Editor's note: The wording charactering Consumer Reports' survey results has been corrected.
Mainstream car culture has been a part of the American adventure since the post-World War II era. A shift in manufacturing from war-related products to consumer goods, the rise of the suburbs and national highway systems, and the start of the Space Age all led to exponential growth in the number of vehicles on the road and the iconic pastel and chrome bodies that came to define an era.
That flashy car persona has endured the test of time. Even a quick glance at the modern automotive ad makes it apparent that consumers aren't simply being sold a vehicle to take them from point A to B, but are being brought along for the ride on an aspirational journey and lifestyle experience.
While exciting and colorful, legacy auto ads are known to perpetuate long-standing stereotypes that have touched most industries over the last century. An analysis of the most popular visuals selected by Getty Images' automotive customers reveals that men are 8 percent more likely to be depicted than women, and when a heterosexual nuclear family unit is shown, the man is driving 92 percent of the time — despite the fact that American women are slightly more likely than men to be licensed drivers.