Everyone knows that certain types of car have always been a by-word for certain types of people. Despite recent style developments, the Skoda and the Lada will perhaps forever be associated with the socks, sandals and cardigan-wearing brigade. The Volvo is for Mr Sensible, the Mini for Miss Ditz. While these clichés hold predictably fast, few would seriously believe that the type of vehicle that they drive could have a genuine impact upon their love life. Well, it seems that we believe wrong.
New research we conducted at OSV, has shown that it's not just the gold diggers who pay attention to the wheels their dates arrive in. To really rev a woman up, a man should drive an Audi; sleek, professional and reliable; the car's qualities are transposed onto its driver, making him too seem like a feat of glossy German engineering.
Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen garner a similar response, but the poor male Mini driver leaves the ladies cold... And we're not talking about the actress! The Mini is cute and reliable, with a top speed of 119mph and a real edge when it comes to parking, but with only 5% of women saying that they found men in Minis appealing one can only reach the conclusion that sometimes size really does matter.
As for the men, well they seem to have a true antipathy for women who drive anything by Nissan. Despite being one of the most popular car makes for female drivers, only one in fifty men like to see a woman behind the wheel of the shiny Japanese run arounds. Perhaps it's the fact that the Nissan is such a common sight on our roads that cuts a man's motor, because with them it doesn't appear to have anything to do with size: the dinky Smart car comes second on the male turn-off list, appealing to only 6% of the one thousand survey respondents, while the mighty Land Rover pulled into third place, being a bit of a no-starter for 92% of men.
Conversely, what the male of the species really seem to want from their women is more German engineering; 72% said that Volkswagen, in its many guises, gave women the greatest curb appeal, with Audi (70%) and Mini (69%) drivers hot on their tail.
Curiously though, it's not all about the make of car; colour also plays a part. OSV's research reveals that more than half (55%) of all drivers - of both sexes - are more attracted by the drivers of black vehicles... This seems somewhat idiosyncratic, given that there are more white and silver cars on UK roads than any other colour. It is also particularly odd when you take into account the fact that one in two (54%) people believe that the type of car they drive will influence their luck when it comes to landing a hot date. Does this mean that drivers are deliberately dooming themselves with their choice of car?
So at the end of all this, there is still one other question that begs to be asked: can anyone really be shallow enough to judge a person by their mode of transport? Ummm, that's a resounding 'yes'! 59% of people admitted to holding stereotypes based upon the type of vehicle a person drives, so heaven help the humble pedestrian, or those forced to take the bus.
Debbie Kirkley is co-founder at OSV Ltd.