Most Popular Car Names

And Questionable Things We Do In Cars

[Carjojo Survey Results]

by Scott Graham

You lovingly name it when it arrives —  Bertha, Jackson or even Bruzer. You give it encouraging words when it behaves well. You scold it when it’s naughty. And you fret about its hurt feelings when it’s mistreated.

It’s not your kid. Or even your dog. It’s your car.

A broad swath of Americans treat their cars like family members, naming them, talking with them, and worrying about their emotional well-being, according to a new survey of 617 adult car owners.

And the car-as-human behavior is most pronounced among women and millennials.

Car Names - 35% of Americans Give Their Cars Predominantly Female Car Names

35% of Americans Give Their Cars Predominantly Female Car Names

Forty-two percent of all respondents have named one of their cars past or present — 30% are on a first-name basis with their current car — and 46% of women have done so (32% currently). Fifty-seven percent of eighteen to 29 years olds have named a car (46% of them currently own a named car) the biggest percent of any age group.

Car names, it seems, are predominantly female. Among those who’ve named their cars, 35% only use female names (many respondents cited classic or old-fashioned names like Lucy, Betsy, Bessie Sue), compared to 15% who exclusively use male (examples from respondents include Chester and Stuey). The rest use gender-neutral names (Sasquatch, Big Red, Silver Bullet) or a mix of guys’ and girls’ names for different cars.

A car is one of the biggest investments you make in life, and for many people it’s so much more than a way to move you from point A to B. It takes on a personality all its own. A car can be a friend, a confidant, a companion. said Scott Graham, Vice President of Marketing at Carjojo. 

Women, More Than Men, Talk To Their Cars

Lots of people shoot the breeze with their vehicles. Forty-one percent say they have conversations with their cars (45% of women say they do, compared to just 35% of the apparently less-communicative male gender). And perhaps because they’re acclimated to spilling their guts online, forty-six percent of 18-29 year olds chew the fat with their rides, more than any other age group.

All that talking isn’t just idle chit-chat. Twenty-three percent of respondents encourage or thank their vehicle for good work, four percent scold it for its bad behavior and nineteen percent do both. Women outpace men for encouraging words (25% give them versus 20% of men) and young people outpace old  (25% of 18 – 29 year olds versus 14% of those over 60).

And more than one-in-five (21%) of women worry about their cars’ hurt feelings if someone treats it badly, while a mere 15% of men share that sensitivity chip. And twenty-eight percent of 18 to 29 year olds feel the same, besting their colder-hearted older counterparts.

Have you named a car you've owned?

Car Names are predominantly female
Have you named a car you’ve owned? TOTAL (617) WOMEN (348) MEN (269) 18-29 (99) 30-44 (173) 45-59 (197) 60+ (148)
Yes, at least one of my current vehicles is named 30% 32% 26% 46% 36% 25% 16%
Yes, in the past but not a vehicle I currently own 12% 14% 11% 11% 14% 14% 10%
No 58% 54% 63% 42% 50% 61% 74%

Are your vehicles' names male, female or gender-neutral?

Car Names - Among those who’ve named their cars, 35% only use female names (many respondents cited classic or old-fashioned names like Lucy, Betsy, Bessie Sue)
Are your vehicles’ names male, female or gender-neutral? AMONG THOSE WHO’VE NAMED CARS ONLY TOTAL (292) WOMEN (174) MEN (118) 18-29 (59) 30-44 (96) 45-59 (87) 60+ (50)
Female 35% 40% 29% 46% 36% 36% 20%
Male 15% 14% 18% 20% 13% 13% 20%
Gender-neutral (or gender fluid) word or phrase 24% 19% 32% 8% 21% 33% 34%
A mix of male, female and/or gender-neutral, for different vehicles I’ve named 25% 28% 21% 25% 30% 18% 26%

Do you ever talk to or have "conversations" with your vehicle?

Car names - Do you ever talk to or have "conversations" with your vehicle?
Do you ever talk to or have “conversations” with your vehicle? TOTAL (617) WOMEN (348) MEN (269) 18-29 (99) 30-44 (173) 45-59 (197) 60+ (148)
Yes 41% 45% 37% 46% 43% 44% 33%
No 59% 55% 63% 54% 57% 56% 67%

Do you worry your vehicle's "feelings" are hurt if someone treats it badly?

Car names - Do you worry your vehicle's "feelings" are hurt if someone treats it badly?
Do you worry your vehicle’s “feelings” are hurt if someone treats it badly? TOTAL (617) WOMEN (348) MEN (269) 18-29 (99) 30-44 (173) 45-59 (197) 60+ (148)
Yes 18% 21% 15% 28% 20% 19% 9%
No 82% 79% 86% 72% 80% 81% 91%

Do you ever verbally congratulate or thank your vehicle for good work, or scold or express anger towards it when it does something "wrong"?

Car Names - Do you ever verbally congratulate or thank your vehicle for good work, or scold or express anger towards it when it does something "wrong"?
Do you ever verbally congratulate or thank your vehicle for good work, or scold or express anger towards it when it does something “wrong”? TOTAL (617) WOMEN (348) MEN (269) 18-29 (99) 30-44 (173) 45-59 (197) 60+ (148)
Yes, I acknowledge its good work 23% 25% 20% 25% 26% 25% 14%
Yes, I let it know when it’s done something “wrong” 4% 3% 4% 7% 4% 4% 1%
Yes, I do both 19% 22% 16% 33% 20% 16% 14%
No 54% 50% 60% 34% 50% 55% 70%

42% of Americans Have Had Sex In Their Car

The survey also asked what people did in their cars, and the results show Americans put their cars’ interiors to creative use to pass the time and take care of personal business.

Eating full meals, chauffeuring pets or having deep conversations were relatively common (70%, 62% and 66% of respondents had done those things respectively).

But nine percent of respondents have shaved in the car (?!), and it’s not just guys …Five percent of the ladies say they shaved in their vehicle, too. To those Americans, an on-time arrival may be less important than a hairless one.

And speaking of ladies: 58% of them have sang a power ballad behind the wheel, compared to just 38% of their more close-lipped male counterparts. Fifty-seven percent of women have changed attire in the car, a feat accomplished by 54% of men, too.

What about those private couple activities? Forty-two percent say they’ve had sexy time in the car (49% of men and 36% of women), and most of those aged thirty to forty-four have done the deed there (57%), the biggest percent of any age group.

Results by Age and Gender

Which of the following have you done in your vehicle (select all that apply)? TOTAL (617) WOMEN (348) MEN (269) 18-29 (99) 30-44 (173) 45-59 (197) 60+ (148)
Ate a whole meal 70% 72% 67% 78% 75% 71% 56%
Applied make-up 34% 58% 4% 55% 34% 36% 20%
Shaved 9% 5% 13% 15% 9% 6% 7%
Took a nap in my driveway or parking lot at home 25% 28% 20% 39% 25% 22% 16%
Took at nap while parked at work 27% 26% 28% 33% 32% 28% 15%
Had a deep conversation 66% 68% 64% 80% 77% 60% 51%
Had sex or other intimate act 42% 36% 49% 47% 57% 38% 27%
Changed my clothes 56% 57% 54% 68% 72% 50% 37%
Diapered a child 25% 29% 20% 10% 28% 32% 23%
Sang a power ballad 49% 58% 38% 62% 65% 49% 24%
Played a road game 49% 54% 42% 54% 59% 45% 38%
Completed a work/school project 20% 26% 13% 37% 23% 20% 7%
Listened to an audiobook or podcast 45% 43% 47% 51% 53% 42% 34%
Chauffered a dog or cat 62% 69% 54% 63% 61% 69% 56%
Camped 25% 21% 29% 20% 26% 28% 21%
Tailgated a sports event or concert 26% 21% 32% 22% 31% 27% 21%
Drove a stranger (not for work) 24% 23% 26% 18% 22% 25% 29%
Drove for a ride-sharing service (eg Uber or Lyft) 3% 2% 3% 2% 5% 2% 2%
None of the above 5% 5% 6% 2% 2% 7% 9%

64% of Americans Are Irked By Passengers Avoiding Seat Belts

Not all passengers are created equal. A laundry list of bad passenger behavior gets under the skin of drivers, the survey revealed.

Smoking is the single biggest pet peeve, cited by 72% of all respondents.

After that, women tend to fret about safety and health infractions: 64% are irked by passengers avoiding seat belts (56% of men agree) and 49% hate alcohol-imbibing passengers (43% of men concur).

Men dislike passengers who dirty their cars, or mess with their driving comfort. Forty-nine percent dislike passengers fiddling with the radio (47% of women feel the same). Forty-eight percent hate passengers who rest their feet somewhere other than the floor (45% of women do, too).

And back-seat driving? No one’s having it. It grates on seventy-five percent of men’s nerves, and 68% of women’s.

We don’t know why women and younger car owners say they think of their cars like people, but as far as we’re concerned at Carjojo, keep at it. Owning a car is fun. Name it, talk to it, enjoy yourself, said Scott Graham, Vice President of Marketing at Carjojo.

Results by Age and Gender

Which of the following passenger behaviors bothers you when you’re driving your car? (select all that apply) TOTAL (617) WOMEN (348) MEN (269) 18-29 (99) 30-44 (173) 45-59 (197) 60+ (148)
Swearing or cursing 18% 19% 17% 9% 14% 21% 25%
“Back-seat driving” 71% 68% 75% 72% 68% 73% 72%
Eating 15% 12% 19% 10% 15% 16% 19%
Drinking alcohol 46% 49% 43% 40% 47% 46% 51%
Drinking any beverage 10% 9% 11% 6% 10% 11% 12%
Resting feet somewhere other than floor 47% 45% 48% 38% 46% 54% 44%
Adjusting audio entertainment without first asking (radio, etc) 48% 47% 49% 42% 43% 53% 50%
Not wearing seatbelts in the front seat 67% 70% 63% 77% 66% 61% 68%
Not wearing seatbelts anywhere in vehicle 60% 64% 56% 68% 60% 51% 68%
Changing heat or AC without first asking 42% 41% 42% 39% 39% 45% 42%
Smoking 72% 76% 67% 74% 69% 70% 76%
None of the above 3% 3% 4% 2% 2% 4% 4%

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Survey Methodology

The Carjojo survey was conducted online by SurveyMonkey from May 4 to May 6, 2017 among a national sample of 617 vehicle-owning adults aged 18 and over.