What’s Your Car’s Name? 51% Say Their Vehicle Is A Family Member

NEW YORK — It seems cars aren’t just a way to get from point A to point B. They also hold a special place in our hearts — and driveways! Fifty-one percent of Americans consider their car to be “part of the family,” according to a new survey.

The poll of 2,000 car owners also reveals that 53 percent would keep their current car forever if given the option. For some, this is due to an emotional attachment (22%), while others simply have fond memories of their current cars (24%).

There are also more practical reasons why Americans want to keep their current cars. Almost six in 10 say it’s because of the reliability (58%) their car has given them, and 45 percent say it’s due to the good gas mileage they’re able to get.

From a financial perspective, the majority of drivers surveyed (80%) say they are likely to hold on to their car for as long as possible if they feel it will save them money in the long run. Others admit that their car needs an upgrade now, but they are unable to afford one due to financial constraints (46%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Meineke, the survey also examined drivers’ feelings toward their current cars, as well as their preferences for future car ownership. Despite their attachment to their current vehicle, only a third (34%) of drivers say they’d purchase the same make and model for their next car.

On the other hand, 47 percent say they’d look for something different — and for some, this will be an electric vehicle. Forty-five percent of Americans surveyed believe electric vehicles are the future of car ownership, with younger generations increasingly likely to agree. Specifically, 69 percent of Gen Z and 59 percent of millennials in the survey see electric cars as the future, compared to just 41 percent of Gen X and 32 percent of baby boomers.

Forty-one percent of all respondents are glad that electric vehicles are an option for their future car — with younger generations again more likely to agree (59% of Gen Z and 56% of millennials, compared to 37% of Gen X and 27% of baby boomers).

Family road trip: Parents take selfie with kids in front of car
51% of Americans consider their car to be “part of the family.” (Photo by Monkey Business Images on Shutterstock)

“We’re witnessing a shift in car ownership trends, propelled by interest in electric vehicles, especially with younger generations who see driving electric as the way of the future,” says spokesperson Christopher Streahle, VP of Marketing Meineke Car Care Centers, in a statement. “Environmentally-friendly transit options are on the rise and drivers are also considering something new, making electric vehicles a compelling option.” 

The survey asked respondents what would make them consider an electric vehicle as their next car — not having to pay for gas (35%) is the number one reason. Following that, respondents say electric vehicles are better for the environment (33%) and help to reduce air pollution (29%), the other top reasons they’d consider owning one.

Rounding out the top five reasons why respondents may look for an electric car in the future were receiving government incentives, such as tax credits (25%) and having a smooth and quick acceleration (17%). Yet, the research shows Americans still have concerns about electric vehicles: 66 percent anticipate higher ownership costs, while 41 percent believe they’ll need to spend more time at a mechanic with an electric car.

Perhaps because of that, 90 percent of drivers surveyed say it’s important to have a mechanic they trust.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American drivers was commissioned by Meineke between Feb. 29 and March 4, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


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