As I was binge watching some television the other night, it occurred to me that almost all the car ads were geared towards men. Why is that? Do women not take interest in buying cars or are they not the primary audience when it comes to making automotive decisions? Surely, this can’t be true. I am a women and I like luxury cars. I have plenty of friends who like luxury cars and have aspirations to own them.
Curiosity got the best of me and I started googling for facts. I came across very little data on luxury cars and women. However, the few points that I did come across made a very strong case that automakers are underserving a potentially lucrative market.
Women buy 68% of cars in the US. With 15.6 million vehicles being sold in just 2013 alone. That makes for 10.6 million vehicles being purchased by women. I am sure that some percent of the 10.6 million women are not interested in a minivan, an SUV, or the safety oriented Volvo, but instead in a CTS-V Coupe, Bentley Continental, or Mercedes S-Class. Some of these women want the best luxury money can buy them.
There is an opportunity being missed here. The role of the women in our society is changing drastically. Women are getting better education and a lot of them are on the path towards or are already in highly lucrative careers. So, why are automakers not focusing more on selling luxury cars to women?
An interesting trend, I have observed, is that Honda and Toyota have historically done a great job at advertising to young women. They start building a brand relationship at an early age, which often results in many of these loyal customers upgrading to Acura and Lexus. The women trust the brand and so the barriers to entering into the luxury market with these brands is perceived to be much lower.
I am not an auto industry expert, but it would be interesting to see more luxury car advertising featuring successful women, not just men, or worse, successful men and their arm candy women.
To automakers credit, they have started embracing the growing role of women within the automobile industry, ranging from manufacturing to C-suite. The idea is that if they want to sell to women they need to design more female oriented cars. Does this mean that the car of the future will have a hidden compartment for my purse? But, half the time I don’t even carry a purse!