When it comes to buying a car, what women and men want varies only slightly.
Exterior styling and overall value are the most important things to new car buyers of both sexes, according to TrueCar.com, an auto buying site that regularly surveys buyers. Past experience with the brand and driving performance are next on the list.
But while men usually give an edge to styling and driving performance, women tend to rank safety and fuel economy more highly than men do, TrueCar says.
Those small differences are important as women become a larger force in the marketplace. Forty per cent of new vehicle registrants were female in the first four months of this year, up from 37 per cent in 2009, according to Edmunds.com. And that’s only expected to grow. Among younger buyers, women are already outpacing men.
“Women represent the biggest marketing opportunity in the world,” says Chantel Lenard, Ford’s U.S. marketing director.
Even when preferences converge, it may be for different reasons. For example, “reliability” is important to women because they don’t want to get stranded on the road, Lenard says. Men want reliable cars because they don’t want to spend a lot of time in the shop, she says.
Horsepower is important to men, which helps explain why Lamborghini has the highest proportion of male buyers of any brand, at nearly 95 per cent, according to the car shopping site Edmunds.com. But it’s also important to women, who want to know that they can accelerate quickly away from a problem, Lenard says.
Debbie Parsons sprang for one high-tech luxury — remote start — on her 2014 Chevrolet Spark after spending a frigid winter watching her neighbours use it to heat their cars. But mostly, she bought the subcompact for its cute styling and lemon-yellow paint.