By Casey Williams
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When it comes to influence in the auto industry, these days, WOMEN are in the “driver’s seat! The priorities of females are being heavily considered in everything from automobile design and features to the general overall sales approach at some dealerships.
Women are fueling the red-hot auto industry, long dominated by men. They influence over 80 percent of automotive purchases and drive more than 50 percent of autos sold annually in the U.S. Since 2012, women held more drivers licenses than men.
Now more than ever, women hold great sway over the auto industry, from the features in how cars are designed to the other end of the car buying spectrum at the dealer relationship.
The recognition of woman as driver of the auto industry instead of mere accessory is a long way from the ’50s when Dodge patronized women with a car, replete with pink paint, custom purse, umbrella, and cosmetics case, called “La Femme.” Promotional materials called it “the first and only car designed for Your Majesty, the modern American woman.”
“It would not fly today,” said Brandy Schaffels, editor of AskPatty.com, which provides automotive advice to women. “It worked then, but the mindset was different. Women were expected to be domestic goddesses. For a man to give his wife a car that was uniquely hers was appropriate at the time.”
Recent research highlights how much female drivers have changed since then.
Women are prudent shoppers, according to a recent study by Jumpstart Automotive, a division of Hearst Magazines focused on shopping trends. The study included one-on-one interviews plus 1,014 respondents online.
“Women want more practical features,” said Libby Murad-Patel, Jumpstart analyst. “Few (women car buyers) just want a change in style or performance. They trade because of vehicle age, mileage, having children or are growing out of children.