By on July 30, 2008

The latest chick car?WSBTV.com seems somewhat surprised by a J.D. Power study that shows the obvious reveals a new trend: sporty crossovers appeal to younger women. Roger that. Women are generally attracted to the appearance of sportiness (witness the VW Tiguan's 61.7 percent female ownership and relatively dismal performance). J.D.'s mob says they also go for utility. Also "revealed:" women like 'tried and true' safety features (newer technological safety advancements tend to come with high price tags– something more 'rational' women tend to avoid when purchasing vehicles. No doubt crossovers appeal to women who are a bit gun-shy on a gas-guzzling SUV, but still want space, a higher riding position and the eventual child-hauling ability (yes, some women do think that far in advance). Another non-stunner: 90 percent of Corvette and Porsche 911 purchasers are men. Mid-life crises? What mid-life crisis? The real surprise: automakers still aren't marketing to women. J.D. reckons women account for about half of all auto purchases, and influence 80 to 90 percent of all auto-purchasing decisions. You'd think they'd be marketing something more than Beetles and Mercuries to the ladies by now…

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42 Comments on “J.D. Power Survey Shows Women Like Small Crossovers. Well, DUH!...”


  • avatar
    toxicroach

    You don’t want to go too far in making a mass market vehicle gender specific.

    80-90% of car buying decisions are influenced by guys too, and if it involves them driving around in a car that is perceived as the new Cabriolet, sales will suffer.

  • avatar
    Scottie

    My wife will drive whatever i pick out for her.

    Now i just need to find a wife……

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    My wife said that as long as I keep her in a Volvo, she’ll let me stay in a vulva. Seems fair.

    But, she does like small CUVs like the Escape and VUE and truly wants an XC70 (previous gen). Which isn’t really bad living in Boise with mountains so accessible, and frequently traveled by us.

  • avatar
    J.on

    Frankly I’m shocked to find that VW actually sold a Tiguan!

  • avatar
    crackers

    while women only account for about half of all auto purchases, they influence 80-90 percent of all auto-purchasing decisions.

    I fully believe those statistics and agree with the article in general. By the time my wife and daughters had finished with me, we wound up with a RAV4.

  • avatar
    jaje

    The previous generation (bland looking one) was designed for “Jennifer” a mock female that the car was to assert most of its qualities. It though had many male buyers who wanted looks and performance out of the car leading to the most recent generation.

    Ford did it with Mercury (failed miserably) as it seems the majority of their buyers were male even though 99% of their cars were some sort of rebadged Ford.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Yeah crackers.

    I wanted an RX-8.

    Drove home in a Fit.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    We’re driving an XC90 because my wife likes how it looks. I wanted a wagon because I’m right and she’s wrong.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    ouch. Married men sadden me.

  • avatar
    cleek

    ~~whip crack~~

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    We’ll see how well you do when the time comes. :P

  • avatar
    Robstar

    My wife has a 2000 neon because I had it already when I got married and gave it to her.

    Her next car is going to be a car that would be “semi-exotic” in Brazil. Most likely a fit, civic, accord, or something else that is not chevy/vw.

    Her perception is that anything not chevy/vw is exotic. Because chevy/vw are by far the most common in Brazil because they are locally produced/cheapest there.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    No doubt crossovers appeal to women who are a bit gun-shy over getting a gas-guzzling SUV, but still want space, a higher riding position, and the eventual child-hauling ability (yes, some women do think that far in advance).

    I suspect women like the available AWD too, something more difficult to find in sedans. I suspect many men like them for the same reasons.

    Another non-stunner is that 90 percent of Corvette and Porsche 911 purchasers are men… after all, women don’t get to have mid-life crises.

    Unless you count kitchen remodeling. Costs as much as a nice sports car.

  • avatar
    Maeloch

    . . . after all, women don’t get to have mid-life crises.

    Women have mid-life crises, they just express them differently then men.

  • avatar

    Women’s mid-life crises happen about 20 to 25 years before mens’. So I guess you can call it early-mid-life crises.

    Oh, and “higher riding position” also translates rationally into “higher center of gravity” which tends to knock safety points way off.

    CUV’s will die off even faster than SUVs. Too bad Ford killed off whatever cred Volvo had and tried to take them upmarket. An updated 240 would be selling like hotcakes right now.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    carguy

    They clearly didn’t speak to my wife who is a RWD lovin’, manual tranmission only kind of a girl who hates all manner of SUVs and thinks that throttle induced understeer is a civil right guaranteed by the constitution. Yeah, I love my wife.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I love my wife, converted her in to a car nut who loves to drive like me. Loves her Subaru, but would be happy with what ever she got as long as it doesn’t blow up like the Caddy.

    I may not be whipped in the car department but I am proud to be a card carrying whipped guy in other areas, no searching for sex, just roll over and act sweet.

    carguy don’t you mean throttle induced oversteer, plowing is usually not fun.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Hmm, I am a married male that expects fuel efficiency, reliability, safety, and residual value of my daily driver. Forester and RAV4 come to mind as favorites in this class. I wonder what the percentages of male/female ownership for these rigs are?

  • avatar
    mefisto

    Carguy, how do you throttle induce understeer in a RWD vehicle?

  • avatar
    taxman100

    My wife is driving a Grand Marquis to cart our 6 month old baby around.

    You just have to know how to talk to women. That, and her other option being a deathtrap Corolla, which Daddy gets to drive because he is too cheap to buy Mommy a new car.

  • avatar
    cleek

    # TEXN3 :
    July 30th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    We’ll see how well you do when the time comes. :P

    I only talk a good game. There is a 3 Series convertible parked in the garage next to the minivan.

    It isn’t mine.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Megan,
    Good to see you back!

    I did read somewhere that Dodge is readying a new marketing campaign targeting women, now that they can no longer offer subsidized leasing deals. $2.99 tampons for 3 years. Think it will work?

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    My wife was also on the small SUV/CUV tangent for a while; first one was a 2nd gen Rav4, but I’ve managed to switch her out to a small LandRover (Freelander). Much nicer vehicle, albeit generally considerred a lemon. Fortunately she likes to drive, so I’ve been able to convince her to accept a Cooper “S” as a daily driver (M/T, naturally – she’s actually a pretty quick driver!). The Freelander is now just our road tripping/stuff mover vehicle, and a winter vehicle for her when the Cooper goes into hibernation.

    The Tiguan has her name written all over it, though I could be surprised. She did drive a C230 a few years back which was specifically marketed to a female demographic (per Mercedes Canada); she hated it – not for the look (which was fine), but for the ride/handling – my type of lady!

    Luckily she’s also not a fan of buying new, so I’m sure I’ll be able to dodge living with a Tiguan (at least for now)…

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    The WRX is going to be the family car when I get a family, and the wife is going to like it. None of this cute-ute BS.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Scottie :
    My wife will drive whatever i pick out for her.

    Now i just need to find a wife……

    Ahm, I’m pretty sure I’ve spotted your problem…

  • avatar
    RayH

    My 4 older sisters typically will only drive stickshifts, and they all have 2 kids. Accord, Focus, Protege, and Mazda 6. They all had to have minivans when the kids were younger, but a manual older Eurovan made it through a few of them, now in the hands of my older brother (it has been very reliable in 175k miles on original clutch, although the fuel pump went out once and he has to disconnect the battery when he stops because multiple fans/pumps won’t stop running ever).
    Most girls I’ve dated had manual-transmission cars (the current being a screaming yellow SC2). The last one had a Grand Cherokee… THAT one didn’t end well, although I did track down a old Grand Cherokee with a manual (for real) but she didn’t bite. Shoulda seen the writing on the wall then. And I should have bought it.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    “They clearly didn’t speak to my wife who is a RWD lovin’, manual tranmission only kind of a girl who hates all manner of SUVs…”

    Why are car forums so full of “Well here’s one counterexample so that statistic is completely wrong!”? And Brendon, the Freelander is a cute ute too, so that’s not a tremendous change… the C in CUV stands for cute as much as it stands for car-based.

    My question is why hatchbacks and wagons are uncool until they’re raised 6″.

  • avatar

    Send your wife to Skip Barber.

    She’ll understand.

    Trust me :)

  • avatar
    Strippo

    FYI, based on his e-mail address it appears the writer is a “staff writer” for ibsys.com and not wsbtv.com. He appears as a “staff writer” on other news sites, too. So much for the theory that Clough is a student of WSB’s Clark Howard School of Highly Animated Journalism.

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    @Carlisimo; re the car forums & counter-examples – I would expect that the demographic of the car forums would yield a higher then normal number of people with like minded interested in vehicles, no? I would agree that the Freelander is often considered a CUV – unless your looking at the newer one, which appears to be even more “cute” then the old one (which we currently drive) – which is certainly a bit more homely! For what it’s worth, I can’t think of any other cute-ute that can be had with a snorkle, rocksliders, etc, etc. Other then the steeper climbs and rock-crawling (arguably the fun stuff – anything that really requies a low gear!), the Freelanders hold their own quite well… To bad about them falling apart so early in their life…

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Since CUVs make almost no sense in most cases (I really can’t see the benefit of a CUV over a sedan/wagon/minivan), it does not surprise me that women flock to them…

    I knew my car (Corvette) was a ‘manly’ choice, but it’s pretty surprising that 90% of Vette drivers are men. That’s even higher than I thought

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’ll agree with JD Power based on the girls I know.

    They all have Civics and Sentras and Corollas because they’re cheaper and good on gas. But every one of them (as is oooo…i really like that): Saturn VUE, Honda CRV, Jeep Liberty, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and yes the Tiguan (shoulda seen one girl when I first showed her photos…it was what she wanted that second).

    So yeah, there is definitely something to this. For every girl I know that likes manual transmissions and sporty driving over a sunroof and comfy freeway ride (lets see…..I think that number as of now is exactly ZERO) every other one loves the cute utes and wants one.

    And that comment about no mid-life crisis when you’re 50, its 20 years earlier for women is totally totally true. God, hit late 20′s early 30′s and its a freakin mission to find a man and have babies. The I need to be married within 2 years and start a familiy within 3 plague. Drives me bonkers! Makes it real hard to just chill and enjoy hanging out. If you’re not “the one” you get dropped in an instant.

    So if you know any gals in their mid to late 20′s looking just to enjoy hanging out and not on some baby poppin mission, send em my way please…..

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    thetopdog,

    While I’m not a huge fan, I don’t think CUV’s are that bad. They are basically tall wagons and are as useful as a wagon with better clearance for flashfloods, snow, etc. I think my mom’s Cr-v is a fairly useful car for all weather transport that can haul tables, boxes, etc.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Sanman111: The fact that they’re ‘basically tall wagons’ is my point. I can’t think of any good reason for any CUVs to exist. I’m sure there are areas where the ground-clearance ‘advantage’ a CUV has over a regular car, wagon or minivan would come in handy, but I have yet to drive in one of those areas (and I’m not from a warm climate, I grew up in Canada and live in Boston).

  • avatar
    Rix

    True. My wife wants a RAV4. But only with six cyl. She thinks any four cylinder is worthless. Of course, she also has such a lead foot that she averages 11mpg in my WRX.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    mefisto :
    Carguy, how do you throttle induce understeer in a RWD vehicle?

    I wondered that, too. Perhaps this ability is limited to the fairer sex.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Sanman111: The fact that they’re ‘basically tall wagons’ is my point. I can’t think of any good reason for any CUVs to exist. I’m sure there are areas where the ground-clearance ‘advantage’ a CUV has over a regular car, wagon or minivan would come in handy, but I have yet to drive in one of those areas (and I’m not from a warm climate, I grew up in Canada and live in Boston).

    Whenever a particular market segment has been doing well, it’s always wise to look for the reasons. A good reason for a CUV to exist is that it has more room than a conventional wagon, has higher ground clearance, and AWD.

    My wife got a CRV a few years ago. We looked at Subarus, but the CRV was cheaper, not to mention roomier. The city doesn’t plow my street in the winter, so we need something that will get out of the driveway when the snow is bumper deep. It’s not just getting out of the drive. We live on a dead end, so we have to make an immediate 90 degree turn when coming out of the driveway (we always park front end towards the street in the winter) then we have to deal with cars parked on the side of the road, some on the wrong side, kids playing, etc. -which means we can’t just fly along letting momentum carry us, we actually need traction. e.g. we need, or at least very much want, AWD. Yeah, we can talk about snow tires, but isn’t it easier just to have AWD?

    The gas mileage on the CRV is qutie a bit less than say a Focus wagon (which was available when we bought the CRV), but my wife only drives in the city and only about 8K miles a year, so mpg isn’t our prime motivation.

    It’s hard to think of any reason why a “short wagon” should exist -and in fact they don’t, in any large numbers. Most people have realized that the CUV (or minivan) gives them more utility than an old fashioned sedan height wagon.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    while women only account for about half of all auto purchases, they influence 80-90 percent of all auto-purchasing decisions.

    Well of course they do influence 80-90 percent; as my wife and I discuss any large purchase (after all no husband can be happy if his wife is not).

    However I make the final decision on what we both drive, since I’m the one that takes care of the maintenance, not to mention keeps them washed and the gas tanks full (which she’ll tell you is my job…LOL).

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    They clearly didn’t speak to my wife who is a RWD lovin’, manual tranmission only kind of a girl who hates all manner of SUVs and thinks that throttle induced understeer is a civil right guaranteed by the constitution. Yeah, I love my wife.…

    I’m in your camp, too!! My wife encourages me to honk around a sweeper. On my second date I took her through three consecutive on/off ramps at a considerable speed to guage her response. She laughed and said “is that all you can do?” I knew I had a keeper from that moment on!! Manual trans, check. RWD, check. No complaints about $200 tires, well mostly check. Keep looking guys, marriage is not a one way ticket into a Honda Pilot and excess weight. Just don’t complain when she wants another Coach bag…

  • avatar
    Axel

    My wife prefers compacts, as they fit into tight parking spaces and are cheap to own and drive. She also likes cars that can be easily whipped around curves and handle well. She also prefers manual transmission. To her, high seating means it’s easy to roll over.

    Maybe I should just consider myself lucky?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I think any man who wants to deride women for not wanting a wagon when they can have a CUV or SUV should be made to drive a wagon for a month. Each time they get in or out, they should have to strap in a phony child (that is made even heavier to adjust for the weight difference between a man and a woman).

    At any time during the month, they can surrender the point. Massages, pain relievers, and chiropractors will not be allowed during the lesson.

    At the end of the thirty days, if they can still get in and out of the wagon with their fake kid without showing signs of pain or fatigue (such as groaning and grunting) they will be allowed to continue shoveling out their criticism.

    On top of that there are plenty of other good reasons to choose the other vehicles. Just because people don’t choose what you think is best, does not mean that their reasons for doing so are petty, irrational, or stupid. OTOH, when you post one of these quips, we all get a chance to decide which of the three you might be.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Landcrusher> I do even better. I have ridden a 600cc sportbike 500+ miles in a weekend, I’m in my 30′s and it doesn’t bother me at all.

    My wife prefers car’s or minivans. Those are what she likes to drive and I don’t think anything would change that (although I could be wrong…we don’t have kids yet).

    Rix> 4 cylinders are useless? She should try an STi, a high end evo, an elise, or a sportbike (any 600+). You can even get away with 2 cylinders for fast on sportsbikes….

    She should quickly change her mind ;)

    And before someone says “hey what about…._____..it has 4 cylinders & is fast too!” — I just mentioned 4, 4 cylinder fast vehicles I know of off the top of my head.


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