Men Are From Maserati, Women Are From Volvo
Study shows that men prefer size and flash, while fuel economy and imports win over female car buyers.
The study, based on more than 9 million retail purchases in 2011, uncovered that women are fond of small, fuel-efficient cars, crossovers and imports, while men favor either a fast and sporty car with curb appeal or a large vehicle such as a big truck or SUV.
According to Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at TrueCar.com, this gender gap is narrowing, although strong "gender preferences among the buyers of various automotive brands still exist," he said in a press release. Toprak also pointed out that SUVs and trucks “continue to generate a disproportionate number of male customers,” and that baby boomers still exert strong influence since “the exotic brands remain the best medicine for a midlife crisis."
Key findings of the TrueCar.com study include:
- MINI continued as the brand with the highest percentage of retail sales (46.2 percent) to women in 2011, followed by Nissan (45.7 percent) and Kia (45.6 percent). In 2010, MINI also came in first (47.9 percent), followed by Kia (46.8 percent) and Honda (46.0 percent).
- Import brands were 16 of the 20 brands with the highest percentage of female buyers in 2011. In the first year included in the survey, Fiat didn’t make the top 10 in brand purchases but managed an impressive 12th-place rookie ranking. Domestic brands Buick, Chrysler and Jeep occupied the lowest rungs on the list at 18 through 20. Of the three luxury brands that made the female-buyer top 20, only Lexus (at 44.2 percent) scored more than 40 percent.
- Among male buyers, 13 of the 20 brands with the highest percentage were either exotic or luxury brands, and nine of the top 20 were domestics. And proof that trucks, SUVs and muscle cars have strong dude appeal: For Dodge and GMC, more than 70 percent of new-car buyers in 2011 were male.
- Of course, men continued as the majority of exotic new car buyers in 2011. There was only one exotic brand with 10 percent or less retail sales to women -- Ferrari (7.5 percent) -- compared with 2010, when there were six brands.
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle provides some evidence that the gender gap may be narrowing. Introduced in 2011 as a more manly model than the previous version, the 2012 VW Beetle had a higher percentage of male buyers in 2011 (45.4 percent), whereas in 2010 the New Beetle had only 39.4 percent of male buyers.
TrueCar.com also surveyed the most current market prices and listed discounts for all the brands and specific models that were tracked with more than 1,000 vehicle sales annually. See below for the website’s top 10 brands with the highest male and female purchase ratios and their current discount percentages.
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