Car Pride: Psychological Structure and Behavioral Implications

TitleCar Pride: Psychological Structure and Behavioral Implications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsZhao Z, Zhao J
JournalTransportation Research Part A
KeywordsAutomobile ownership, Automobile travel, Behavior, Consumer preferences, Customer satisfaction, Psychological aspects

To various degrees, people take pride in owning or using cars which have symbolic values related to the sense of self-regard. However, little is known regarding what constitute car pride and how it is related to travel behavior if at all. This paper intends to provide a better understanding of car pride, by discussing its psychological structure and investigating its behavioral implications. We propose a framework to define the concept of car pride, examine the process of its formation, and classify it into categories. Car pride is defined as “the cognitive evaluation of and emotional response to the positive self-representation elicited by one’s association with cars”. Car pride is classified into personal pride and social pride, and both categories are further dissected into multiple sub-categories. Based on this conceptual framework, we empirically measure car pride and examine its relationship with both car ownership and car use behaviors, using survey data from Shanghai. Using a series of Structural Equation Models, this paper finds that (1) car pride and car ownership are interdependent; using transit accessibility and commuting distance as instrumental variables for car ownership, the models show that having a car leads to higher car pride. (2) car pride is positively correlated with the preference for newer, more expensive, and larger/luxury cars, as well as the preference for local car license (at least in Shanghai given its license auction policy); and (3) car pride is a significant motivation for car usage. Further analysis shows that personal pride and social pride, although highly correlated, have significant differences: while personal pride has higher variation based on socio- economic factors and higher correlation with car price, social pride has slightly higher impact on car use.