Women buyers influence 80 percent of car-buying decisions
Many women new car buyers greatly prefer foreign makes over domestic brands, according to new data from analyst R.L. Polk & Co.
Women influenced four out of every five new car sales in 2012, and a record 39 percent of new cars were registered to women last year, too, reports the Detroit News.
But the percentage of female domestic buyers is going up, as the Detroit Three repair their reputations for building below-average quality cars.
The top ten brands with the highest percentage of female buyers included MINI, Kia, Nissan, Honda and Fiat — but not a single domestic automaker. Buick was the only domestic automaker to beat the industry average of 38.8 percent female ownership.
"It's not surprising," the Detroit News quotes Anne Feighan of advertising agency Campbell-Ewald. "When you look at the big segments in the industry, like midsize, and you think about the top reasons for the purchase, it's quality, reliability, dependability, fuel-efficiency and long-lasting. And the imports dominate those areas."
The gender gap can be explained in part by domestic automakers' strong pickup sales, a segment that skews at least 84 percent male ownership across all top models. But even with pickup trucks removed, domestic automakers lag far behind imports when it comes to their popularity with women.
The domestic automakers are trying to counter this by offering compacts, crossovers and colour options that women may find more appealing; and involving more and more female engineers in product development and design.
The domestic brands who have seen the biggest improvements in their female-male buyer ratio over the past five years include Buick, Cadillac and GMC.
"Since the auto crisis hit in 2008 , new-vehicle sales among women have climbed 17 percent," says the Detroit News, "More than double the eight percent rise for men."