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Dating in cars: Things people notice

Survey says cars can play an important role in dating, so keep it clean and don't ask for gas money.

November 7, 2005; Posted: 2:12 p.m. EST (1912 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Men and women agree that cars play an important role in dating, but they don't always agree on what should happen once things get rolling.

Eighty-nine percent of males and 95 percent of females said they were extremely or somewhat likely to notice their date's car, according to a survey conducted by Ford Motor Co. The survey was conducted as part of a program, including "speed dating" events in various cities, to promote the company's new Fusion sedan. The survey polled 400 single men and women.

It's not just the make and model of a car that's getting noticed, according to the survey. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said the condition of their date's car would at least somewhat impact their attraction to the person.

Women felt more strongly about their date's car condition than men with 69 percent saying it would at least somewhat affect their attraction to their date compared to 47 percent of men.

"You often get one chance to make a right impression and, many times, your car is one of the first personal things your date sees about you. Similar to your clothes, your car says something about you and your style," said Ellen Fein, dating expert and co-author of The Rules.

About 20 percent of respondents said they had been "asked to chip in for car-related expenses by their date." Of those that had been asked to chip in, 15 percent said they were asked to spring for gas followed by parking (9 percent) and tolls (6 percent).

When asked to recall their "most embarrassing car date moment," 22 percent of respondents said it was being told by their date that they were a bad driver. Far more women suffered this insult than men. Second overall was suffering an "upset stomach," followed by being pulled over for speeding, and getting in to a fender-bender. Just barely making the list was "getting caught fooling around."

Sixteen percent of those surveyed ranked kissing as their "favorite car date activity." But, only 8 percent of females surveyed chose kissing versus 24 percent of males.

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