They say this is what they want

Even the most carefully selected focus group is still a focus group, and cannot be relied upon to produce optimal results. Example:

University of Stirling professor of psychology Peter Hancock’s idea of the perfect car for the UK doesn’t seem to be meant as a serious proposition. Prof. Hancock isn’t suggesting that some automaker should adopt and produce the design, but instead it seems to be sort of a thought experiment built off the back of a survey conducted with around 2,000 participants.

The survey asked a few basic questions: What is your favorite car? Which aspect is the most attractive? And so on. After tallying around 3,800 data points, Prof. Hancock identified the most attractive individual elements of the cars that were mentioned.

And God forbid some automaker actually consider that list of elements worth emulating, because we’d end up with something totally terrible, like, well, this:

Composite of Hancock's data on a single vehicle

Yeah, that low, low Aston Martin snoot goes so well with those sternly upright Rolls-Royce suicide doors and those scary Mini eyeballs.

It might be better than Johnny Cash’s ’53 ’49-’73 Cadillac, assembled from parts gathered one piece at a time, but not much.



  1. Francis W. Porretto »

    18 October 2015 · 5:33 pm

    Aaaah! My eyes! My eyes!

  2. McGehee »

    18 October 2015 · 5:57 pm

    Clearly the methodology needs refinement. Subdividing by vehicle class, for example.

    Alas, the academic mind remains fixated on the dream of a single answer to satisfy every single one of the nearly seven billion people on the planet — except when they’re fantasizing about reducing that number, usually by eliminating everyone who disagrees with them.

  3. CGHill »

    18 October 2015 · 6:23 pm

    Bur we have 23 different spray deodorants! Bernie says so!

  4. McGehee »

    19 October 2015 · 9:07 am

    He probably also thinks we don’t need two or more political parties.

  5. McGehee »

    19 October 2015 · 9:07 am

    …or branches of government.

  6. fillyjonk »

    19 October 2015 · 9:59 am

    That vaguely reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer’s long-lost brother made a car based solely on Homer’s suggestions, and it was (predictably) terrible.

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