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May 8, 2017

Makeover Monday: Which cars do the Dutch prefer?

The topic for Makeover Monday week 19 has come about because I'm headed to Amsterdam this week to work with our team there and to run two Makeover Monday events for customers. I need to give Martijn Verstrepen from our Dutch team a shout out. He came up with the idea for this week, found the article, created the data set, and even translated it to English for us. Thanks Martijn!!!

The viz to makeover this week is merely a table:

What works?

  • The table is ranked starting with the best seller.
  • Including only the top 10 gives the table focus.
  • Title gives us the overall summary for context.

What could be improved?

  • Include a more impactful title
  • How does this compare to prior years?
  • The table makes me do math in my head to compare the top cars.
  • Simply by making the table a bar chart it would become more engaging.
  • Some of the models are missing the brand.

The data set is actually pretty extensive: 9.2 million car purchases covering 1952-2017. For my viz, I'm going to focus from 1970-2017. I chose to start with 1970 because that looks like the start of purchases every month.

Before I start my exploration, here are the things I'm interested in learning (to help me focus my analysis):

  1. How are purchases changing over time?
  2. What car brand do people prefer? Has that changed?
  3. How has the price per car changed over time?
  4. What's the most popular color?
  5. If I were moving to the Netherlands and needed to buy a car, what should I buy?
  6. When is the best time to buy a car? Conversely, when is the most expensive time?

Next, I did a bit of Googling for inspiration. Over and over again, infographics about the best time to purchase a car came up. This one in particular caught my attention for the colors and the layout:

I used to upload the images and pick off the colors. I then added these to my preference file. I created a regular color palette that included the green and a sequential palette for the more brown colors. Overall, I want to mimic this layout, replacing the text with charts as much as I can.

Lastly, I really like the storytelling and design of Pooja Gandhi's week 16 viz, so I wanted to emulate parts of that and also use this an exercise to see how long it may have taken her. HINT: It took me hours to float everything and get it just right. It sure would be easier if there was a grid to snap everything into.

Another fun week, one in which I feel like I learned a lot about design. With that, here's my week 19 visualisation about car purchasing in The Netherlands. Click on the image for the interactive version.


  1. Andy,

    Sweet viz. Very clear.

    Do you have the data as a text file or Excel or something else. I want to share this with some folks who do not have Tableau 10.2.

    Peace and All Good!

    1. The links to the data are on the Makeover Monday website

    2. Hi Andy! Can you please teach us how to export palettes from to my preference file?

    3. You manually add them to your preferences file.