Gender counts in car buying

Women prefer smaller vehicles and imported brands, according to a US study. Photo / Thinkstock
Women prefer smaller vehicles and imported brands, according to a US study. Photo / Thinkstock

Some stereotypes turn out to be true - as a new survey by United States website TrueCar.com found out about the difference between male and female car buyers.

According to Forbes magazine, men want brawny and flashy cars, while women want imports and smaller vehicles.

TrueCar.com, which provides car-shopping information to consumers, provided an in-depth look at buying habits according to gender, with the kind of results that show why the market is dividing the way it is.

Women buy a little over half the number of cars sold in the United States, and take part in 80 per cent of all family car-buying decisions, according to traditional industry statistics.

And now, with so many women in the workplace they are sometimes a family's bigger breadwinner, a factor that some car companies forget.

The TrueCar.com study found:

* Sixteen of the top 20 brands with the highest percentage of female buyers last year were import brands. That includes Fiat, whose cars are sold by Chrysler dealers in America. But Chrysler itself did not fare that well with women buyers. It ranked No18 on the female top 20, followed by Buick and Jeep.

* The top-selling female brands in 2011 were Mini, followed by Nissan, Kia and Honda.

* Thirteen of the top 20 brands with male buyers were either luxury or exotic marquees (such as Ferrari). If you take exotic brands out of the equation, nine of the top 20 brands were from Detroit.

* The top-selling male brands were GMC and Dodge, which both had over 70 per cent male buyers last year, according to TrueCar.

"Female buyers really gravitated toward smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers," said Kristen Andersson, senior analyst at TrueCar.

"It was the complete opposite for male buyers, who preferred fast and sporty vehicles, big trucks and SUVs, and luxury cars," she said.

The 2011 survey answers a nagging industry question: Can a car that's been considered a chick's car be restyled to appeal to guys?

Apparently, in the case of the Volkswagen Beetle, it can.

TrueCar.com found that the Beetle attracted 46.5 per cent male buyers in 2011, after its gutsier (relatively speaking) redesign.

In 2010, the Beetle's buying base was only 39.4 per cent male.

So, guys, if you've always wanted a Volkswagen Beetle, it now seems safe to indulge.

- NZ Herald

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