The Car People Most Want for Christmas Isn’t a Porsche or Ferrari Staff
by Staff

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and gift-giving. During this festive time, the iconic marketing image of a brand-new car adorned with a giant red bow waiting in the driveway as a surprise gift is a common sight. Many wonder just how often this dream becomes a reality for everyday Americans — is receiving a car for the holidays just a marketing fantasy or a cherished tradition? To shed light on this, a study authored by ExtremeTerrain, a website specializing in aftermarket off-road parts and accessories, surveyed over 1,000 Americans to understand the sentiments, aspirations, and practical aspects of this extravagant gift-giving practice

Gifting Dreams on Four Wheels

While many of us dream of finding a brand-new car in the driveway on Christmas morning, the reality often falls short. Only 5% of Americans have actually received a car as a holiday gift. However, the desire for one remains strong, with 44% of Americans wishing for a car gift this year.

Parents are the most common car gift-givers (57%), followed by significant others (22%) and grandparents (11%). Surprisingly, the brand most people are wishing for is not a luxury sports car like a Porsche or Ferrari, but a Toyota (42%), followed by Honda (30%). These choices reflect a preference for reliable and practical brands over high-end luxury.

Holiday Car Shopping

For those who plan to buy a car this holiday season, Toyota is once again the top choice (43%). This aligns with the wishes of those hoping to receive a car as a gift. Honda (42%) and Ford (28%) also make the list, indicating a strong preference for reliability over extravagance.

While holiday car shopping can be a great time to capitalize on year-end deals, it's not without its challenges. Nearly 1 in 10 buyers experience buyer's remorse, with reasons ranging from exceeding their budget (52%) to feeling pressured by sales tactics (35%).

Interestingly, gas-powered cars still hold a 36% preference among potential buyers, indicating that familiarity and affordability continue to trump the buzz around electric vehicles.

Bridging Dreams and Budgets

Receiving a car as a holiday gift is a dream for many, but the reality is more nuanced. Decisions about holiday car shopping often involve considerations such as handing down cars within families, practicality, and saving for a brand new car when the budget allows. Trust, communication, and the desire for both reliability and modern luxury underpin these decisions, mirroring the festive season's balance of heart and practicality.

In a surprising shift, unlike those shopping for a new car, 50% of those wanting a gifted car prefer an electric vehicle (EV), reflecting a strong eco-conscious shift in vehicle desires (if not realities). This signifies a growing interest in environmentally friendly options among car enthusiasts.


While the image of a luxury sports car with a bow on top may be the stuff of marketing dreams, the reality is that many Americans are more interested in practical, reliable options when it comes to holiday car gifts. Toyota's surprising popularity as the top choice for both gift-givers and gift-receivers highlights the value placed on dependable transportation during the holiday season. Whether you're dreaming of a new car under the tree or considering buying one as a gift, it's clear that the spirit of giving on four wheels is alive and well during the holiday season.

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This article was co-written using AI and was then heavily edited and optimized by our editorial team. Staff Staff

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