If you've named your car or talk to it regularly—or even felt guilty driving another one—then you're not alone. American car owners see their vehicles as family members, with 60 percent considering their cars to be part of the family, according to new research.
In fact, 56 percent of American car owners go as far as naming them.
Think celebrities are giving their children eccentric names? The Bug Slayer, Professor Yaffle and Miss Tigglywinkle are just some of the monikers car owners are using. Muscle Boy, Baby Sweet Lil' Kayden, Earth Mover and Optimus Punto also make the list of funniest car names.
With a bond so deep, what goes into the naming process? Results found that 42 percent of named cars get their names from a prominent feature (color, sound it makes, etc.). Other name inspirations come from movies, TV shows, and songs (20 percent) and famous cars or celebrities (17 percent).
The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Toco Warranty, unveiled just how close we are to our cars—two in five of the 2,000 motorists surveyed regularly talk to their vehicle.
Given that Americans speak to their cars approximately 13 times a week, with 18 percent of owners speaking to them every single trip, one might wonder what they talk about. For 63 percent of owners, car conversations are primarily encouraging the car to go faster or make it up a hill.
What other quirky habits do Americans have with their cars? It should come as no surprise that many identify their cars with personality traits.
In fact, half of American car owners describe their car as having a "trustworthy" personality. More than one in three say their car's personality is fun, and 28 percent say their vehicle is adventurous. Twenty-two percent believe their car is charming.
"Toco Warranty has long realized that Americans view their cars as four-wheeled family members. Whether you are driving to little league, on a road trip or heading out on your daily commute, we know that every mile counts," said Nota Berger, CEO of Toco Warranty. "Keeping cars reliable and on the road is Toco's mission. Straightforward coverage plans to help hard-working Americans keep their cars for longer is the Toco promise."
The car/owner relationship is a deep one, it seems. In fact, 23 percent of car owners said they've even felt guilty driving a car that isn't their regular car.
Could having an open and honest line of communication with your car reveal an open and honest line of communication with your partner?
Perhaps. Married car owners are 16 percent more likely to name their car than their divorced counterparts, and married owners are also 13 percent more likely to speak to their car during a trip.
"Everyone can identify with a car breakdown—and if you haven't, it's only a matter of time. In fact, at Toco Warranty, we say there's three things you can't cheat in life: death, taxes and a car breakdown," said Brad Basmajian, chief operating officer at Toco Warranty. "From pay-as-you-go, non-binding coverage plans to our problem-solving concierge, we want American car owners to know that Toco's customer-centric approach puts them—and their vehicles— first."
What creates the familial bond between owner and car? Of the respondents who felt their car is part of the family, 69 percent attributed the connection to the car's reliability. More than half of the respondents cited familiarity or memories in the car over time as the cause for the bond.
The average car owner sleeps two and a half nights in their car, eats six entire meals in it, and has sex in it three times.
For all that the car and owner experience together, it makes sense that 89 percent said they show their car some form of tender loving care. For 55 percent, the TLC comes in the form of treating their car to a wash or wax. Two in five car owners say they show TLC to their car by never letting its gas tank fall below 1/4th.