Sunday, October 09, 2011


The term Ricer is a term used by Australian bogan types to refer to some brands of car in what appears to be a derogatory way. The etymology of the word is probably something to do with the noun 'rice' being made into a verb, then back into a noun, but this time to describe machines that do whatever the verb means. What is it they are doing then? Well, as best I can deduce, they are being associated with countries in North East Asia, usually Japan, where rice is considered a dietary staple.

The term, however, does not appear to be applied universally to all vehicles originating from Japan. For example, I recently overheard a conversation in which a young man was advocating that his friend buy a Subaru, but then, when his friend said he was considering a Nissan, he denounced Nissans as 'Ricer cars.' On another occasion, I heard the same thing, but with Toyota and Mitsubishi substituted respectively.

One possible explanation for this apparent inconsistency is that the bogans wish to emphasise the foreign nature of vehicles which they deem to be in some way inferior. Subaru and Toyota offer exceptional engineering, it's true. However, both Nissan and Mitsubishi have high end models which should be sufficient to dispel any possible perception of inferiority: the Nissan Skyline GTR has an engine manufactured in a laboratory and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution has driving aids that would make an L player look good round a race track. Anyway, if inferiority was the key, then surely Korean cars and Peugeots would be called Ricers almost universally, which does not appear to be the case.

Another possibility that should not be discounted is that the term is chosen not based so much on the origins of the vehicles, but on the perception that more people from rice staple cultures are likely to own and drive them. This would imply a great deal of racism on the part of the bogans using the term and, as there doesn't seem to be any readily available data linking vehicle manufacturer preference to dietary staple or culture of origin, it would not be fare to level such an accusation without further research.

For now, let us simply consider that the term Ricer is a quirky linguistic anomaly and that, though I have to say it makes me cringe, I have very little idea what it means.


  1. Enjoyable post pinky, I remember in highschool some times asians were refered to as rice pickers, that still me makes me cringe. I have never heard 'ricer' before, it sounds like when someone says a car is a clager. But I have heard and used the term 'riced' in admiration. If we see an EVO with a body kit or a lowered skyline with sexy rims, we will say' that is riced'. But I am Asian though. If I wasn't do you think saying that is still cringe?

  2. Wow... So if your Asian then Ricer is a compliment perhaps..? Cool! I'm so gonna fully rice my car now! I think if that's what it means to you, then that's good. What cars you apply it to may depend on which school of thought you belong to regarding modifications. Some believe modifications should only be about increasing performance, meaning that they look unfavorably upon body kits and think spoilers are a waste at normal road speeds. Others care more for aesthetics. Then there are those who think modifications should only be done by tuning houses with enormous budgets in preparation for auto salons.

    I'm really sure that many western people I've heard are being derogatory when they use the term though. Generally they contrast Ricer cars with their fords and holdens, apart from those inconsistencies I mentioned. So yes, non Asian pEople should be careful about any possible racial connotations.

  3. Ricers suck! Get a real Ozzy V8 Comador or your not a real Ozzy.

  4. See what I mean Jenni: clearly used in a derogatory manner by many.