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Changing Mindsets and Attitudes towards Female Car Ownership

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Women have definitely broken barriers, are out there being impactful and also making a difference, scaling newer heights, and gaining more visibility in virtually all domains and roles. And in this, the ultimate traditional male bastion of cars seems to be conquered. And the plethora of reasons here fortifies the thought.

Women and Automobiles - What Women Want

Women have never been more forceful and convinced when it comes to what they want in their vehicle. And principal among them are

  • Innovative, novel designs
  • Scope for personalization and customization
  • Perceptive vehicle controls
  • Automatic support features
  • Integrated technology and systems
  • Catchy, spacious interiors that is luxurious and comfortable
  • Clear indicators and good parking sensors
  • Improved sound systems
  • Integrated entertainment and mobile device attributes
  • Comfort and enhanced visibility
  • Superior safety features
  • Automatic transmission and good ABS
  • Vehicle color and complementing colors and materials in the interiors
  • Eco-friendly, sustainability features
  • Easy to operate petrol tanks with lighting preferred

Surprising figures like about 80% women influence a car buying either as a single or joint-car owner is amazing. So whom do women consult or seek advice from?  What are female car-buying patterns in metropolitan India?

  1. The ever-increasing social media presence renders viewpoints on brands that are very impacting
  2. Customer reviews online, friends’, family opinions and suggestions
  3. Female buyers compared cars and reviews, searched for technical specifications online on reliable websites like IBB, Indianbluebook.com and armed themselves with good information
  4. About 96% of consumers’ still rely on the age-old, word-of-mouth
  5. It is said about 87% women consumers’ do reassess their purchase owing to budget, brand, features, color and model when finalizing the buy
  6. Sales personnel hold a 73% sway on women to make last minute changes to their buying
  7. About 48% women follow the ROPO, ‘Research Online and Purchase Offline’ method, search specifically for information online before any real world interaction
  8. About 43% took their own decisions and about 33% women still consulted spouses, friends or family
  9. About 39% women visited a car showroom and 36% women spoke to their trusted, local car mechanics to know more about vehicles


Trending world over

World over, women are definitely rewriting typical stereotypes and breaking bastions in terms of growing number of women-owned cars. 

  • Among the millennia’s, 53% of car buyers are females.
  • In Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities of China, over 50% car buyers are women.
  • As per a Frost & Sullivan study, in the US, the number of women with a driver’s license has overtaken men in most age groups over 25.
  • In Canada too, women are following suit with more women-owned DLs and the current take is at 49.5%.
  • In the UK, current reports indicate in about 3-4 years, the balance would tilt in favor of more women with DLs.
  • Even in the auto hub of Europe, Germany, 40% of DLs are issued to women and the rates are growing steadily.
  • As per a travel survey in the UK, women are adding more mileage, going on long-distance trips, than men.
  • Tracing buying graphs in India indicate that in 2000, only 3% women owned cars which more than doubled to 14% in just 5 years. And today, at least 20% of the DLs are issued to women in India. 
  • Globally, 30% of women own 4x4s and SUVs.

Whetting Sales Pitches to the Woman Buyer

How did the woman come to be a decisive player in choosing and honing down on the car of her choice? What are the reasons? Well, demographic moves, confidence, financial independence, better education and earning power, more exposure and awareness, defined careers, leadership roles, changing personal equations, research-savvy, in no doubt and no second-guessing are some of the attributes. And recognizing these shifting sands and wanting to explore it to the hilt, are automakers and even dealerships that are whetting their sales pitches accordingly.

What are automobile companies doing for women?

Globally, with women having a greater than ever sway on the automobile industry, one of the key trends is the intense focus on women buyers.  And this was more than evocatively put forth by Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn in a press interaction.

The compelling reasons for the parity is that more women are owning DLs, increasing number of women car owners, women making decisive choices and therefore, auto makers are customizing vehicle features, sales pitches and also developing newer models solely keeping women in mind.

Auto companies are taking note of the numbers, figures, and studies and growing women power. And they have sprung into action mode with major persuasive initiatives to net more women-only buyers. Companies have demarcated women-centric dealerships and offices. Dealerships are more inclusive and accepting of women buyers with more female sales personnel and some special incentives and measures to fuel sales in this domain. 

With more product offerings, newer makes and models, tailor-made accessories, products and features that are aimed at women, auto makers are definitely laying the red carpet for female car buyers. This is typically evident in the promotional campaigns, adverts, design and features, color options and the spotlight on safety.

Prominent auto makers like Porsche, Mercedes and OEM are launching vehicles designed exclusively for women. Celebrity women are seen endorsing SUVs and crossover SUVs and some other auto makers have devised unique customization measures, so as to maintain their appeal to both genders equally.

Additionally, high-service delivery and personalized customer experience, faster auto financing options, good insurance premiums made available regardless of gender, multiple dealerships and service stations and touch points, a helpful and knowledgeable call center with excellent follow through by the on-ground team are other add-ons auto companies have made to court the woman buyer.

The arena has been set like never before, where automobile makers and dealerships are whetting their knowhow and skill sets with a strong focus on women and interestingly not just in one segment but across all cars, compact, sedan and even crossover SUVs. 

Summing up

Across demographies, men and women have different viewpoints and uses of cars.  Women car buyers are very practical and associate car-buying to independence and freedom.  They also need cars to double up as the family car. Therefore, they are the primary deciding force behind buying cars. And in this, the brand, vehicle features, pricing and key elements are crucial to their decision-making.

With women being very discerning and articulate, auto companies are racing against time to broaden their product lines with better designs, color variants and even offers. 

Thus, the ball is set rolling to a steady buildup that is prolific, sustained and sees its fruition in acknowledging the woman car buyer.

So in time, while cruising on the road, if ever you are overtaken by a woman, don’t react, just accept it, it is commonplace!

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