mpg in "real world" driving on the current Prius, don't forget that the car itself sports an amazing amount of interior space (the roomy back seating especially) and the fact you can fold down the back seats to get a big cargo area.

      It will be very interesting to see what Toyota does with the 2010 model, the third-generation of this ground-breaking car. We do know that Toyota wants improved performance and even better fuel economy, probably by going to a more powerful

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)

      There is another twist to the Prius thing: some used Priuses have a HOV sticker attached to them that allows them to be driven in the HOV lane by a single occupant. There's a quota on those stickers which has been reached, so you can grab about 5K extra if you're selling a Prius with one of those stickers.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:15AM (#25352677) Homepage

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

  • Emotional Responses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Narpak (961733) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:18AM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kklein (900361)
      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.
    • Not everyone wants performance. For many it's more a question of aesthetics. Lots of people buy expensive cars and just drive them around normally.

  • 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.

  • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:23AM (#25352731) Journal

    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.

    • by Kokuyo (549451)

      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 frickin

    • I don't see why that can't also be subconscious. Subconscious doesn't mean you can't be aware of it or it can only be one or the other. In this case, I think they mean that the thought comes automatically, you don't have to sit around and consciously think about it first.

  • A to B (Score:2, Insightful)

    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 t

    • by compro01 (777531)

      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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hao Wu (652581)
      Girls must really admire your efficiency.

      Cheap bastards get tons of chicks, right? (All of them HOT...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      I think the same thing about women. The pretty ones cost WAY more than they're worth--not to mention the much higher maintenance costs.
    • Re:A to B (Score:5, Insightful)

      by D Ninja (825055) on Monday October 13, 2008 @10:10AM (#25354879)

      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.

      Really? Never? Hmmm...let's see...

      The first car I bought was a used car. It was $8,000 at purchase price. Not too bad given milage/condition/etc (and I had it inspected by my own mechanic). However, over the next two and half years, I spent ANOTHER $8,000 getting the stupid thing fixed up, etc, etc. There were weird problems that kept cropping up. I kept holding out thinking, "This will be the last thing I need to fix." Of course, that wasn't the case. The breaks giving out (while I was driving) was the last straw.

      Instead, I bought a Toyota for $13,500, brand new, and I haven't had a single problem (except for a flat tire) since then. That was almost 4 years ago. I have a warranty, I know all the problems with my car (no shady history), and I keep a good record of all the mechanical work I do on my car (get regular oil changes, etc). I will *never* buy a used car ever again.

      Additionally, someone will probably respond and say, "Your car depreciates in value so fast...it's a bad investment." Um. What? When is a car an investment? Last time I checked, anything that DEPRECIATES in value at all is not a real good investment. My car exists to get me to the places I need to go, and I need to feel safe and comfortable while doing so. That's it. I'm not trying to make money off my car. I will drive it into the ground (or until it starts costing me a lot).

      Alright. I'm off my soapbox now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)

      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.

      I read about a study on the psychology of car selection, road rage, etc... Basically the outcome was that most people see their cars as an extension of their personal space. A

  • by rarel (697734) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:27AM (#25352745) Homepage
    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

  • by Shivetya (243324)

    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

  • by Batmensch (130224) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:32AM (#25352765) Homepage

    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?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      So? At least people there know to get into the right lane when not passing.

      A lot of highways here, two slowpokes often "race" neck and neck with each other for minutes on end to the detriment of everyone behind them.

  • Screw market research - I chose my Yugo for its figurehead of a rabid sabre tooth tiger in flames. Try to beat that, BMW!
  • 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 (Score:3, Informative)

    by mbierenfeld (72214) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:57AM (#25352865) Homepage

    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mschuyler (197441)

      Going fast on the average Autobahn is a nice theory, but in practice most of them are old two-laners (two in each direction), in disrepair, and dominated by literally miles of semi-trucks in the right lane that have no problem pulling into the left lane to pass another truck doing half a klick slower than they are. Now throw in construction delays every few miles where you get to drive on the shoulder for awhile or encounter a ten mile slowdown because someone is harvesting white aspargus in a field beside

  • 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

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

  • Nothing says "mean" like a machine gun mounted in your sunroof.
    • by MrMr (219533)
      Funny, because in many places nothings says "scared" like a machine gun mounted in your sunroof.
  • by bdwoolman (561635) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:38AM (#25353085) Homepage

    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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ikkonoishi (674762)

      It would be nice to have multiple horns.

      For instance a horn with a rising tone for when you are asking to get over, a horn with a cheery toot to thank people, a horn with an upset blat when people cut you off, ect...

  • by karot (26201) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:40AM (#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 :)

  • ... which car has the "I just came" face?
  • by KlaymenDK (713149) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:44AM (#25353119) Journal

    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 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Two99Point80 (542678)
    Well, this thing [greenecomobility.com] is right off the scale...
  • 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.
  • 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 ?!?!
  • 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 bette
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday October 13, 2008 @10:02AM (#25354799) Homepage

    ...don't favor angry-faced cars. Alas, anything that has low drag is going to end up looking more or less like a Prius. (Those little longitudinal wrinkles on the roof are not styling, by the way).

    The stylists need to get busy on color schemes that suggest angry red faces, or trompe l'oeil designs that make the car look a different shape than it is.Maybe they can design a bunch of terrifying-looking spikes that poke out from the front, but are made of marshmallow and retract harmlessly into pockets on impact.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      Alas, anything that has low drag is going to end up looking more or less like a Prius.

      Sorry, no. Both a Prius and a Lexus LS have a .26 coefficient of drag. The Prius design is largely to create a unique look since its market value is mostly as a fashion accessory.

  • by fugue (4373) on Monday October 13, 2008 @01:19PM (#25357979) Homepage
    I see this study as further evidence that people should not be allowed to drive.

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