Move Over, Mom: Dad's Becoming the Car Pool King

National survey finds majority of fathers active in driving kids to and fro

Sep 20, 2011, 00:01 ET from General Motors

DETROIT, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As children across America head back to school, a new survey commissioned by Chevrolet finds that many fathers in America are taking more of an active role in before- and after-school carpooling duties, with utility vehicles the preferred choice of dads over minivans.

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An online survey conducted by Harris Interactive® showed that 80 percent of fathers in the United States with children age 17 or younger take an active role in daily family life, with more than 70 percent driving their kids to school, daycare or extracurricular activities.

But in the evolution of carpooling, the study also showed that both drivers and their vehicles have changed. While moms may prefer minivans for their sliding doors, more than half (58 percent) of the dads surveyed prefer to do their business, personal and leisure shuttling in a family hauler that doesn't question their masculinity. In fact, survey results demonstrated that fathers gave their current family vehicle a 6.4 "cool" rating on a 10-point scale.

Utility vehicles – such as SUVs and crossovers – were the most-preferred vehicles among fathers for accomplishing all their work week, weekend and family activities. Less than one quarter surveyed indicated that they prefer a minivan for these tasks.

"According to recent Census data, there are 154,000 stay-at-home dads and more than 25 million dads who have kids under 17. The trend is shifting and men are becoming more involved with family-driving duties. We're seeing the rise of the 'Dadmobile,'" said James Bell, head of General Motors Consumer Affairs.

"The minivan has long been seen as the quintessential family car, but its heyday might be over with crossovers and SUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, Tahoe or Equinox combining equal or better fuel economy, safety and convenience with a more rugged edge," Bell said.

The study showed that fathers first and foremost want a safe, fuel-efficient vehicle. More than half of all dads chose safety as top vehicle feature, followed by fuel economy. Interesting to note that dads cited high fuel prices and traffic jams as the top two most stressful things about travel.

Vehicle versatility is also key as dads surveyed use their current vehicles for everything from holiday travel (94 percent) to work commutes (63 percent) to household do-it-yourself projects (54 percent). Accordingly, passenger capacity was important to nearly 40 percent of fathers, along with functionality, ample cargo space and comfort.

"The survey illustrates a growing trend that crossovers – like the Chevrolet Traverse – are more popular than minivans among dads in America," said Mark Clawson, Traverse marketing manager. "The Traverse has gone a long way in redefining vehicular versatility and efficiency for the modern driver – even farther than the minivan did 30 years ago. The Traverse borrows the best across all segments, uniting the features the study showed as most important to fathers like me."

The Traverse continues to be one of the more popular large crossovers thanks to its balance of efficiency, spaciousness and safety. It has the best fuel economy of any eight-passenger utility vehicle, due to its 3.6L V-6 engine with direct-injection technology and variable valve timing that delivers an EPA-estimated 24 mpg on the highway (FWD models).  

The Traverse also offers the most storage capacity of any vehicle in its segment. Spaciousness comes from seating for up to eight with up to 116.4 cubic feet of maximum cargo space. It is also recognized as a safe vehicle, earning a 5-Star Overall Safety rating in the New Car Assessment Program run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traverse is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick.

For 2012, Traverse is offered in LS, LT and LTZ models (with two LT trim levels: 1LT and 2LT), in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. The starting price is $30,240 including $810 destination but not including taxes and title.

Product highlights include:

  • Six standard air bags
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control
  • Four-wheel independent suspension system
  • Choice of 17-, 18- or 20-inch wheels
  • Second-row Smart Slide seat, for easy access to third-row seats
  • Rear-seat entertainment system with second-row controls
  • Sirius/XM Satellite Radio including NavTraffic real-time traffic feature (with navigation system)
  • Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity
  • Cruising range of more than 500 miles (800 km)
  • Towing capacity of 5,200 pounds (2,358 kg).

About Chevrolet -- Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at

Survey Methodology – Harris Interactive® fielded the parent study on behalf of Chevrolet from August 4-10, 2011 via its Harris Poll ParentQuery(SM) online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 471 fathers of children age 17 years or younger; this research was part of an omnibus survey of 1,247 parents of children age 17 years or younger. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, household income, and age of children in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. parent population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive -- Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit  

SOURCE General Motors