Women are one of the fastest growing segments buying cars, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Not only did females make 45% of new car purchases in 2018, but 1.4 million more women have driver’s licenses than men. Now that women make up nearly half of buyers, automakers and dealerships are adjusting to provide what women want.
When looking at buyers of 2018 and 2019 vehicles, men prefer European luxury brands like Jaguar or BMW. They also like rugged cars with high-end technology, performance, and style. Women, however, were most likely to buy a sedan or SUV and least likely to buy a truck. Female buyers go for Asian non-luxury brands as well as these five elements of the car-shopping experience:
In a 2015 study, iSeeCars listed the top 10 cars women inquire about or buy. Many of those cars are from Korean automakers and are significantly more affordable than the cars men favor. At the time, the average price of these female-focused cars was $14,870, and all 10 were less than $20,000.
Men’s favorite cars had an average cost of $49,224, more than three times the average cost of the top 10 women’s cars. The Nissan Versa and the Kia Rio were two of the least expensive cars women were interested in. Their starting prices today are $14,730 and $15,390 respectively.
2. Practical and reliable
Women’s favorite cars focus on fuel economy and the ability to transport passengers and gear. They are less of a status symbol than men’s cars. In the iSeeCars study, men inquired most about the Nissan GT-R sports car, while women examined the Hyundai Tucson most. Another popular option for women is the Kia Soul, which won a Women’s Choice Award for 2019 Best SUV – Best Safety, Reliability & Overall Vehicle for Under $20,000.
Comfort, especially with seating, is a must for women. Easy-to-install children’s car seats are important. The Women’s Choice Awards gave one of their overall best awards to the Kia Forte, which won 2019 Best Sedan – Best Overall Vehicle for Under $20,000. The Overall award considers the safety, value, reliability, convenience, and comfort of family cars.
For women, safety is a top priority in a car. Driver-assistance features are a plus, since distractions can be a problem when traveling with other people. One popular car with women is the Ford Fiesta. The Ford Fiesta ST trim level won a Women’s Choice Award for 2019 Best Sports Hatchback – Best Safety Vehicle for Under $20,000.
5. Good buying experience
In the 2019 Women’s Car Buying Report, JoinWomenDrivers.com found that women want a good customer experience and expect to be treated respectfully. Women read dealer reviews and want to be able to trust a sales consultant. The salesperson should listen and advise, not pressure. Price often comes as a third priority behind sales and dealer reputation.
It’s worth noting that gender differences in car-buying differ for millennials. Men and women of that age group feel nearly identical levels of self-assurance and empowerment when car shopping. Millennial men accept women as their equals in negotiating a purchase. Here is the full list of 10 cars women prefer from the iSeeCars study:
- Hyundai Tucson
- Nissan Versa
- Volkswagen Beetle
- Kia Forte
- Ford Fiesta
- Kia Sorento
- Jeep Patriot
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Kia Rio
- Kia Soul