When we did a story on that Insurance.com study that said the Subaru WRX and Mercury Topaz are America's most-ticketed cars, I warned you to take it with a grain of salt, like most "studies" we get from websites. But even though it's almost believable, here's why it's likely bunk.
That study based the results on insurance quote requests from more than half a million drivers who use their site every month. Parts of it make sense — I don't think anyone can deny a WRX will net you a lot of tickets, least of all WRX owners. (Not that I'm speaking from past experience or anything...)
But our friends at Autoblog point out why there are statistical issues to consider here:
Insurance.com explains that it based the study on 557,238 drivers who requested online insurance quotes from its service from January 1, 2013 to July 2014. To make it onto the list, a vehicle needed over 50 quotes, and in the end that left 526 models.
However, these facts are almost useless because the list isn't based on percentages from the whole pool. The study's ranking comes from owners of specific vehicles, and these numbers aren't mentioned anywhere in the company's press release. All we know about the sample size for each model is that it's higher than 50. Assuming that amount for the WRX means it would only take about 17 people with tickets using the site to put the sporty car in first place.
This does explain why we end up with very weird top picks, like the Mercury Topaz or the Toyota Supra, two cars that haven't been new since the 1990s and probably aren't terribly common on the roads.
The folks at Subaru seemed to take issue with it too (of course they did, because what automaker wants that reputation?), because they sent a response to me via email: "We certainly hope that the insurance company in question's insurance quotes are more accurate than their surveys." Oooh, burn.
Grain of salt, always.