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Car Courtship? New Study Finds Canadians Link Relationship Potential to the Type of Car You Drive

autoTRADER.ca's annual love and cars survey discovered almost half of Canadians (47 per cent) see those driving an SUV as potential "marriage material;" while 61 per cent associate exotic sports cars with short-term flings

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2019 /CNW/ - A new study from autoTRADER.ca has discovered that when it comes to dating, the type of vehicle you drive, and how long you've owned it, can actually impact how "relationship-ready" you appear to a potential date. Step aside, exotic sports car drivers: nearly half of all Canadians report finding SUV drivers to be most attractive and commitment-friendly (40 and 48 per cent respectively). In fact, commitment-craving Canadians may want to steer clear of flashy sports cars altogether, since almost two thirds (61 per cent) of Canadians associate such cars with short-term flings. Even a modest, reliable sedan sends a better signal for long-term relationships – 65 per cent of Canadians see such drivers as stable and more likely to be commitment-friendly.

autoTRADER.ca surveyed Canadians nationwide and discovered that when it comes to dating, the type of vehicle you drive and how long you've owned it can actually impact how "relationship-ready" you appear to a potential date (CNW Group/autoTRADER.ca)

"Busy daters often look for visual cues to determine whether a date is a good fit with their lifestyle, values and what they're looking for in a relationship," says renowned relationship expert Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, PhD. "Just as we have a tendency to associate traits with a person's home or friends, Canadians believe they can better understand relationship intentions based on the car an individual drives – I think Canadians are on the hunt for clues that can help them equate certain ideals with certain possessions."

According to the survey, which polled respondents from coast to coast, Canadian car owners have some surprisingly strong emotional ties to their cars:

  • The one that got away: More than half of car owners (51 per cent) indicated they once had a car that was their "old faithful," and wonder if they'll find another one like it.
  • Terms of endearment: More than a third of Canadians (35 per cent) have actually given a car they loved a nickname or "pet name." This trend is highest among millennials at almost half (46 per cent).
  • Saying goodbye is hard to do: Almost one in four car owners (23 per cent) openly admitted to holding back tears when they've had to sell a car they loved.
  • Loyal in love (and cars): Almost half of car owners (46 per cent) feel as loyal to a car brand as they are in love and relationships. In fact, over half of Canadians (53 per cent) have owned a single car brand for at least 10 years.
  • It's the car or me: Interestingly, close to a third of millennials (30 per cent) also reported once having a partner who they thought was more invested in their car than in their relationship. Women and millennials (26 and 30 per cent respectively) were the likeliest to have encountered this scenario.

"Despite the myth of hookup culture and 'serial dating' in the digital age, the majority of Canadians are clearly long-term romance-seekers at heart," adds O'Reilly, pointing to the fact that the survey found the majority of Canadians (60 per cent) admit they are craving commitment.

Now, how many dates should one go on before feeling committed to a relationship? Seven may actually be the magic number. The majority (39 per cent) believe 4 to 7 dates should do it. A further 28 per cent believe the answer lies in 8 to 10 dates.

One unexpected indicator for those on the hunt for love, is how long a person has kept their car. More than half (54 per cent) of Canadian car owners reported keeping their vehicle for eight or more years, driving it for as long as it will go. Sixty-one per cent of this group, also reported wanting to take their relationships slow and steady, going on ten or more dates before making a commitment.

Commitment-seekers may also want to do some digging to see how long it takes their date to purchase a vehicle. Among respondents who would settle on a car right away, only 24 per cent reported craving commitment in love – almost three times less than the national average (60 per cent).

There was one area where Canadians were overwhelmingly prepared to give their fellow country men and women some slack. One could say "Sporty is the new spicy." A full 71 per cent of Canadians felt that a mid-life crisis could prompt people to buy an outrageous car to inject some excitement into their lives. In fact, 29 per cent of Canadians and specifically 39 per cent of millennials say they feel their relationship is very stable at the moment, so they are looking for thrills elsewhere (e.g. a flashy new car).

"These findings are in line with the automotive trends we're seeing in the industry; we saw a significant year-over-year increase in new SUV listings in last year's top 10 most searched vehicles across Canada, according to our site search data," says Michael Bettencourt, managing editor, autoTRADER.ca. "At the same time, the Ford Mustang was the #2 top searched vehicle in Canada, with the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette also among the top 10, which may suggest some Canadians are looking for love in the fast lane."

Interesting regional highlights from the 2019 autoTRADER.ca love & cars survey include:

Single in Halifax? Cars might be key: Atlantic Canadians are the most likely (55 per cent) to associate car ownership with relationship-readiness compared to average Canadians (47 per cent).

Commitment starts here: Atlantic Canadians were significantly more likely to report craving commitment versus their national counterparts (69 per cent versus 60 per cent).

For Quebecers, when you know, you know: Regionally, Quebecers are most "impulsive" in terms of settling for fewer dates before feeling committed, with almost one in four (23 per cent) choosing less than three dates, compared with just 13 per cent of Atlantic Canadians. By comparison, BC residents appeared to be most careful in treading such waters: they were most likely to seek more than 10 dates (22 per cent) to feel committed.

A car named…? Residents of Alberta were most likely out of all provincial counter-parts to say they have given a car they loved a nickname or a "pet name" at 48 per cent (compared to the national average of 35 per cent). They were also more likely to fight back tears when selling a car they loved compared to their fellow Canadians (27 per cent versus 23 per cent).

Ontarians are the most loyal: Regionally, Ontario car owners are the most likely to have stuck with a single car brand for more than 15 years compared to the national average (24 per cent vs 19 per cent).

Breaking up is hard to do: Albertans were most likely to experience heartache from a "vehicular break-up" (a relationship break-up that occurs inside a car) compared to the national average (27 per cent versus 19 per cent), followed by Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians (both 22 per cent).

Survey Methodology
From January 25 to January 28, 2019, an online survey of 1,525 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About TRADER Corporation
TRADER Corporation is a trusted Canadian leader in online media, managing automotive consumer marketplaces. The company's primary online destinations include: autoTRADER.ca™ and autoHEBDO.net™. autoTRADER.ca offers the largest inventory of new cars and used cars in Canada, available via our website and mobile applications. Visitors buy or sell cars, trucks or other motorized vehicles quickly, easily and conveniently. Buyers can search based on vehicle model, make, colour and geographic location to find the deal that is right for them. autoTRADER.ca is also an online destination for auto enthusiasts, featuring news and reviews from award-winning automotive journalists. Follow autoTRADER.ca on FacebookTwitter, and on YouTube.

SOURCE autoTRADER.ca