American Autos See Rise in Female Buyers

By Matthew Askari | November 10, 2011
We don't know if there's a bingo hall anywhere near our offices, but if we were to meander our way to one, chances are the parking lot would be littered with Buicks and Lincolns. For whatever reason, these brands attract experienced buyers. It may be the nod to old Americana and the familiar faithful luxury names of yore, which used to include Cadillac before it reinvented its brand image. To be fair, these automakers build fine cars, finer than they have been in years past maybe, but have been marginalized by increasing competition and the ever changing desires of car buyers. So it's interesting to note that buyer demographics are shifting. The shift is not only in age, but the trend for these staid domestic brands show women are increasingly making up a larger share of new customers. In fact, four of the five biggest shifts were among Detroit Three brands: Lincoln; Chevrolet; Buick; and Dodge. The one exception, was Porsche, which has seen a rise in female buyers from 19 percent to 23 percent. While all of these brands experienced recent jumps, sales to women still represent about a third of all sales on average, whereas Japanese brands such as Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi are closer to half of all sales. And these numbers don't accurately depict the scope of women's influence over car purchases. Automakers believe that women—if they're not writing the check themselves— can greatly influence their partners. Automakers believe that women hold sway over 85 percent of all car sales, and this is translating into how they market vehicles. Ads featuring cars taking sharp turns and revving engines don't appeal to women. Instead, commercials touting safety and technology hold greater weight. Some automakers are experimenting in different ways to attract and communicate better with women. Last year Chevy gave Cruze compacts and Traverse crossovers to female bloggers in an effort to create an informal chat and dialogue that women would respond to. It's not about creating cars for men or women, but rather correctly illustrating what each has offer without alienating other potential buyers. That will be the challenge for automakers moving forward. Source: The Plain Dealer