Women And Cars: Their Place In The Market

For years in the motoring world, women have appeared an indefinable quantity. Manufacturers don’t appear to know how to manufacture or market their cars for women without running into controversy. Motorsport seems devoid of female role models at the top end. And then there are the endless negative stereotypes and jokes that plague female drivers from the moment they earn their pink licence.

Women deserve better!

Manufacturing “cars for women”?

SEAT got itself into some trouble last year when they launched a car they designed in partnership with Cosmopolitan. It was said that the car was designed to meet women’s daily needs and was the most female-focused car yet. So what happened?

SEAT launched a purple Mii[1]. The Mii is their city car model that rivals the Volkswagen UP and the Skoda Citigo and therefore is small. Beyond the colour purple, it also came with jewel-effect rims and inside it has a handbag hook. SEAT and Cosmopolitan decided to give this Mii “eyeliner headlights” that according to them, “emphasised in the same way as makeup emphasises the eye.”[2] This car isn’t designed for women’s needs. It is designed for Cosmopolitan readers.

The stunt was met with obvious scorn and the question is why manufacturers struggle with marketing their cars to women. The automotive industry is one of the most male-dominated and on many occasions finds itself struggling to market these practical items, that cost thousands of pounds to develop and build and cost consumers thousands to buy, to more than half of the World’s population. Surveys reveal 74% of women feel that auto manufacturers misunderstand them and their requirements.[3]

What do women want from a car?

It may seem strange to think, but that question is rarely asked of men. What is even stranger is that there are great variations on cars that suit the needs of the family, of businesses, aim to help with practicality and others are designed solely for the stroking of egos through power and speed.

There are plenty of studies conducted in the UK and America that indicate the type of cars women are purchasing, which means that car manufacturers don’t need to guess what the majority of cars women are interested in. For example, surveys in America discovered that the number of women buying affordable small SUVs rose by 34% in 2015[4]. In that same year, there was only a 22% increase in the number of men purchasing the same car.

Also in America, the most popular sports car amongst women is the Ford Mustang[5]. This could be down to the fact that Ford doesn’t genderise their most famous sports car. They attracted a gender equal market by using female professional driver Prestin Persson in their marketing for it.

https://youtu.be/3Nyr1Ao7iZA

Interesting studies show the decision when it comes to people buying cars is that whilst the men hand the money over to take ownership of the car in many cases, the actual choice is taken in many cases by the women. In some cases, it is estimated more than 85%[6] of all vehicle purchases are lead by women and they wield a veto over their male partner’s choice.

Online car leasing and purchasing

With the rise of online car shopping, women have found it as a great opportunity to become a leading decision maker. In 2015, the fastest growing segment of online car purchase market was women. Online dealers saw a 58% increase in the number of women buying online and bypassing the physical salesman in the dealership to get their cars.[7]

Obvious truth

To give you an idea of what that means if women are buying cars online and taking a controlling role in what their male partner buys when they visit a dealership, that means the majority of the cars on the road were chosen by women.

Those fast supercars that blast down the streets and make us all turn our heads were likely chosen by a woman and yet we have these assumptions that it’s the men who want them. Range Rover asked Victoria Beckham to help design the Evoque when it was first launched, but the larger Range Rover and the Land Rover Discovery models that take up so much space on our roads are decided on and driven by women. The Ford Mustangs, Audi TTs, Mazda MX-5s and all the other sports cars are directly and indirectly purchased by women.

If we believe that 85% statistic and all the other surveys and figures out there, almost all the cars on our roads are chosen by women rather than men. And yet, the entire industry appears to be directed towards men.

Hippo Leasing wants everyone to be able to get the car they need for the price they can afford. If you are interested in leasing a car, browse Hippo Leasing’s great collection of cars and find the one to suit you.

[1] http://configurator.seat.co.uk/seat-cc/desktop-desktop-006_DEFAULT-en-normal.view;jsessionid=E70744AF6E5F075338DF4265B576723D.jvm2?msk=1

[2] http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/22/autos/cosmopolitan-seat-car/

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenny-darroch/marketing-to-women-some-a_b_5885412.html

[4] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-31/all-the-single-ladies-also-get-credit-for-booming-suv-demand

[5] http://fortune.com/2015/09/08/ford-mustang-women/

[6] http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456751970/women-dominate-car-buying-decisions-few-hold-auto-executive-jobs

[7] http://www.am-online.com/news/market-insight/2016/02/19/growth-in-online-car-purchases-by-women-more-than-double-that-of-men

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