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April 30, 2016

The United States of Cars


You can tell a lot by the car a person drives.

Even more so if you know where they live.

From Your Mechanic:


The American car market is defined by diversity underneath sameness.

In almost every part of this country, the most common cars are sedans from Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevrolet.

But this belies how different Americans truly are in their car tastes, and these preferences contrast markedly.

Perhaps the main way Americans deviate from each other in their car choices is whether they choose to go American.


The table above displays the percentage of American-made cars in 81 of the country's largest markets.

When it comes to buying American, the Midwest reigns supreme.

More than half of the top 20 cities are in that region.

At the very top of this list sits Detroit, the spiritual home of the American-made car.


Detroit is one of the few places where some people feel a stigma about driving foreign makes.

At the bottom of this list are large coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston.

The proportion of American cars is particularly low in the Bay Area.

While over 75% of cars serviced in Detroit are American-made, this is true of less than 30% of cars in San Francisco and San Jose.

We explored the most unusually common car in each market, and found that the one for cities on the coasts is almost invariably Asian or European but in the middle of the country, it is typically American.

Examining this list, the particular car-loving character of American cities shows itself.

San Francisco residents love their energy-efficient Priuses, Detrotians their powerful American-made Pontiac, and nature-oriented Denver citizens their Subarus.


It's no surprise that the Prius is so unusually common in San Francisco.

This got us curious about where else hybrids are particularly popular.

The following index of the most popular cities for hybrids goes beyond the Prius to include all cars with a hybrid engine.


It turns out that an affinity for hybrids is not just a characteristic of San Francisco, but of California in general.

The top seven cities servicing the most hybrids are in California.

For each of the top markets in West Coast cities, at least 1% of the cars are hybrids.

This is true of less than 20% of non-West Coast cities.

While some people prefer energy-efficient cars, other drivers are more concerned that their car have a powerful engine.

People in the Midwest are more likely to choose powerful American cars, while people on the coasts are more likely to go for foreign makes.

The following list shows the cities where people are most likely to have a V8 engine.


This list shows that people who live in Texas and the South are much more likely to opt for a powerful car.

For example, people in Baton Rouge, Houston, and San Antonio are more than twice as likely as Bostonians to drive a car with a V8 engine.

Another feature many car owners are concerned with is the car's performance as a vehicle to explore nature.

Subarus have a reputation for being popular among lovers of the outdoors.

We were curious of whether Subaru owners were typically found in the cities that are considered most "outdoorsy" (how do you spell "crunchy?").


Boulder, Portland, and Denver topping this list certainly goes with the nature-oriented images of those cities.

These cities are consistently listed among the top cities for outdoor enthusiasts.

These are the only three cities with Subaru ownership above 3%.

For some Americans the practicality of a Subaru might be great, but others are more concerned with style, prestige, and high performance.

If they can afford it, many Americans interested in high-end cars will go with a Porsche.

We examined the places in the U.S. where people have the means and desire to own a Porsche.


The table above lists the top ten.

April 30, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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