What women really
want -- from a car
Women may always seem to be on a quest for the perfect shoes to match a to-die-for outfit. But when it comes to car shopping, female drivers put function over flash.
|The five most important factors for women choosing a vehicle, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study, are:
"The primary thing that
women look for when they're shopping for a
car is the safety features," says Courtney
Caldwell, editor in chief and publisher of
Road & Travel Magazine. "They do
a lot of shopping on safety features for a
vehicle because they have concerns for their
own personal safety as well as that of their
family and their child."
Women also focus more on whether it's a practical choice and within their budget. "It's not necessarily what they want if money were no object," Caldwell says.
And tastes vary widely. "There's no one car that all women like,'' she says."It all boils down to lifestyle, age and income."
But their choices are resonating with the auto industry. Experts are quick to point out that women influence 85 percent of vehicle sales. So if you're a female driver, automakers are watching what you're buying.
"The one big difference
between men and women is that men are a little
more power-performance conscious; women are
more miles-per-gallon-economic conscious,"
says Charlie Vogelheim, vice president of
automotive development for J.D. Power and
Women tend to be more focused
on who's riding in the vehicle and whether
they're comfortable, while men are more focused
on the utility and cargo of a vehicle, he
For women under 30, Caldwell says, two of
the most popular vehicles are the Honda Accord
and Toyota Camry, because of their reputation
for safety and affordability. Jack Nerad,
executive editorial director and executive
market analyst with Kelley Blue Book, identifies
three economy cars that are popular among
- Nissan Versa (base price
- Toyota Yaris (base price
- Honda Fit (base price $13,850).
Most women with families tend
to gravitate toward minivans or crossover
vehicles because they're practical for their
lifestyles, Caldwell says. In the crossover
sport utility vehicle market, here are five
choices that Nerad says women tend to buy:
- Honda CRV (base price $20,600).
- Toyota RAV4 (base price $20,950).
- Mitsubishi Outlander (base price $21,370).
- Chevrolet Equinox (base price
- Ford Escape (base price $18,580).
As kids get older, women look at sedans or other vehicles
that fit their lifestyles while boomers tend
to focus on luxury vehicles, Caldwell says.
In the luxury sector, two that tend to appeal
to women, according to Nerad, are:
- Lexus RX350 (base price $37,400-$38,800).
- Infiniti FX35 (base price