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The Emotional Connection - Automotive

Emotional Connection Between Car and Consumer

Vehicle owners have strong feelings and emotional attachments to their cars and trucks. Even during the car buying process, a consumer considers how a new vehicle will reflect their personality, making a statement about who they are. While lifestyle requirements and budget restrictions are also a consideration, how the new vehicle makes one feel weighs heavily into the equation. Some will even spend over budget to ensure that their new vehicle reflects their perceived self image, which in turn boosts confidence and ego.

In fact, Americans love their automobiles so much that they converse with them, name them, adorn them with trinkets, and involve them in some of life's most significant and personal moments and decisions.

A Road & Travel Magazine survey yielded more than 2200 responses in December 2007 uncovering that a vast majority of respondents have some sort of relationship wit their vehicles.

Here are a few other results from the survey:

• 90% Sing in their cars
• 60% Hold conversations with their cars
• 50% Have kissed or made-out in their cars
• 27% Made love in their cars
• 27% Give their cars pet names
• 20% Hold meetings in their cars

For others the connections goes even deeper. The survey showed that some owners included or experienced some of life's most memorable moments in their car.

• 38% Car was part of their wedding
• 25% Told they were loved for the first time
• 10% Got engaged in their car
•  9%  Conceived a child in their car
•  4%  Had a baby in their car
•  4%  Been named after a car

It is for reasons such as these that advertisers and marketers now look more closely at relationship marketing; making the emotional connection between owners and vehicles when creating marketing campaigns.

Consumers identify much more closely with advertising that reflects their lifestyle and personality, and are more likely to purchase a vehicle based on that emotional connection.

ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine editors recognized the relationship people have with their cars early on and subsequently launched its annual International Car of the Year awards in 1997; a theme-oriented awards show that identifies and communicates how consumers feel about their cars. Categories include:

International Car of the Year
• International Truck of the Year
Most Respected — Luxury
Most Sex Appeal — Sports Car
Most Resourceful— Sport Utility Vehicle
Most Athletic — Pick Up Truck
Most Compatible — Minivan
Most Versatile - Crossover
Most Spirited — Entry Level
Most Dependable — Sedan

RTM understands the emotional connection between consumer and car, which is reflected in its buyer's guides and road test reviews. Reviews are written from a perspective that helps in-market buyers clearly identify which vehicles best relate to their lifestyle.

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