The Psychology of Owning A Car

According to a UN report in 2021, by 2050, the African adult population may rise to 1.7 billion but the number of personal cars on the road is relatively low. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), the number of cars on African roads was just 30.8 million in 2015 or around 44 cars per 1000 adults. Aside from their functional purposes, cars are often considered a status symbol. A certain level of pride is associated with owning and using cars, especially in regions where motorization is rapidly growing like Africa.
Car psychology is the self-conscious emotions derived from the appraisal of owning and using cars as a positive societal self-expression. In the short term, Car Psychology is synonymous with Car Pride. It concerns both the affective and symbolic functions of the car.
There is no surprise that car owners have a higher sense of car pride in regard to cars than non-car owners and although this post is not a universal generalization however, findings have shown that there is a positive correlation between car pride and behavior.
Here, we are exploring some of the emotions that owning a car can give its owner as follows:

Symbol of Status and Identity: William Rootes, a British car manufacturer whose company was later taken over in stages by Chrysler Cars once said “No other man-made device since the shields and lances of ancient Knights fulfills a man’s ego like automobiles” Africa, although having 13.8% of the World’s population have only 1.2% of the global car population. In a car-developing continent like Africa, owning certain cars like Range Rover Evoque or a Mercedes-Benz is surely seen as a symbol of the owner’s status. The car is a sure instrument for traveling, however, people are attracted to cars for reasons beyond mere mobility, which is reflected in the nature and universality of car use. Like other status goods, the car has symbolic meanings that are related to people’s self-concepts. It is possible even more in developing countries like Africa where the motorization rate is low but growing rapidly, car ownership is one of the most noticeable signs of social status and identity. With cars, people ‘wear’ their status on the road. Whether they own a car, what type of car they own, and how often they drive, are all representations of their symbol of status and identity.

Social Connection and Belonging: As a self-expressive sign, a car represents a person’s social connection and standing among peers or colleagues. It is common for car owners to engage in carpooling or even ‘unofficial’ car racing on the road to prove that they belong to the same social group or that they have a social connection through their cars. Drivers in similar cars often honk on the road to acknowledge their presence, driving skills, or a kind gesture and these are connections shared by strangers with one another by the reason of owning a car. Emotional responses to cars and feelings about driving are crucial to the experience of owning and using a car. Findings have demonstrated that psychological factors like social connection and belongings greatly influence car model choice, frequency of car use (big men cannot be caught without their rides) *winks* and even the adoption of electric vehicles because to them, it speaks of their type of connection and where they belong in the classes of the society. Imagine scenes at the Ikoyi Golf Club’s parking lot. Cars are definitely speaking of connections and social class without talking.

Sense of Control and Mastery: It is well known that individuals care greatly about their status and strive to attain higher status. Higher status often offers several psychological benefits, including a sense of power making status a valued commodity. This inspires people to engage in the acts of acquiring cars not for their essential value but to signal a sense of control and mastery of the act. After housing, cars may be the most important item of individual consumption that gives their owner a sense of control. A car owner can decide to buy a Porsche/Panamera to show how much control he is got up his sleeves or to differentiate himself amongst a club of car owners. The fact that the car can serve as a notable status symbol enables people to derive a sense of control and mastery from it.

Sense of Accomplishment: In the case of car pride, an individual may feel the ultimate sense of accomplishment when the individual acquires a new car especially if the person is the first among friends or families to buy a car. The individual is likely to perceive the car as a symbol of their identity, style, self-image, or achievement. Africa is critically underrepresented on the global stage in terms of purchasing brand-new cars which were forecasted by the OICA to be just over a million across the continent as of 2019 so, a fresh graduate who is able to land his dream job and buy a Mercedes-Benz will definitely feel on top of the world and believe he just achieved a landmark! On the other hand, the emotions that come with car psychology reflect the affective function of the car–the feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment, or satisfaction. These feelings are enabled by a sense of self-representation which makes them different from other types of emotions triggered by cars like the euphoria that comes with driving. However, it is important to note that car psychology is not limited to just car owners as non-car owners also have car pride as a result of their previous experience with cars either as a driver or having friends or family members with cars that they have been exposed to.

If your question is if buying a car is an accomplishment, this post is affirmative and encourages you to get your first car. Apart from the points explained above, getting a car also helps you to announce your arrival anywhere in your style and personality, go on adventures, make you feel nostalgic, and have a positive sentimentality towards a precious possession. Do you need help to get your first car or replace an old one? Visit to drive and own your dream car and pay later.

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