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Survey Reveals Boomers Are Most Likely To Have Fondness For Their First Car

Buckle up, car enthusiasts! We’re about to share some surprising statistics about how Americans really feel about their cars. 

Picture this: 9 out of 10 Americans can still recall their first set of wheels, and a whopping 60% are itching to hop in a time machine just to give that beloved jalopy some extra TLC.

A poll of 2,000 U.S. drivers revealed just how dedicated people are to their cars and how dearly they miss what they first drove. Baby boomers (91%) and Gen Xers (89%) especially have a fondness for their first cars.

But here’s where it gets interesting – your feelings about your first ride seem to be contagious! There’s a clear link between nostalgia for your inaugural vehicle and how you feel about your current four-wheeled choice.

Most drivers are pretty chummy with their present cars – 38% are head over heels in love, while 58% at least appreciate the utility of their trusty steeds.

Now, let’s talk about the true “car lovers” out there.

These folks are a special breed – 90% of them can recite every detail of their first car, and 71% would trade their current ride for that old clunker in a heartbeat.

They’re also the ones most likely to give their cars with names (49%), treating them more like furry friends than hunks of metal.

Speaking of names, 85% of these car-naming enthusiasts have dubbed every single vehicle they’ve ever owned. It’s like they’re collecting Pokemon, but with more horsepower! These names aren’t just pulled out of thin air either – 37% say their car’s personality dictates its moniker, 29% go by make and model, and 21% let performance do the talking.

statistics on people naming cars
Talker Research

These “car lovers” are the helicopter parents of the automotive world. They’re more likely to pamper their rides with extra maintenance (29%), rush to address any warning lights (38%), and seek out shady parking spots like oases in a desert (27%).

So, how do these motorheads express their vehicular affection?

  • Give it regular maintenance – 69%
  • Have its oil changed – 65%
  • Get it washed and waxed – 60%
  • Take it out for a leisure drive – 45%
  • Get it detailed – 39%
  • Decorate it – 24%
  • Show it off for friends – 21%

“Cars are more than just vehicles, they give personal freedom and connect people to the world,” said Fabiana Neves, Vice President, Castrol Americas Marketing. “Because of that, there’s an importance people recognize to treat their cars almost as well as they would treat themselves.”

In the end, 92% of drivers understand the importance of regular car maintenance, but only a brave 18% go above and beyond the recommended schedule. The majority (70%) stick to the book, while a quarter of respondents prefer to get their hands dirty and change their own oil.

So, whether you’re a “car lover,” “car liker,” or even a “car disliker,” remember: your vehicle is more than just a means of transportation. It’s a time machine, a personality extension, and sometimes, a beloved family member. Treat it right, and it might just love you back – or at least not break down on the highway.

“While most people know why their cars need basic maintenance just to run, there’s a clear connection between having a stronger appreciation for vehicles and those vehicles lasting longer and having better performance,” continued Fabiana Neves. “Just like any relationship, when we put in more care and attention to our vehicles, we get the direct benefit of having a vehicle that’s reliable, fun to drive, and gives us that sense of companionship that many might already relate to their first cars.”

Survey methodology:
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American car owners was commissioned by Castrol between Mar. 19 and Mar. 25, 2024. It was conducted by market research company Talker Research, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society (MRS) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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