A driver’s dream: being noticed

Greeks have always had an emotional attachment to their cars, dating back to the days when entire families could be seen out washing the family sedan every Sunday. A survey by MRB, titled «Greeks and Their Cars,» has confirmed what most people already know: That cars are considered a basic necessity for most Greek households, 64.3 percent of which own at least one car, while another 10 percent have more than two cars. Only 27 percent buy second-hand cars, which is hardly surprising since buying a car is one of the most important decisions that Greek consumers can make. The average Greek driver is male, aged 25-50, works as a technician, in an office or as a merchant, and is the owner of a five-seat family car that is three to seven years old with a 1,200-1,600cc engine. The reasons people give for their attachment to their cars varies according to their age group. Nearly half of all 18- to 24-year-old drivers like to drive fast and over a third say they want a car that people notice. The vast majority of men (80.87 percent) of all ages admitted, or boasted, that they mainly wanted their car to attract attention, compared to only 19.13 percent of women. Nearly as many men (79.30 percent) admitted to being «obsessed» with their cars and said they «liked speed,» while nearly as many said they «enjoyed driving.» Although female drivers are more and more common, particularly in the cities, They don’t appear to have the same emotional relationship with their cars as men. They primarily want a comfortable and enjoyable ride. Generally women appear to be more practical, claiming to be more interested in the car’s performance than in the impression it makes. Two thirds say they see their car as a «means of transport,» and just over half believe the best thing about a car is the comfort it provides. On the other hand, only 25.49 percent of women aim to make an impression with their car. For Greeks, cars are generally associated with strong feelings. Speed is the most important thing for many of them, despite widespread television coverage of the carnage on the country’s roads. They say speed is «an attitude to life» and that the feeling they have for their cars is one of «passion.» A glance at the graphs quickly shows why 18-year-olds fit smoked-glass windows into their cars, crank up the music and burn rubber. And they show why, as these kids grow older, the make of their car becomes as crucial to their identity as is the color of their eyes. The expression «Show me your car and I’ll tell you who you are» holds more true in Greece than in any other country in the southern Balkans. «Greeks and Their Cars» is an MRB analysis of data on Greeks’ consumer habits collected by TGI Research between June and December 2004, from 6,585 households. *This article first appeared in Kathimerini’s Sunday color supplement «K,» May 15 issue.