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Cars in Popular Culture and Mass Media

The entirety of ideas, fancy images, attitudes, and perspectives within the cultural mainstream define what is known as popular (or pop) culture (Liu, Lee, & Groves, 2016). These attitudes and ideas are usually influenced by a wide range of mass media platforms such as social networks and television channels. The outstanding fact about pop culture is that it constantly influences people’s attitudes and perceptions towards specific topics. Mass media impacts human beings in different parts of the world equally. Astoundingly, viewers in different societies admire some of the characters, ideas, and celebrities portrayed by mass media. Most of the cars perpetuated by mass media have transformed the manner in which people think about automobiles.

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Thesis statement: Automobiles have become elemental instruments that are implanted in pop culture and will continue to symbolize the intersection between human technology and society in the coming years.

Cars in Pop Culture: Past and Present

The automobile industry has for several decades informed and transformed the manner in which humans relate with cars. Individuals who work in different car manufacturing firms understand how to market their products based on intangibles attributes such as desire, image, and human emotion (Miller, 2014). These attributes have therefore been considered in an attempt “to transform the world beyond the realms of the enthusiast” (Bolkmar, 2012, p. 23). Consequently, the industry has been characterized by a number of remarkable periods and productions that have revolutionized people’s interactions with cars.

Through the use of television shows, films, and comics, different cars have been portrayed to many people in different parts of the world. The producers of such television programs believe strongly that the characters can impact people’s pop culture. Some of the characters associated with mass media happen to be cars. That being the case, the cars have continued to affect the way people think (Liu et al., 2016). It is also evident that several cars have managed to redefine the manner in which people use automobiles.

Changes tend to occur when new technologies or regulations appear to take over. For instance, mass media was used in the 1960s to sensitize more people about the earliest inventions that surprised the world (McAdams, 2013). For instance, Ralph Nader published the book “Unsafe at Any Speed” in the year 1965 (Bolkmar, 2012). The text argued that different automakers were not spending enough money to ensure every car had appropriate safety features. As a result, this kind of portrayal influenced people’s perceptions of cars during the time. These consequences were critical because many people were no longer willing to purchase new cars. Similarly, the government chose to implement sustainable safety measures and regulations in order to ensure every car was safe. During the same time, mass media supported this kind of transition in different parts of the world.

In 1980, the new Quattro became a sensational piece of engineering after a Finnish driver named Hannu Mikkolla won the 1981 World Rally Championship (McAdams, 2013). Stunned consumers of mass media acknowledged that “the four-wheel-drive Quattro was the car to beat” (Ausubel, 2014, p. 3). Car enthusiasts and manufacturers would eventually embrace the Quattro model. As a result, the Quattro became a benchmark for every racing car after the event. The outstanding fact is that high-performance automobiles produced today appear to carry similar features.

The production of the Lexus LS 400 in the year 1989 changed the way automobiles companies and customers viewed different cars. The auto industry was stunned by the elegance, performance, and effectiveness of the car. This new work of art, according to many analysts, forced the designers of the Mercedes S-Class to go back to the drawing board in an attempt to come up with a better product (McAdams, 2013). The consumers of mass media were willing to have a taste of this superior car. The emergence of the LS 400 in the market transformed the way automakers produced luxury cars and sedans forever.

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It is agreeable that cars have continued to dominate human discussions and movies. Different films have portrayed a number of superior cars that have changed the way people think. For instance, James Bond movies have been associated with a number of effective, elegant, and admirable cars. Such cars have continued to capture the attention of many movie enthusiasts. It is agreeable that such cars appear to support Bond’s missions (Miller, 2014). Many viewers have therefore argued that superior cars reflect the strength, boldness, and courage of great men.

Some movies such as the “Transformers” and “Knight Rider” have changed the relationship between cars and people. For instance, many automobile lovers have made some of the models their dream cars (Garrison & Levinson, 2014). Unfortunately, the features associated with such cars are superior and might be unaffordable to many people.

Musicians, children, politicians, and car enthusiasts have always stood for this kind of intersection in pop culture. The social values expressed by this aspect of pop culture include love, affection, and care. This is the case because cars have always been treated as signs of love, affluence, and success in the contemporary society. This pop culture will always be obvious in every corner of the world because of the power of globalization (Ausubel, 2014). The current use of social media networks and mass media platforms explain why cars will continue to symbolize human emotions, imaginations, and expectations.

Future Impact on the World

The above analysis shows conclusively that automobiles have become unique objects that define people’s lives. The images and ideas of cars will continue to permeate pop culture in the future through the power of mass media. The cars portrayed to human beings through films, comic books, novels, and music will always transform the way they live (Miller, 2014). The notions associated with human imaginations and expectations will inform the actions undertaken by different automakers.

Analysts have gone further to argue that superior, elegant, safe, and autonomous or self-driving cars might become a reality in the near future. This is true because cars have remained a critical aspect of human pop culture for very many years. In the future, cars will be useful tools for transportation while at the same time remaining superior works of art that resonate with human emotions and imaginations. They will be celebrated as “unique tools and productions that are embedded in pop culture” (Miller, 2014, p. 45).

In conclusion, this aspect of pop culture is important to me and the wider society. This is the case because human beings will continue to present their ideas and produce new cars that that define who they are (Garrison & Levinson, 2014). Consequently, the cars of the future will definitely be entrenched in pop culture in order to symbolize the intersection between technology and human society.


Ausubel, J. (2014). Cars and civilization. Web.

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Bolkmar, D. (2012). On men and cars. New York, NY: TEMA.

Garrison, L., & Levinson, D. (2014). The transportation experience: Policy, planning, and deployment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Liu, Y., Lee, B., & Groves, D. (2016). Movies: A social indicator of the car movement in the US. Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Management, 4(1), 36-46.

McAdams, C. (2013). Definition of American pop culture. Web.

Miller, T. (2014). The Routledge companion to global popular culture. New York, NY: Routledge.

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