Responding to the "What Are Your Favorite Car Films Ever" post, UglyDuckCar offers this outstanding analysis of the different uses of cars in cinema. Let's tackle the first one, which is a car "as a character."
Naturally, the car could be the main character like Herbie, in a cartoonish way, or a more subtly painted sidekick like the 1990 Pontiac Bonneville in Blue Ruin. The point is, that the writer or director has either employed a car as an anthropomorphic device, or created an otherwise emotional attachment to a car to drive the plot, making viewers care as much about an inanimate object as they would about a human.
What are some other examples.