By on December 3, 2013

Image courtesy CorvetteBlogger

The saying, “Men are from Mars and women are Venus”, embodies more truth than one may realize. It is no secret that men and women have had differences in matters of opinion ever since the beginning of time. We are all familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. Here we are, X versus Y, still at odds on well… EVERYTHING!

It’s no different today when we take a look at the automotive industry. When you look at men and women on the road today, you will notice a BIG difference in automotive choices. Speaking from a woman’s perspective I can honestly say, I’m not sure if I will ever understand the thought process of a man’s choice of car. However, I believe it’s fair to say that men probably have no clue what we’re thinking when we decide on a vehicle as well.

Upon hearing that I was writing for a car blog, a female friend of mine remarked that you don’t see many women of any age driving American made cars nowadays.

She’s right. It’s the kind of thing you don’t notice until someone points it out. But why is that so? Well, you could argue that a woman’s thought process is very basic: We want something that is catchy, cute, and affordable. We want a car to be dependable and require very little maintenance. Time management is important; all we really want is to get from point A to point B. But it helps matters if we look chic while doing so. When we drive a vehicle we want it to be effortless. We just want it to work-we don’t have time for anything above and beyond the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance. And American cars, whether deserved or not, don’t have nearly the reputation for reliability that Japanese makes do.

Let’s face it, in a woman’s world, we become distracted easily and day to day life can catch up to us and take over at any moment. We have so much on our minds that we don’t want to think of how to drive a vehicle, we just want to drive. The feeling a young woman can obtain in her car can be sublime. Driving in silence, abandoning all thoughts, giving in and becoming one with the road is essentially bliss to us. To casually drive and lose ourselves in the nothingness of the terrain for just 10 minutes is priceless freedom because this could be the only 10 minutes of peace we get all day. Maybe it’s the time between the moment we leave the hustle and bustle of the office and the time we pick up our kids from daycare and begin the nightly parenting routine. A car that is carefree and uncomplicated is what we seek.

When I envision myself in the perfect vehicle of my choice I picture a Mini Cooper, or an Acura RSX, or maybe a VW Eos. Most surprisingly, I picture the Hyundai Elantra; it’s the most efficient all the way around. Fundamentally it seems to stand out over the rest; it is remarkably affordable, low cost maintenance, great gas mileage, stylish, and easy to drive. It’s truly remarkable how the perception of the Elantra, specifically, and Hyundai, in general, has evolved in the last ten years with women. We’ve gone from the “wouldn’t be caught dead in this shitbox” 2001 model to the 2014 that is arguably the most highly regarded amongst Gen Y women in the class.

When I started to really analyze the stereotypically “American” cars, I also noticed their masculinity and bulkiness; man cars to do man things, definitely geared for the typical male buyer. If you consider the quintessential Amercian automobiles available today, what comes to mind first? Maybe it’s the Chevrolet Corvette, or maybe the Dodge Charger, and of course, we cannot forget the Ford F-150 (which was named by cars.com as the most American vehicle this year). While all the vehicles I mentioned above are exceptional, I do not picture a woman driving any one of them. These are rugged, able-bodied vehicles. Add a rugged man to go with that rugged truck…YES PLEASE! But the thought of me behind the wheel of any of these is, frankly, comical, at best and disastrous, at worst. When I think American cars, I don’t think of cars in the A and B segments. And that’s a problem.

Here’s the issue: GM, Ford, and Chrysler all have good, solid efforts in the $20K and under segment. The Fiesta, Focus, Spark, Sonic, and Dart are largely solid efforts. But I hate their brands, and so do all of my friends. Millennial women LOVE brands. We think Apple is ah-may-zing. When it comes to cars, we rank BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi among our favorite luxury brands, period, right up there with Prada and Marc Jacobs. We trust Honda and Toyota like we trust our favorite brands of tampons. Chevy? Ford? Dodge? You don’t register.

It’s going to take quite a long time and quite a bit of brand equity building for the Big Three to get Gen Y women on their side. Remember the original Fiesta Movement? It was the ill-fated and poorly executed attempt to get women like me to find the Fiesta desirable by putting it in the hands of people like Jen Friel. Seriously. It helped them sell approximately zero Fiestas. Since it was such an epic failure the first time, Ford is, of course, trying again and this go round they’ve given Fiestas to people like Trevor Bayne. The last thing Ford needs is for me to associate the Fiesta with NASCAR fans. I see enough hillbillies driving around with #88 flags on their trucks. Give me somebody like Zooey Deschanel, somebody that I can identify with.

In the long run, the women of Gen Y hold the future of automakers in our well-manicured hands. We will make the buying decisions on the family sedans in the next ten years. We’ll be deciding which minivan to buy (shudder) when the soccer team needs a ride. And we’ll be deciding which brands to trust our sixteen-year old daughter’s life to when she gets behind the wheel of her first car.

So make us like you, Big Three. Give us a reason to switch. Make us feel like our girlfriends won’t think we’re stupid for picking you. Because, right now, you’re losing us. It’s a game you just can’t afford to lose.

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215 Comments on “The Truth About Caroline: She Was (Not) An American (Car) Girl...”


  • avatar
    kyngfish

    So, I see a lot of women in Mustangs.

  • avatar
    The Soul of Wit

    See many late-Gen Y (meaning older 20′s-early 30′s although many are probably not running on time, as well.) in CTS’s and Fusions and Malibu’s….

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I know few people in that demographic in new cars. The last three new purchases I know of by sub-30 friends (in two years) were two Impreza Five Doors and a Nissan Altima.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I think you and I must know very different groups of people under 30. What do your associates in this age group do for a living?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Most of us are in IT. I have acquaintances in the forever lease crowd but my true friends aren’t in this category.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            Interesting. Of course I’m a couple years older (Gen X) but similar purchases among my friends. Some small pickups in the mix, and small CUV’s. I made the lease decision once a few years ago as I was commuting long distance and didn’t want to sell a high-mileage car.

            I spent two years contracting at a place with mostly men from 45-60, and they seemed to be quite threatened by their image as “computer guys” so they all had HUGE lifted trucks or Jeeps. It was a point of pride if they couldn’t park inside the garage due to height.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Lots of Fusions and Malibu’s are company/fleet cars. The girl you see in the Fusion may be a pharmaceutical rep or Starbucks territory manager.

      Everybody’s favorite brand of car is the one that somebody else is paying for.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I hate this logic…

    “Why is there smoke coming out of my hood?”
    “Well it’s a Toyota, it must just be a measure to tell you it’s low on gas, wow what cool things will they think of next!?”

    Wtf do you want the big three to do? Everything they have now reeks of estrogen?
    Can I get a work truck suburban? Nope
    Can I get a basic 4×4 truck without 10k of electronic crap and thin sheet metal? Nope

    But if I want a CUV I’m set.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I have to agree. In nearly every segment, the American brands go for macho, Macho, MACHO! The typical American pickup truck is not about work, it’s about how manly it makes you look. Sure, they can haul things, but they’re little better than SUVs with small, open beds. (Get rid of that second row of seats and simply put in jumpers for the times when you HAVE to carry your pet. That space is much more useful for carrying things you don’t WANT to leave out in the open!) The vehicles that claim the name SUV are nothing more than jacked-up station wagons–they can’t even claim the steroids any more. And sedans? Hey! Not everyone has a big family–give us back our 2-door models that aren’t so square!

    Yes, I do love my Jeep… Jeep Wrangler. No, I don’t have it because it makes me look ‘tough’, I have it because it can go anywhere, any time, under any conditions. Remember Stomper! I don’t love my F-150–in fact, I hate it. But I need a pickup and I really couldn’t argue with a $2500 price tag on a 20-year-old model in good physical condition. What would I rather drive? Combine my Wrangler with a pickup truck for a start, then let me have something that looks and drives like a fun car, not a staid-looking family hauler.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hi Vulpine – -

      Yeah, I love my Jeep Wrangler, too.
      You said, “Combine my Wrangler with a pickup truck for a start, then let me have something that looks and drives like a fun car, not a staid-looking family hauler.”
      You may have made a very good argument for the Jeep folks to give us back a Jeep Pick-Up truck. And I’d buy one faster than you could say, “America’s Real Sports Car*”!

      * Quote from Enzo Ferrari.

      ————-

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Jeep pickup trucks .

        FWIW , there’s some company that’s making very nice conversion kits , I forget the name but they’re out there ~ I saw one in Golden Cove , Ca. a few months ago and I thought it was a factory pickup with hard cab . it looked that good .

        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      I bought my Jeep Patriot because It was the best fit for me all-around in capabilities and price, and it LOOKED like a Jeep.

      I never did get that. What is so super-masculine about big, round, soulful headlights? I know in this day and age of shifting gender-dynamics many men are afraid to be scene with anything resembling stereotypical femininity as a result of the uncertainty and confusion they feel in this changing world..

      But please, tell me What is so wrong with woman driving a ‘man’s vehicle’?

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Hey lady, that CRV is making your ass look fat.

    Seriously, can we be any more judgmental, generalizing and divisive, all in one article? Not all women drivers are under 30, not all women drivers drive foreign brands, not all foreign brands are made in foreign countries, not all women drivers live on the East Coast where foreign brands prevail, etc etc etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Is NC just not part of the east coast?
      I see all these stereotypes about the east coast and none of them ring true, from what I’ve seen.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hi Stumpaster – - –

      “….not all women drivers live on the East Coast where foreign brands prevail…”
      Try northern California.
      I understand they had a celebration when a new Chrysler franchise was finally re-estabished in San Francisco!

      ————

    • 0 avatar
      Redshift

      I have to agree. This article is painful, judgemental and sexist. Yes, there are people who are into cars and people who could care less. Gender is irrelevant.

      I have male friends who are clueless and female friends who are very much into cars. A friend of mine wife daily drove a JDM import right hand drive Impreza WRX for 5 years or so.
      I know multiple women who race or crew for race teams are into motorcycles etc.
      My fiance (as I mentioned in another thread) daily drives a 2012 WRX selected because she wanted an AWD manual with a Turbo, not due to cute or brand.
      She also owns a Mazdaspeed Protégé and a project RX7 turbo convertible I bought her for her birthday. She also wrote and photographed the cover story on Inside Track magazine in Canada last month, so she is a bit unique. Counterpoint this to my best friend who I’ve know for almost 20 years, was his best man etc and he drives a used 1st Gen Ford Fusion. I know it’s all anecdotal but my personal experience is contrary to the opinion in this article.

      This article proves you can write. But the premise and subject need work.

      • 0 avatar
        Caroline Ellis

        I appreciate your feedback!

        I think you’ve pointed out “exceptions that prove the rule.” Everybody has friends that don’t fit the mold, but automotive companies can’t market to those people. They have to market to the masses.

        Gender isn’t irrelevant. To say so is to go against tens of thousands of years of evolutionary biology. Men and women think differently about everything, including cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Stumpaster

          Gender is irrelevant if you cease to celebrate the division of gender. But that does not buy you clicks, so we have to suffer through this.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            Amen…

            How much is genuine differences in neural biochemistry, how much is cultural artifice?

            I don’t know about you, but I somehow doubt women ‘Evolved’ to have a taste for European compact crossovers.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            But is there even a difference between biological and societal mindsets–the end result is still the same.

            The concern I have with generalizations and stereotypes is do they reasonably predict attitudes & behavior beyond the sample? For example, I believe the statements that women (more than men) see their cars as fashion and probably mostly care about reliable transportation from A to B, and that women like brands are valid. Regardless of cause, I think these are viewpoints that capture a large enough group to be useful. Conversely, I doubt the domestic/foreign thing works, and if it does, it is only for small segments/groups, in which case it’s hardly worth making a generalization.

        • 0 avatar
          Redshift

          Obviously gender isn’t irrelevant to all things. That would be silly.
          But, is it relevant to an individuals propensity for brand affinity? I don’t buy it. I know just as many, if not more, men that are brand conscious as I do women.
          I’ll have to consider my anecdotal evidence against your anecdotal evidence and agree to disagree on that premise.

          As an aside, in all honesty, this is meant more as debate than slander. Keep writing. Not an attempt at a flame, just putting out another perspective in an attempt to understand yours.

          • 0 avatar
            Caroline Ellis

            Totally understood, trust me, I have learned to have a thick skin around here :)

            Men are brand conscious, of course. How many times have we read people saying “OMG a 50,000 dollar Kia?” here in this very comments section? I don’t think I meant to say that they aren’t, just that gen Y women definitely ARE.

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          It must be your location, here in the dead center of the continental US women do drive domestics and lots of trucks.

          You could probably draw some lines by class with upper middle class white collar people seeming to prefer lexus and acura for sedans and small utes or Fiat Mini and some of the funkier japs for small cars but you would always see a flood of the latest ‘game changing” domestics also. I see tons of Foci Fusions and Escapes now while a year or two ago it was Cruzes and fifteen years ago it was PT cruisers.

          Imo pragmatism seems to drive those with the means to drift toward the Japanese brands if not the euros after that big raise until Ford GM or Chrysler roll out something new and spiffy.

          Of course pragmatism cant be the cause for those with significant disposable income who shop continental brands can it?

      • 0 avatar
        JJ_2

        “I have to agree. This article is painful, judgemental and sexist.”

        Well…If a man would have written it I’m sure some sites that argue the ‘go women rule supreme ya dig’ agenda would have a field day with this and be calling for heads to roll…But as the author is a woman it will probably not register.

        As I man, I don’t understand the logic of that either but hey, as Caroline says that’s just because my manly brain works in different ways, or as I like to look at it…uhm…works.

        Teehee.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Caroline is batting 2/3 on controversy from stereotype right now.

      I am enjoying her articles because they are well written, and because she seems like a great foil for Jack, but if she doesn’t come up with some real substance, her work is going to become so much more window dressing…

    • 0 avatar

      +1

      I might add, where are the numbers?

  • avatar

    First: Worlds better than your first article. Glad to have your voice here.

    This matches my anecdotal data, as well. Brands don’t seem to exist the same way for women as they do for men. For example, my wife vehemently hates Chevy, likes Buicks, and dislikes Cadillac. To me, I respect GM powertrain and dislike everything else about GM. Different views of the world.

    Likewise, women get derided for treating cars as at once both utilitarian and lifestyle accessories. You give a reasonable glimpse as to why that is, and it makes sense.

    Last, I generally detect an urban Gen-Y vibe; once you head for the hinterlands the Domestic/Import bias evens. As others have said, I see plenty of V-6 Mustangs, Monte Carlos, and T-birds outside the city limits.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      That said, given the direction the US is going with urbanization, that hinterland is getting smaller. I do think that some of the biases described are local, as I know of single girls in c-segment compacts/CUVs as being quite common (and in USDM metal at that). That said, the points about what needs to attact a demographic can be valid, and the macho approach to styling could clearly put off some.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Simple problem be a bit more objective and look past the brand.

    As a gen y myself i could care less about brand. But, I’m a male. I have more objective requirements. Brand obsession tends to blind you as a consumer.

    If a company makes crap i wont buy it apple, or my most loved company.

    Then again i don’t understand most of my fellow age groups thought process in general never have never will.

    As for the masculinity in trucks i can’t stand it. I’m a huge fan of older trucks that didn’t get a bigger grill and logo every year. I got nothing to prove. Then again i wouldn’t buy a truck anyway due to the massive size of them these days.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Perhaps there is difference between men & women in that men will focus more on numbers/stats/feature lists when making a decision, and women focus on how it makes her feel.

      The image/perception of a brand is a powerful thing on the ‘feelings’ side of things. Guys, who lack many feelings beyond “hungry,” would not be expected to experience the same thing. Similarly, men are competitive, and the side effect of stats is competition & winning (most torque, fastest 0-60, largest cargo area). I would not be surprised if advertising that emphasizes best-in-class style facts motives more men, while those that emphasize lifestyle & associations (like Fiat’s adds) motivates more women.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The Fiesta Movement wasn’t just to get women to buy a Fiesta. It was to get young people to buy a Fiesta. It certainly was a horrible idea though. Somehow, they’ve done it again. Derek has written about it in his excellent “Generation Why” articles.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “But I hate their brands, and so do all of my friends. Millennial women LOVE brands.”

    That’s a stupid reason to buy anything; the product’s function, capability, utility, style, reliability, durability, price, safety, yada, yada, yada should trump whose name is on it. I guess P.T. Barnum was right…..

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree. She’s setting her own gender back in time with her stereotypes.

      “I’m a girl tee-hee!”
      “Men drive different things because macho hee-hee!”
      “I like a Prada purse because label, giggle!”
      “Cars aren’t for being good, they’re for brand!”
      “I love good brands like Mercedes and Hyundai! Uh-may-zaing!”

      Ugh.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @CoreyDL

        Unless it’s an act this is how she really thinks, let that sink in and realize there are legions of ladies who may think in a similar fashion. Hopefully they will mature as they age, otherwise I suppose there is always the mail order bride route.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You know, I know lots of girls and we’re all the same age as her – and none of them are like that.

          I can safely say I wouldn’t be friends with a girl like that. She’d annoy me.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Over the course of time I’ve run into the a similarly annoying breed, my friend and I refer to them as “on the go” girls, but by and large they are not common. The thing that concerns me is I haven’t spent much time in some of America’s bigger cities so I imagine in some places this mindset is the norm.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        There are plenty of guys that get hard-ons for pickup brands or sports cars; most guys on TTAC don’t see anything odd at all about it. Is that any more or less valid or practical than the brand/image perceptions many females have? The female considerations (as far as day to day practicality) make at least as much sense as the priorities many guys have.

        Same stuff, different genders.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Loving or hating brands isn’t just a female thing. Men do it too. I see just as many men who turn their noses up at certain brands and flock to other brands. Perhaps not the holier-than-thou males here at TTAC, but it’s very common. Caroline was just straightforward and brave enough to admit it. Also, she did list actual criteria, like what she said about the Hyundai Elantra (“remarkably affordable, low cost maintenance, great gas mileage, stylish, and easy to drive.”) Even if that isn’t macho stuff like braking distance, cargo capacity, ground clearance and power-to-weight ratios, it still is better than “it looks good and it’s not American.”

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          I don’t get the Hyundai turnaround. Sure, they look and drive better than past models, but in my mind the jury is still out on “low cost maintenance.” Call me when they’re hitting 150k miles with Toyonda-esque reliability.

        • 0 avatar

          Pretty much this. My dad was fiercely pro-American-cars with a heavy Chevy bias for *years.* Part of it was from having lived in the midwest where all the suppliers for the Big Three make a living. And part of it was, well, Corvette! :o)

          Brand loyalty isn’t gender-specific, though. Some go for the macho, somewhat patriotic side. Others seem to thrive on luxury or style. TBH, I don’t think all carmakers need to be all things to all people. They need to find their niche and do it well.

          (Your dumb rebellious kid still wants a 911, though. ‘Tis adorable.)

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “Brands” are quite often representative of their quality. I can bet that even you, rpol, know of some “brands” you flat refuse to consider, without truly knowing the product. That “brand” can represent the worst vehicle in the world (think Yugo or the older Lada) or they could be the greatest thing on four wheels, like Bently or Ferrari. People look at a brand and say, “That one has a reputation for breaking down,” or “I’ve never had problems with this brand!” Other people take such hearsay as truth and ignore what may be a perfectly good Brand simply because someone else doesn’t like it. In other words, Brand can mean more than just status.

      Speaking of Brands:
      Oldsmobile used to be my favorite–until the ’80s. Pontiac lost its ‘sporty’ image. Saturn was destroyed first by turning them into re-badged Opels (nothing wrong with Opel in my opinion, but they weren’t Saturns) and quite honestly GM doesn’t make a single vehicle in all their “Brands” that I like.
      Ford? I’ve never owned one that I liked long-term. They serve their purposes, but–and I emphasize this is personal opinion–not one has been reliable.
      Chrysler? Once developed a reputation for unreliability, yet who hasn’t heard of the almost-unkillable slant-six? Everyone knows the K-cars and even now Chrysler’s brands and models are followed–even though they’re not the most popular. Why? Because they’re typically ahead of the other American brands with new technologies and Fiat is helping to keep them there.

      GM = Boring
      Ford = Boring
      Chrysler = Interesting… though not necessarily popular.

      Looking at Asian brands, every one of them seems to be more appealing either visually, in comfort, performance, reliability or some combination. Toyota has the most popular sedan and when taking global purchases into account, the most popular pickup truck. Subaru developed a reputation for sporty all-purpose reliability. Mitsubishi built a reputation for performance sedans (street racers seem to love the EVO). Nissan developed a reputation for sports and economy. Even Kia is breaking in with combinations of comfort and sportiness with some very distinctive designs as well.

      Europe? Many of Ford’s American models are now based on Euro-Ford. Fiat’s making a resurgence, albeit slowly. Mercedes, Audi, BMW and even VW are relying on their ‘German’ heritage of high engineering and have all gained somewhat in popularity where once their brands were relatively rarely seen on the American highways. Peugeot, Citroen, even Maserati became almost unheard of here, but all are making their pending presence known, if not yet felt.

      The ONLY market where US brands hold dominance IN the US is in the pickup truck market.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi again, Vulpine – -

        A really good analysis here.

        I had a slant-six in a 1974 Dodge D100 “Club-Cab” pick-up. (Dodge innovated that design; Ford and Chevy did not.) Drove the bloody thing for 22 years and 225,000 miles; then gave it to a monk to transport his Nubian goats to shows. Un-killable slant six? You bet! (Under-powered? Yes.)

        And I, too, have always felt that Chrysler was the “engineering company”, willing to take chances on new things, not always economically successfully. (That may not be as true anymore, post 2009.)

        If you measure true “fuel mileage” by longevity instead of MPG, you’ll get an entirely different view of the American pick-up truck as the most economical vehicle you can buy. Apparently, many Americans intuitively agree, or the Ford F150 wouldn’t be the best-selling vehicle in America for past 17 years*.

        * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_F-Series

        ———————

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The problem is, NMGOM, it’s not. The Toyota Camry is the best-selling VEHICLE, the F-150 is the best-selling TRUCK. There is a difference.

          Even so, while I own an F-150 now (very soon to get its ‘antique’ plates), I don’t like it for multiple reasons of which its size is only one. I am, after all, the one who coined the term “Road Whale™” that is seen both here and on PUTC website. Despite all the arguments about how today’s full-sized truck is the best “value”, that value is in the eye of the beholder and quite honestly, by my values they are nothing but the ultimate in compromises. They are too much of everything and not enough of anything. Too big, too many doors, too much power, too much luxury. I don’t want any of that. I don’t NEED any of that.

          For now, the Toyota Tacoma is the only truck in the US that meets my wants; but it’s not American. I only hope the Colorado succeeds because that would come closest to my wants–but I’d rather have a Jeep for the purpose. That way I truly would get sport and utility in one direction, while allowing me to get sport and economy with a different vehicle–of which the selection even there is critically limited.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            You’ve got that backwards, Vulpine. F-150 is the best selling vehicle; Camry is the best selling car. Not even close — F-150 sold 645k versus 404k for Camry, last year.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Hi Vulpine – -

            “I only hope the Colorado succeeds because that would come closest to my wants–but I’d rather have a Jeep for the purpose. That way I truly would get sport and utility in one direction, while allowing me to get sport and economy with a different vehicle–of which the selection even there is critically limited.”

            Sounds like you’re making an argument for Chrysler to build a Jeep pick-up truck (again).

            Actually, I also have a Frontier (mid-size), for several of the reasons you listed.

            ————–

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Exactly right, NMGOM. RAM killed the Jeep pickup over 20 years ago because it was competing with their own trucks. If Jeep made a Wrangler-based truck, there would be little competition between the two divisions.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        They also dominate the traditional SUV market, although this market is down considerably in sales numbers since its mid-2000s heyday.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        Vulpine – Brands are a major component of marketing; I get it and agree with you and all other posters that feel that brands have influence and, yes, they have influenced me too.

        That said, regardless of gender, making purchases based on branding, especially significant purchases, I still think is a stupid way to conduct business.

        (Speaking of Marketing, TTAC has done a good job here with Caroline, this chick can really rack up the comments!)

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        @NMGOM Don’t really know who pioneered that style but it wasn’t dodge. IH was making 4 doors as was dodge very early. The king cab was all over the pacific before it was here. I don’t know why I don’t have one in the driveway.

        Young woman gave her opinion on a lot of things. I think they were valid opinions although you don’t have to agree. Sure do agree with Vulpine about brands (and saturn). I just learned the hard way that I shouldn’t buy olds and brands have served as handy guidelines for me for years.

        Thing is,I’ll probably get hate for this but I think I enjoyed the article and did not get my skivvies in a wad because of it. Hope to get a chance to read a lot more from this author and really don’t care if it’s controversial or not.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      He certainly was…

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Yup, and it goes for men buying Alfa Romeos or used German sedans and coupes as well.

      Rightly or wrongly, branding matters, and when branding, which by its nature seeks to exclude in order to create desirability, succeeds to the extent that it excludes too many other demographics, it can be a significant problem for a business.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    “And American cars, whether deserved or not, don’t have nearly the reputation for reliability that Japanese makes do”

    But then you go and buy German cars like the Tiguan and the Q5. Go figure. I guess brand image really does trump everything.

    • 0 avatar
      TybeeJim

      Not sure what you mean. I’ve had a Q5 2.0T for two years, 23k miles and all it’s needed is one oil change! I recently traded my indestructible but tired ’04 Ford Ranger Edge for an ’07 Mini Cooper S 6sp with 56k miles and it’s been a ball with only 3 recall updates that were never done by the original owner. Then there’s the wife’s ’06 MB CLS 500 that’s required one front strut and 2 batteries in its life. As much as it pains me, I have to agree with Caroline on this one. My wife loves her Benz and she knows diddly about cars… it’s a Mercedes! She’s just unhappy that it doesn’t have the star on the hood (sports models don’t get one). A friend has a Tiguan and yes, it has had some issues, but it is a completely different car than the Q5, e.g., different chassis and engine (lateral mount, front drive).

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        European brands are consistently on the bottom of any initial and long term reliability chart. Even today. Of course the entire industry has improved to the point that a “reliability” issue is more typically a matter of software flashes and rattly trim pieces vs time spent on the side of the road.

        That probably puts the VAG or Daimler that currently occupies the lowest point on the reliability plot well above average compared to the came plot 30 years ago.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    This article makes me want to go hug my Crown Vic.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    Completely agree that this is how a lot of young women pick their cars, but I am still not seeing how Caroline is a car enthusiast. And I’m not singling her out among the TTAC writers (Dykes, say, doesn’t come across as an enthusiast either) but that was a prominent part of her intro blurb last month. If she’s meant to provide the perspective of a young woman who isn’t really into cars, great — that’s absolutely a relevant piece of truth about cars. But let’s be honest about it.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The Eos, Mini and Mercedes are cars. She appears to be enthusiastic about them. Car-enthusiast. It’s such a loose term.

      I agree she doesn’t appear to be an outright car-geek like many of us here, but she seems enthusiastic enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Caroline Ellis

      I’d have to agree with that statement. I’m certainly enthusiastic about cars, but I’m not a traditional enthusiast. I can’t afford to be, for one, and I don’t have the tech knowledge that one would associate with being a car geek.

      I am glad, however, that you still find value in my opinions. The Truth About Cars includes many perceived truths from many different perspectives, and I think that’s part of what makes us so great.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Alex strikes me very much as an enthusiast–just not of the Jalopnik variety, which, IMO, is a good thing.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    Wow. Interesting, as this is exactly my wife’s perspective. She’s the first one to admit she has a bias against buying any Detroit car, even the ones she likes. Attributes my “objectivity” to my being old enough to remember the loved Detroit cars of the 60s (although my folks were an import family from the mid-70s on), and coming of age when all cars were so much less reliable.

    My wife has too many bad memories of breakdowns in parents and grandparents’ various 70s and 80s Detroit crud, even a fondly remembered 1976 Seville (although the bias wasn’t helped by her Mother’s AMC Pacer). She likes cars, has owned an Acura CL, Prelude, Mazda MX6, Benz C280 and now an adored and amazing little Mazda 5, with possibly a family CX9 on the horizon as we are moving to Texas. She really likes the new Ford Escape & C-Max but it would take a lot of lobbying on my part for her to take what she sees as a big risk…

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      She’d love the CX9. It drives smaller than it is.

      Our CX9 has been impeccably reliable (my criteria, as I hate the idea of the wife stranded) and very cheap to own for something with that many seats (~22 mpg). The S/O is interested in how sporty something drives, but like Caroline, has NO desire to tear the motor apart. It needs to be comfortable to drive quickly, stylish, and reliable.
      She’s also owned quite a few manuals, drives them well, and would love (if practicality and finances would allow) a Mustang or FR-S.

      A lot of her car attitudes are from her father, who got tired of breaking down in the eighties and went Toyota for life. Both her and her sister pretty much only drove Toyotas for that reason.

  • avatar
    VoltOwner

    I see a lot of Volts being driven by women. Quiet and smooth. Talk about your zen experience, it doesn’t get much better than this.

    It’s not like my wife’s commute has gotten any better, it’s still bumper-to-bumper, but the only day in the last 2 years that was bad enough to complain about was the first rainy day, which as we all know brings out the stupid in most other drivers…

    Despite perceptions, a little research shows that a lot of foreign brands have many more recalls than GM lately as well.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m glad this article was written as it imparts a unique perspective.

    I particularly like the contrast between:

    “It’s truly remarkable how the perception of the Elantra, specifically, and Hyundai, in general, has evolved in the last ten years with women.”

    and

    “The Fiesta, Focus, Spark, Sonic, and Dart are largely solid efforts. But I hate their brands, and so do all of my friends.”

    From the product standpoint, those models and the Hyundai equivalent (Elantra? Forte?) are quite similar, they are all basically dressed up s*itboxes. Sure “fun”, fancy plastic fantastic interiors, 90 airbags, and available with options including automatic integration with your Icrap… but s*itboxes nonetheless. Yet somehow the Korean manufacturing concern is tops in this segment because, branding? Ladies your minds have clearly been warped, turn off the fracking television and learn to call a spade a spade. Marc Jacobs? Who the frack is that? FLAVOR-OF-THE-MONTH. Armani was once a must have, now I guess it’s Prada, both are overpriced and flashy and the automotive equivalent of either of those is not Chevy/Dodge/Ford/Hyundai/Toyonda. Buy something for content/value first and branding second and don’t kid yourself over a plastic badge whether it be a bowtie or a roundel. Chances are if you can afford it its not really that nice to begin with…

    This about sums it up: “Give me somebody like Zooey Deschanel, somebody that I can identify with.”. Sure the sister who plays a hippie ditz that’s about right. I’ll take the intelligent and beautiful Emily thank you much.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      One word, and one word only, blew your entire argument out of the water–as you proved to EVERYBODY that you are brand-biased yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Do tell.

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          I wouldn’t call the Focus a shitbox in a fundamental sense. it is a very good mechanical package and has been since its inception (if you ignore some of the lamer early powertrain options) with a great suspension and chassis and now drivetrain. This current generation has fallen into the trend of glitzing up small cars in to “premium compacts” but under that it is a car with substance.

          The new Koreans despite their new found fashion sense refinement and status has actually gone backwards where I think it counts. Rudimentary struts and twisty beam rear ends? No thanks. Not on what is marketed as a premium small and midsized car.

          If they had done it better perhaps I wouldn’t mind and its the type of think many will never notice or care about but for my dollar a glitzed up Focus with a top of the segment chassis beats out a Forte or Elantra with the bare minimum of suspension needed to keep the rockers off the pavement, even with a substantial discount.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Add a rugged man to go with that rugged truck…YES PLEASE!”

    Didn’t you say something in your past article about men with big trucks looking stupid and like a penile-extension, or something?

    “I see enough hillbillies driving around with #88 flags on their trucks.”

    This is the man you just described as “yes please” a minute ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      The modern woman isn’t looking for her soul mate just to get a fix ;) I have met several who knock some out with exactly the type of man they claim to dislike. In general women are looking for a strong confident man who is kind but masculine, in a world seemingly divided between pansies and assholes a lady must compromise sometimes and assholes beat out pansies every time.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    “a female friend of mine remarked that you don’t see many women of any age driving American made cars nowadays”

    Most car buyers now ( both male and female) want an all-around transport appliance, not car trunk storage headache so they don’t care about “cars” at all.

    I guess US manufacturer SUVs don’t count? I have seen many Gen Y women driving SUVs- Ford, Chev, Dodge.But then again, SUVs and pickups are more popular in the Southeast US than other regions.

    And as above postings, that doesn’t count the CUV Crossovers – “big enough to see over you and feel confident but not too big to park easily.”

    And have even seen several women driving Corvettes, even one lady ‘Vette driver with a personalized license tag something like SNGLGRL. No Generation Y appearing females, though, driving the Corvettes probably due to the cost. (Also note: my results are skewed since I live in the region of the Bowling Green KY Corvette plant and associated Corvette museum.)

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    So woman love brands, and use fashion instead of common sense to make a large purchase. Congratulations, you just proved why most women are stupid, thank you.

    I must be the luckiest man in the world. My girl loves American cars. Our 12′ Mustang is pretty much hers, and she’d love to have a truck, with a 8ft bed someday. Then again, she’s works as a HVAC tech, is a carpenter by trade, and she can build or fix about anything around the house.
    Honestly, she makes most men, especially from our generation, look like the little pussies that they are.

    Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a total dyke (can that be said? I don’t keep up on PC garbage) and is a girl deep inside. She loves to cook, keep the house clean, and she likes to shop; but not for over priced “luxury” garbage but sensible stuff for around the house, tools, yard equipment, etc. It’s AWESOME to go tool shopping with your mate.

    Reading this stuff is like a reminder of my dating days and how pissed off I’d get listening to some idiot girl across the table talk utter nonsense; and I’ll tell them that….. had no problem getting that first date; the never got much farther.

  • avatar
    vvk

    All my friend’s wifes and my wife’s girlfriends want BMWs. My sister just leased a C300. I don’t know any women who WANT a Japanese car. Except for my mother, who seems to be happy with her Corolla.

    My wife wants nothing but BMW and Mercedes. She specifically does not want Toyota/Honda. She is willing to pay for it, too.

    American cars? Not even on the radar.

    • 0 avatar
      z9

      I don’t know if this is gender-specific but I notice with Toyota my wife does not think of Toyota as a single brand. She thinks of each Toyota model representing a different type of person. Other brands do not have this quality: lowly BMWs aspire to be overlord BMWs.

  • avatar
    blackbolt

    At one time I could tell guess the driver’s gender by just looking at the car but not now. Women are pushing a wide range of vehicles in NY. There is a difference in how the cars are taken care of. They may drive nice cars but they drive them like they rented them.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    In Calgary and Winnipeg (two places I spend alot of time), the facelifted Escape (so, 2006-2011?) is very popular amongst young ladies. This statement is based on people I know as well as observations while driving around. My guess is the extra clearance and AWD provide them secure feeling in winter, combined with this being a very truck centric place (Alberta at least).

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You’re thinking of the 2008-2012 models, which were very good entries in a time when small SUVs were still relatively basic and cheap. And that Escape makes an excellent used-car purchase today, as do its Mercury and Mazda sisters. The Escape is one of the smartest moves Ford ever made. Also, the 2008-2012 Escape was actually a separate generation from the earlier 2001-2007 Escape. Unlike Ford’s normal practice of using the same body on multiple generations of a model (such as with the Edge/MKX, Expedition/Navigator, Mustang and F-150/Mark LT), the first and second-gen Escape look alike but are totally different.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        While I agree that the Escape was positioned perfectly and sold incredibly well, they are infact the same old 2001-2007 platform, with some sheetmetal and powertrain tweaks.

        Secondly, as affordable and as practical as they are, I could not with a clean conscience recommend one as a used car. The 6spd transmissions are plagued with issues, continuing the proud tradition of the 1st gen’s failure prone CD4e and other fine ford transmissions (explorer 5r55e, taurus AX4, focus powershift, etc).

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          Correct, I have been under countless Escapes and up til the latest Focus based generation they are atleast 99% identical as far as mechanical hard parts go. Need to replace your lower control arm on your out of warranty 2010 Escape? Your local junkyard will have several identical if older arms to chose from.

          The last year cars were surprisingly nice for their original design date and in some ways better than the new ones if you want something that LOOKS like an SUV rather than a CUV or tall wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Hey thanks for clearing that up. I thought that was the case but Kyree had me doubting myself (no offense Kyree).

            I too really like the 08-12 model due to the boxy looks. If only I could have a fully loaded V6 manual AWD model w/ Sync (not MFT).

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Anecdotes are not data. That being said, Kelley Blue Book recently conducted a survey that reaches conclusions quite similar to those of the author:

    http://mediaroom.kbb.com/male-new-car-shoppers-prefer-luxury-automakers-females-favor-import-brands

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Well, this is not great data, it is just the cars with the most disparate number of female and male fans (not actual transactions). And it includes all ages. Women of all ages may be 119% more interested in Volvos than men of all ages. But when they buy a car are they buying a Focus or Civic? Ford may be more popular with women than Honda, but not on the list since it is also popular with men.

      I am interested in whether, for example, the top 10 c-segment cars purchased by women are dramatically different from the top 10 c-segment cars purchased by men. Especially among young buyers. But I cannot find those numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The data is useful when used appropriately.

        It provides a good indication of some of the differences in brand perceptions between the genders. Those disparities don’t form the totality of what determines what cars are purchased, but KBB didn’t claim that they did.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          I’m not faulting the KBB study, I’m just saying that it is not at all demonstrative of what cars young women are buying.

          Interestingly Dodge is one of the brands that, according to the KBB study, is more popular with women than men.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m not faulting the KBB study, I’m just saying that it is not at all demonstrative of what cars young women are buying.”

            You are faulting it by judging the information based upon a question that it didn’t attempt to answer.

            If you want your question answered, then you need a different survey.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            I am refuting your claim that the survey backs up the author’s conclusions.

            The survey has nothing to do with which cars are most popular with young women.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The author’s basic contention is that women are more likely than men to prefer imports and reject domestics. Her perceptions are consistent with the KBB survey results.

            Brand perceptions are not the sole driver of purchase decisions. Those perceptions influence purchases, but aren’t the only factor. If you want to understand why people buy what they buy, then more information is required.

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          “The author’s basic contention is that women are more likely than men to prefer imports and reject domestics.”

          Actually the authors contention as stated in the third paragraph is that you don’t see many women driving domestics vs imports.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      Quit muddying this emotional conversation with actual data.

  • avatar
    dude500

    Great article, but I feel like you had set up the plot but didn’t come to the conclusion. How could you love the Hyundai Elantra but Ford, Chevy and Dodge don’t register? What drives the difference?

    “It’s truly remarkable how the perception of the Elantra, specifically, and Hyundai, in general, has evolved in the last ten years with women. We’ve gone from the “wouldn’t be caught dead in this shitbox” 2001 model to the 2014 that is arguably the most highly regarded amongst Gen Y women in the class.”

    “The Fiesta, Focus, Spark, Sonic, and Dart are largely solid efforts. But I hate their brands, and so do all of my friends. Millennial women LOVE brands…We trust Honda and Toyota like we trust our favorite brands of tampons. Chevy? Ford? Dodge? You don’t register…It’s going to take quite a long time and quite a bit of brand equity building for the Big Three to get Gen Y women on their side. “

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Most young females just buy what everyone has recommended in the past. Times have changed as more and more are seeing domestics a better choice.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Here in a Big 3 town, young ladies choose the Chevy Cruze in great numbers. If a sedan won’t do, the most luxurious compact SUV they can afford is what’s on order.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    So she is telling us something that is fairly obvious if you take a step back and look. Marketing is a weakness for the Domestic brands, while the imports are doing a better job at marketing. She is also saying that with Gen-Y females, metro’s and a-sexual males, marketing is very important and influences their purchase greatly

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I think you’re making a dangerous assumption by saying marketing only matters to “Gen-Y females, metro’s and a-sexual males.” Marketing quite clearly has made a massive impact on the regular posters on here. Just not that marketing.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Nah, just being a smart ass, and trying to parallel what Caroline wrote.

        If marketing didn’t influence the masses then there would be no “career” in the field of marketing. I’m always more impressed when I hear someone bought something because of their own thoughts regardless of what the PR guys have been shoving down people’s throats about the product.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      PonchoIndian must have missed all the automaker advertising that runs during college and pro football and basketball games…I’m pretty sure those ads are not targeted to “Gen-Y females, metro’s and a-sexual males.”

      Marketing/sales/advertising works on most people, on one level or another. If you don’t think it works on you at all then the marketers have been particularly successful in your case.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Toad…”I’m right here I can hear you”….haha

        Nope, I didn’t miss those ads. Sorry if you feel you fall into one of the “Gen-Y females, metro’s and a-sexual males.” and I somehow offended you.

        Of course marketing works on most people. If it didn’t work it wouldn’t exist anymore.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My wife will buy American (at age 30) but has a wonderful relationship with the local Buick/GMC dealer stretching back to when her family started buying used cars there in the 1980s, they now buy new.

    She learned to drive on a worn out 1980s Honda Civic hatchback with a stick. Her first new car purchase was a base 2005 Vibe manual trans, now she wants a big full size BOF SUV or a full size CUV. She wants a Yukon Denali or a Buick Enclave.

    Definitely not typical of her generation.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      I’m pretty sure our wives are dopplegangers. My 33 y/o wife started on a Civic, bought a Lancer new and only bought a GP because of me, now wants a full sizeish SUV/CUV (the exact one changes daily from a Yukon to a Jeep to a Durango)…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Honest question Miss Ellis, is it acceptable in the minds of you and your compatriots to dump a sizeable about of money on a faux-luxo car lease or are you more in the “buy and hold” camp?

    • 0 avatar
      Caroline Ellis

      Honestly, for me it’s not that important. Like most of my fellow Gen Y women, I don’t have a lot of disposable income, so I think that people should get the car that makes them happy that they can afford. Whether that $300 a month goes toward a 320i lease or an Elantra purchase is a personal choice.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    So women think about selecting a car in roughly the same way that men think about selecting a pair of shoes.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      Ha! Good analysis. Women who shop for cars like men are kind of like…me shopping for shoes like a woman. Which I do. Sixty pairs of Allen Edmonds and counting.

      • 0 avatar
        Delta9A1

        Wow, 60 pairs of dress shoes! I thought I had a problem, and I only have about half that many in that category. Three pairs of Allen Edmonds, though. Great shoes, and you can find them at Nordstrom Rack!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Single women love the Corolla. Cheap, economical, bulletproof reliability and dead simple. Boring as hell, but who cares.

    Once someone poor dude is paying the bills, leather, nav, sunroof, etc, in a luxury marque all become an absolute ‘must have’.

    They’re wondering what happened to the down-to-earth Corolla Girl they once knew?

  • avatar
    George B

    I ran into anti-Detroit pro-Luxury brand bias from a now ex-girlfriend. She said “You’d look good in a Mercedes” like I was shopping for clothes. I argued that I didn’t want to spend that much money on a car that gets to sit in the sun for hours every day at work. I had a company discount for the Detroit brands and argued that the Ford Fusion was a pretty good car. Pointing out that it borrowed styling cues from the Austin Martin and that it’s development was tied to Europe couldn’t overcome her low opinion of the Ford brand. Strangely, the made in Ohio Honda Accord was acceptable to her with neither a positive nor a negative reaction. She was mildly positive about Infiniti and somewhat more positive about Lexus, but she really preferred BMW, Mercedes, or Audi. In the end I solved the brand problem by replacing her. Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I would look good in a Mercedes, but only if I could find a used one for a good price.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good call.

      “I would look good in a Mercedes, but only if I could find a used one for a good price.”

      Good luck but I don’t think you’ll find what you are looking for. If I was going to spend used E-class money, Lexus would get my first attention possibly followed by the Cadillac Alpha coupe coming out.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        A nice 2010 E-Class (the first model-year for the current generation) can be had in the mid-twenty-thousands…unless it’s an E-Class wagon, in which case it will priced out of the stratosphere. Despite their unpopularity, E-Class wagons probably have higher prices all around than GL-Class SUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I think the price difference used is entitled, once you consider the GL’s woeful reliability AND it’s cheapened interior.

          When I first checked out a few GL’s, I was shocked first by what’s optional equipment (a couple had hubcaps) and how flimsy the interior seemed. I expected much more!

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            All I know is that the first-gen GL looked positively horrid by the time it was discontinued. Ditto for the second-gen M-Class The Audi Q7 has done well in terms of up-to-date exterior styling, but the interior is piss-poor for that money. Compare this to the E70 X5, which was current enough to soldier on for at least another year, but was recently replaced with the new F15 X5.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I threw a 2010 E350 sedan into autotrader they are mostly 4-matics and range from $32.5K with 25K to $27.9 with 50K. Anything decent will run in between and for my money when 30K is in the offing its Lexus and predictability.

          http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/searchresults.xhtml?zip=15220&endYear=2010&modelCode1=E350&sortBy=mileageASC&showcaseOwnerId=66769997&startYear=2010&makeCode1=MB&searchRadius=25&mmt=MBE350

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      “In the end I solved the brand problem by replacing her.”

      Possibly the funniest line I’ve ever read here.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: We think Apple is ah-may-zing.

    Being in the IT world and dealing with Apple products on a daily basis, this line cracked me right up. Take 120 Dell laptops and 120 Apple Macbooks 3 years through teacher and student use and tell me at the end which is better. Judging by the pile of dead Macbooks with bad batteries, shot keyboards and bad system boards vs every single Dell still in use makes this quote bogus in the extreme and very much brand snob stupidity.

    This is also the problem with car purchases today. I have asked literally hundreds of teachers who are ironically mostly woman why they purchased there Toyota Camry’s, Honda CRV’s, Subaru’s etc. There answer- because someone told me those are good brands. Not because they did any kind of research and bought what they really wanted. They honestly bought a car like they would buy a pair of designer jeans then bitch because it rides like a truck or the seats are like sitting on stones or the handling is sloppy or the mileage is terrible etc. If anything only the Subaru owners seem to actually like there purchases when asked after the fact and that is mainly due to mind over matter of having AWD in Upstate, NY’s unpredictable weather.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      Don’t forget that Subaru=Love…at least according to the ad’s these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      Of course Apple is junk. Women like it anyway. It’s the brand perception that matters, not the brand reality.

      I typed this on an iPad. :)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Agreed on your points.

      If someone said “Apple is ah-may-zing” (esp in that tone) to me on a date I’d get up and walk out.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I have quite the opposite experience with Apple laptops, not to mention the fact that there are parts and tutorials galore for when MacBooks *do* have issues. But if you’re in IT, you probably deal with Dell’s business line of laptops (Latitude) and not the consumer line (Inspiron).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not sure consumer grade laptops have been of high quality for years.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        IMHO neither is truly consistent; it’s very model-dependent. Apple’s older polycarbonate MacBooks held up to a lot more abuse than the aluminum models seem to. And even among the older Latitudes, our company saw excellent service out of the 600/800 series, whereas we had 500 series models where every component was replaced twice.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m in a love/hate relationship with my Lat E6520 (Core I7/8GB DDR3) that’s slated to be replaced by a Precision any day now. In the Latitude’s defense it has never had a hardware issue in 28 months, but the Dell image it came with runs like crap. We have an older Lat D820 running Win 8 and its performance is probably better than what I get out of the E6520.

    • 0 avatar

      Heh, this has been the opposite of my experience. I’ve had more trouble with my Dell computers (there have been several in a row that have just died on me, ugh) than anything, ever. There’s just no quality, period. They fail. A lot.

      As a female who’s not the OP, I care about things working. Work. Reliably. Dagnabbit.

      Usable design trumps style concerns, too. Windows 7 and prior were okay. Windows 8 is an user-hostile trainwreck. Products that are pretty won’t get bought if I don’t have a use for them, or if they’re so annoying to use that it makes me want to throw things.

      Strangely, the Apple products I’ve had seem to be fairly unkillable–well, everything except their stupid cords.

      I’ll take cords made out of TP and used twine over hard drives made of it any day of the week.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “I care about things working. Work. Reliably. Dagnabbi”

        “Usable design trumps style concerns”

        “Windows 7 and prior were okay. Windows 8 is an user-hostile trainwreck”

        I think you are my new friend, Ninjacoco.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Typing this on a 3-4 year old macbook pro. Second cord. I beat the tar out of this and love it because it works. consumes photos with an appetite I cannot believe and still has lots of space left. A bonus is that there are not so many viruses out there for the mac.

        Will buy another and absolutely love the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      I work in IT as well and can echo your experiences. Macbooks are atrociously expensive, fragile, and a genuine pain to open up and replace a component. The polar opposite of Dell. Also, you gotta love Dell’s warranty for their business line. Something breaks, my techs can jump onto Dell’s website, request a part, and it shows up on the next business day. No phone calls to make, no long chat sessions, just quick and efficient work.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        My personal experiences as a private IT consultant is that Dell’s hardware is inherently “cheap”; cheap in price, cheap in quality. I have Never, EVER, seen a Dell that didn’t require service multiple times a year pretty much from the day it was purchased. What good is Dell’s warranty when you lose hours and even days of productivity due to the number of times it breaks down? I know that Apple’s products aren’t perfect, but they are FAR more reliable tan you or Poncho are making out. One of my clients right now is using Windows on an iMac and he hasn’t had to call me for service in over a year! This man used to call on me monthly with his previous machines.

        And that’s really your point, isn’t it? You want job security and with Dell’s frequent breakdowns you’re making all the money you want (well, maybe not all you WANT, but more than you would servicing Macs). Sure, Dells may be easier to repair, but that ease to repair is part of why they break down so readily, too. Every time you open it up, you risk causing some other component or connection failing. If batteries fail in a MacBook, the most likely reason is that they’ve been mistreated; in fact, that’s true of all battery-powered devices. If you want them to last, then don’t leave them plugged in full time. Don’t recharge them every night if you’ve only used 10%-40%, wait for it to drain down to 20% or lower.

        The whole point is that Cheap does not mean Best–it only means more popular simply because it costs less. Overall cost of ownership is what will demonstrate the Better product.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I just want to re-state this for the purpose of pedantry, but this is nothing more than a mirror to the stuff we spout out all the time in comments. To say that we aren’t affected by branding and marketing would be some of the more outrageous hypocrisy we’ve produced. Even a reaction to be the opposite of a “brand” is an actual submission to the branding/marketing effort. They need an “other” to make themselves desirable to a particular group, because marketing is exclusionary. And we have all be suckers for someone’s branding, when looking at our car/other choices…

  • avatar
    wmba

    Not a bad article. It reminded me that the tipping point for me to purchase a 2008 Subaru Legacy GT was this review by Megan Benoit.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/05/subaru-legacy-gt-limited-review/

    Michael Karesh had liked an earlier model, claimed to have seriously considered buying one, but never did. So this review by Ms. Benoit of the updated model sealed it for me. Thanks. To the poor blighter who bought a Mazdaspeed6 instead, my condolences. To those who figure the G37 is better, I beg to differ, having bombed around in my brother’s 2010. To Mr. Dykes who slammed the smoothness of the boxer 4, sorry, you’re incorrect.

    Six years later, my out of pocket expenses for actual failed items stands at $137, and I love the silly thing.

    Thanks for the tip, Megan. Your road tests used to get to the heart of the matter for me somehow.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Ford CEO: 68 YO white male.
    Chrysler CEO: 61 YO Italian male.
    GM CEO: 65 YO white male.

    I’m shocked that companies run by a bunch of cigar-chomping old codgers don’t make products that appeal to ditzy 25 YO girls.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      Honda CEO: 60 year old Asian male
      Toyota CEO: 57 year old Asian male
      Nissan CEO: 59 year old French-Lebanese male
      Hyundai CEO: 75 year old Korean male

      Not sure I see your point.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        There is actually one relevant element here — the average Japanese man and the average American woman tend to be about the same height. That has been rumored as one reason for the popularity of Japanese cars among women in the US market — they “fit right.”

        I suspect this was more relevant 25 years ago; I’m sure everyone does market-specific ergonomic studies these days.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Yes, CEOs are disproportially older males. They however employ many people from many different demographics that contribute to the form of the finished products the company makes.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      So, Italians don’t count as white? I realize what you’re trying to say, but there might be a better way to put it.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Good catch. Like you have to be American to be white. Many Europeans will be shocked to find that they are not white. If you think the Italians will be shocked then think of the Swedes.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Hmmmmmmmm, I’m half Portuguese and half German, born in Huntington Beach, CA, USA, and darker complected than all the Italians I have seen while in Italy, and I’m “Too White” to qualify for any handouts, food stamps or free cell phones from the US government.

        Plus I own a 2012 Grand Cherokee, a 2011 Tundra 5.7 and a 2008 Japan-Built Highlander. On top of that, I’m a old codger to boot, at age 67!

  • avatar
    GS 455

    “We trust Honda and Toyota like we trust our favorite brand of tampons” I see a lot of thirtysomething women driving Buick Enclaves. Does this mean the Enclave is the automotive equivalent of a Maxi Pad?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Caroline seems to echo what I hear and see from my female friends, both her age and my age (I’m 44).

    Ultimately, women have different things they care about when it comes to cars. Just like with shoes and purses. Even my favorite partner in crime Amanda, who is a Gen-Y girl who is perfectly happy covered in oil working on her Jeep, LOVES her girly-girl luxury purses and ungodly uncomfortable but super-cute shoes. If she could afford it, she would trade that Jeep GC for a BMW X3 in a nanosecond. Her sister, who is a girly-girl who would never dream of opening a hood, drives a Hyundai Elantra. Go figure. neither of them would ever consider a domestic CAR. S/CUVs get a pass for whatever reason.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Since I cannot find any actual data I am going to claim that the author’s claims are regional.

    The coasts and north went to imports early, but are now returning to the domestics. People in the south stayed with domestics longer, but are now looking at imports.

    The most popular brands with women that I know are Jeep and Denali. The kraut stuff is too loud, snotty and shoddy, and the Asian stuff is reliable, but what they drove before they got a good job.

  • avatar
    imag

    This article is indeed better than the last. However, it shares the same problem: your insistence on speaking for all women.

    Why not just speak from your personal perspective? Why not just say, “this is what I want,” or “this is what my friends and I like”? If you do want to make generalizations, then please use data, like that pulled up by PCH.

    Among the largely male audience on TTAC, there are massive differences of opinion on practically every aspect of automotive purchase, maintenance, and desire. If any one of those people was to go on a female-oriented site and say, “this is what all men think,” they would be rightly abused by men and women alike.

    The way to establish your independent thought is to admit that you are an individual, not a self-declared spokesperson. I think that losing a bit of the grandiosity would make your articles more credible and more compelling.

    On the other hand, these articles seem to work pretty well as trolls. There is nothing like making sweeping generalizations to bring up the comment count. It almost seems like that is the intent.

    • 0 avatar
      Caroline Ellis

      Marketing is full of sweeping generalizations. That’s how it works, unfortunately. While it is true that there are gear head women who can do an engine swap in half an hour (and I respect the heck out of them!!), the majority of mid-twenties women are like me-—cash strapped and looking for a car that won’t break and will get us from A to B, probably because we can’t afford to fix them.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Doesn’t that line of thinking run counter to the “branding is everything” argument?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Marketing is full of sweeping generalizations.”

        Marketers use reams of data to reach conclusions about market segments.

        You used your hunches, and assumed that you could use your hunches to speak for an entire demographic.

        In this case, your hunches correspond somewhat to aspects of of the data. But that doesn’t mean that guesswork is a substitute for data.

      • 0 avatar

        I look forward to the day when male/female gets dropped from the discussion, heh. Make sweeping generalizations based on interests, skill sets, occupations…but not so much on gender.

        Unless it directly relates to the topic at hand (seatbelts and boobs, dumb things done by straight men to woo straight females, etc., etc.), I’m hesitant to bring it up.

        To me, what’s described above seems like a perfectly reasonable set of purchase criteria for people who aren’t *really* interested in cars. Things like style, reliability and brand perception matter more than it does for someone looking for performance.

        That being said, in dealing with a heavily male audience, the last thing you want to do is alienate the women who are there.

        I get the marketing argument. My “day job” is in that field, in a male dominated industry, to boot. I also have to tiptoe that line of trying to make sure not to alienate folks from a product or discussion based on somewhat less related sets of genitalia.

        Go too far in the “market to our main audience of bros” direction and you end up with hot messes like the GoDaddy commercials: clearly aimed at the predominant gender in that demographic, but so repulsive to the other gender in said demographic that I’ll pretty much use any other hosting company out there instead, thanks.

        TBH, I usually gag a bit when people label anything a “girl’s car,” even thought that’s often who a lot of the buyers are. They’re usually cars I don’t want. What on earth does buying a ____ have to do with having titties?

        Admittedly, TTAC is a little bit of a sausagefest. We’re all probably a little protective of the other females here (self included) who don’t fit this profile.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Does such a thing as “anti-marketing” exist?

        • 0 avatar
          Caroline Ellis

          I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. The fact that you’re here reading this site probably means you have a different set of buying criteria than most women—after all, TTAC is only about 15 percent female in our readership and considerably less than that are active commenters.

          Great points on marketing. In your male dominated industry, how are women marketed to, if at all?

          • 0 avatar

            Much of it is based on solving problems: you have this issue, our product does this. As a result, we tend to look at roles more than gender: what does [profession] enjoy? Have trouble with? Find interesting and cool?

            Gender really only comes in play if we come up with an idea that may be “too cutesy” to resonate with the dudes, heh.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Men and women make different purchase decisions. There isn’t any good reason for marketing analysts to ignore those differences.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        Marketing is actually highly targeted, covering many overlapping groups, whims, and personality types. To a marketer, you are part of a complex multidimensional Venn diagram of characteristics and behaviors.

        Generalizations as simple as, “All women agree with this one prototypical woman,” went out in the Mad Men era.

        • 0 avatar
          Caroline Ellis

          And yet how often do they get it totally wrong, even with all their data and research and focus groups and test markets? The most highly targeted brand in America has got to be Scion, right? How well are they doing?

          Unfortunately, my post here was not funded by a large research grant, so I trust my instincts and my observations. YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “my post here was not funded by a large research grant”

            Those Google user fees must be a budget buster.

            “I trust my instincts and my observations”

            The issue isn’t whether you trust them, but whether you’ve provided the readers with good reasons to trust them.

            Anecdotes aren’t data, even when they come with a byline attached.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            It is either an opinion piece or journalism.

            If it is an opinion piece, it is perfectly reasonable to speak for yourself and your observations. It is unreasonable to speak for every member of a group just because you happen to belong to it.

            If it is journalism, then it should be backed by real sources and/or data.

            The issue is that you are claiming authority about what other people think without backing it up.

            Anyway, feel free to write what you want. I realize it’s not the end of the world. I just know a lot of women who do not share your opinions, so it is odd to see you claim to represent them.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          With complaints and criticism like that you better not pay for your next subscription when it’s time to renew Imag…

          Oh wait, it’s free I forgot.

          Not sure you should be speaking about what generalizations have gone out with the Mad Men era. There are still parts of this country that won’t seat a minority on the same side of a restaurant as a white person. You seem to be trying to speak for the rest of us.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      imag

      90% of the strongly opinionated comments here are written by people who feel like they know the right answer and are speaking for all of their demographic/gender/age group. What article about cars (or almost anything for that matter) doesn’t have a huge amount of opinion in it?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        +1

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        There is a distinct difference between writing, “This car is X” and saying, “I speak for everyone in my race/gender/country when I say: this car is X”. The forum is presumed to be an opinion. The latter represents a grandiose attempt to amplify a personal opinion by pasting it on a bunch of undeserving people.

        There is also a distinct difference between a comment and a post, especially when the post happens to be on a forum that consistently attacks knee-jerk journalism by other organizations.

  • avatar
    pb35

    My wife has told me on more than one occasion that she is afraid of my Charger R/T.

  • avatar
    7402

    My wife is past 50 and the daughter of an very successful independent mechanic. When we bought our first new car as a couple (1988), we asked his advice and he told us to buy anything from Japan because European cars were too expensive for what you got and American cars were unreliable except for trucks. I think part of his recommendation was because we needed a cheap and reliable commuter car at the time.

    She is a very capable driver/enthusiast and has driven a MINI Cooper S for many years. She loves driving and loves cars. When we started shopping for her next car, she had two basic requirements: high-seating position (CUV) and no American cars. For the first time she’s considering an automatic transmission–something else that makes it harder to drive American.

    It’s not just what her dad told her a quarter century ago, it’s her deep perception that American brand manufacturers cannot, do not, will not make cars that are fun to drive, cars that focus on suspension/handling over acceleration, and that have firm seats with good bolstering. Sure, looks matter, but it’s the driver’s seat experience that matters most to her. She does appreciate Corvettes, but is convinced they are uniquely mid-life-crisis cars for men.

    Seriously, if it has an American name-plate she will not cross the driveway apron into the dealer’s lot. I’m betting her next car will be Japanese or German.

    Other women in her demographic undoubtedly have reasons that may be less enthusiast oriented, but out of 40 houses in our neighborhood only one woman has an American brand car–a Suburban. These women range from stay-home moms to highly compensated professionals, and they range in age from just under 30 to well over 80. For geographical reference, this is metro DC.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Everyone has a tendancy to steriotype and out in the “real world”, how many non-enthusiasts actually do any research about the motor vehicles they buy?
    Wasn’t there a story on this site a while back stating that 40% of “kids” buy what their parents owned?

    There are tons of people this lady’s age that don’t delve too deeply into their car purchases. Many DO see it as an appliance that has to at least fit into or match their accessorized lifestyle.

    I see a large number of Jeep Wrangler 4 door SUV’s being driven by those that don’t want to look like they’ve given up on fun when they’ve said “I Do” and have hatched a few children. There are several on my street that have never seen offroad. My “big macho” babt seal killing SuperCrew F150 has been in the backcountry more often than any of the so called “hardcore” off-roaders I see.

    No harm in lobbing out the “girlie” comments on vehicles and watch all of the manly men trip over their man parts in a huff about what a “girl’ said.

    Keep up the “good work” Caroline. This babyboomer old fart in the macho pickup finds your point of view interesting and most importantly amusing. (The ruffled feathers are even more amusing).

  • avatar
    lon888

    My wife is not a car nut – she’ll ask for anf generally follow my advice on what car to buy. Two years ago she was ready to give up her 03 Accord for a new Sonata “because they looked so cool and elegant”. We go to the local Hyundai store where she test drives the naturally aspirated model. She thought it had plenty of get up and go for her needs. I asked to try the turbo model. When the thing snappped her head back getting onto the interstate she declared ” I WANT this car”! She really, really liked that car. Sadly, Bella, as we called her was was zotzed during the tornados we had in OKC in May. She replaced her with a new turbo Optima. My wife prefers the Asian brands because the reliability, safety and trade-in values. She would never voluntarily drive an American car just because of the reasons above.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Care to expound on safety?

      There have been many (legitimate) criticisms and shortfalls of US cars over the last few decades, but was safety ever one of them?

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The great philosopher and sage Red Green once said, “Ask a guy what kind of car he drives, and he’ll tell you the year, make, model, engine size, trim level and transmission. Ask my wife what kind of car she drives, and she’ll say, ‘a white one.’”

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Not to add fuel to stereotypes, but I had a female high school professor that I got into a conversation with about cars. Eventually I asked her what car she drove and her response was “a black one”. Turns out it was a late-model Jaguar XJR. She *might’ve* said that because she didn’t want me knowing what she drove, because she was kind of paranoid…lol

    • 0 avatar
      DGA

      Very true. Driving with the GF I’d point out a car and she would reply “meh”. Not even half an hour later, same make, model, trim, and year, but different color, “Now that’s a nice car!”

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        Ha. This happens all of the time with my wife. I showed her pictures of the new Mazda3 hatch and she called it gross. We saw a white one in a parking lot and she wasn’t impressed. She saw a red one on Pinterest and emailed me the link asking what car it was and saying it was “beautiful”.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    I abet the USA is the only country in the world where the citizens dump on the home team as much as they do. It’s fascinating to hear people complain about no jobs and the economy, but when it comes time to spend money they go with their perceived belief that they should throw their money to the foreign competition instead of something designed and built by an American company in America/North America.

    That’s my take from this article and the comments. Pretty sad really.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      A solid generation+ of the “home team” making lower-quality products than their competitors will do that.

      Americans didn’t move to imports en masse just to be mean or unpatriotic. There were valid reasons to opt for a 1992 Camry or Accord over the equivalent Taurus or Lumina, most of them centered around frequency of repair, longevity, and resale value.

      The decline of the US auto industry was largely self-inflicted; if they had stayed on the wagon and made truly world-class products throughout the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s then the imports would likely have a much smaller market share today.

      Detroit’s decision not to do that was a result of spending decades without any significant external competition, combined with an institutional willingness to rely on and/or victimize an increasingly small pool of “home team” buyers such as yourself.

      Purchasing the best product you can for your money is as American as it gets.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        That way of thinking is very old and way out of date at this point. 95% of the people that post here don’t have their foot in that era.

        If we really want to go back and compare a 92 Lumina with an Accord or Camry we can do that, and we can also find a statistic somewhere for both sides of the argument.

        Please don’t pull the “market share” line. That has two sides to the argument also.

        I find it hard to support the argument that people are purchasing the best product they can when we are still buying BMW’s, Volkswagons and Mitsubishis.

        Like I said, people seem to get off on going against the home team, you won’t find that in other countries regardless of their product.

        • 0 avatar
          Willyam

          Watch Jeremy Clarkson on Rover, et al. Of course, he’s an equal opportunity “against-er” but watching the Top Gear episode on malaise-era British cars was a riot. America was not the only country that spent a decade or so phoning it in, per se.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            British Leyland cars were so poorly built it’s shocking ANY exist. When the workers were actually working, they were phoning in the assembly anyway.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi…

    So Gen Y women are the same as gen Y men.

    They hate American brands but will buy an off-lease Euro luxury sedan on the cheap and think that exploding fuel pumps, failed dash displays, and replacing an entire suspension before 100K miles is just “normal” maintenance.

    So I guess by reading this article, the Cadillac SRX and Buick Encore and 6-cylinder Mustangs and Camaros aren’t “chick” car after all??

    According to Polk (do a search, its been linked to this site over and over again) in their most recent survey. Only 1% of all new cars purchased are bought by those 18 to 24. Just a hair over 10% of new cars purchased are bought by those 18 to 34. Of all makes and models combined, the average new car buyer is 51 years old. The oldest average age is Lincoln, at 60. But here is one other amazing stat. Every auto maker is graying in that same data – except Buick, who’s average age has plummeted to 57 from a high that was over 70 less than a decade ago.

    Gen Y isn’t buying cars, because as recent studies are showing, they can’t afford a car (not due to a lack of interest – reference TTAC story on this subject).

    Forced into the used market, naturally they’ll gravitate to foreign brands [INSERT PANTHER LOVE AND W-BODY MEH HERE] due to perception and reality (depending on the foreign brand – specifically what continent). As others will be quick to point out, what is “foreign” and what is, “American,” is pretty darn cloudy today. The Camry is as American as apple pie. Que bueno if you want to purchase a Suburban. [INSERT CAMRY QUALITY HAS GONE TO HELL SINCE BEING BUILT IN AMERICA BECAUSES ITS AMERICANS FAULT HERE]

    Also noted, only 39% of Gen Y are interested in buying what mom and dad drove. Kind of an interesting nugget when you look what was popular in the prior gen (Camcord specifically).

    I find it interesting that two of the three cars listed as what makes her thump, the Mini and the VW are quality nightmares [INSERT OUTRAGE HERE]. The NSX is definitely a solid choice, certainly over the ILX [INSERT IT IS NOT AN ACURA CIMMARON HERE]. Do away with MyFord Touch and go manual, the Focus is a solid car – the Cruze sits at below average so lets call a spade a spade. Interesting that there is no Mazda love here – as the 3 is never even mentioned.

    I guess I’m getting old – I just don’t get it. But one thing I’ve learned (probably the first thing) in reading TTAC is it takes a special sort of insane to buy a 5 year old Audi, BMW, or Mercedes on a Gen Y average paycheck. Sure someone else took the depreciation beating – but they left you with a whole heap of bills to pay.

    I guess I’m more pragmatic – I’d LEASE a new BMW, Audi or Mercedes (ahh, but Caroline will be unimpressed because she knows you got the stripper model at the bottom lease rate [READ HER FIRST STORY]). But I would buy a new C-segment car with the near luxury appointments you can get today (hello Buick Verano turbo) for the same Cheddar and a 2/24 service 4/50 bumper-to-bumper and 5/100 powertrain warranty instead.

    That’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      I would not buy that loaded Buick Verano Turbo. You are buying a car engineered to hit a price point of about $16k for 30 grand. Meaning, every little part has been scrutinized to make it as cheap as possible to eke out some profit at $16k price point. Buying a stripper 3-series at that price (30 grand,) you are getting a premium car that was engineered with different price in mind. Better materials are used everywhere, fasteners don’t rust, everything is fitted together perfectly, etc. Every BMW I have looked at has impressed me with attention to detail, useful basic features and solid build. For example, when a brake light lamp burns out, the car will use another available lamp in the rear instead, so you still retain the safety of braking indication while you are driving with a burnt out brake lamp.

      For for years SAAB 9-3 and Volvo S60 were sold for about $20k, which was very favorable compared to the usual Camcords. These cars were vastly better in every possible way, which better dealer service, better warranty, better performance, better safety. Yet people kept ignoring them and buying Camcords, often for much more money. Crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        LOL @ 9-3 and S60 for $20K. Check your prices.

        Then check repair frequencies for those two cars. Then check your definition of “better dealer service.”

        You’re delusional.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Thank you.

          And the myth of the brand new 2014 Verano for $16K continues.

          As some other delusional member of the B&B posted about $10K cash on the hood of NEW Buick Verano turbos.

          Please, someone provide me the link of a new 2014 (not a dealer demo, not some one year lease return cream puff, new, under 50 miles on the odo) Verano turbo with a manual with $10K on the hood and I will buy it TOMORROW.

          Saab 9-3 as reliable as a Camcord?!?!?

          Holy crap – and I’m the GM fanboi?!?!?

          • 0 avatar
            vvk

            I said nothing about $16k Verano. $16k is what its Chevy version costs. Verano is nothing more than a $16k Cruze dressed up to sell for $30k.

            SAAB 9-3 is MORE reliable than Camcord. And MUCH more durable. What you are saying is a perfect example of herd mentality.

            All through the 2000s and certainly by 2005 SAAB 9-3 and Volvo S60 were sold for low $20k, meaning about $21-22k. It was possible to get them for under $20k if one picked manual transmission and cloth seats, which was the best version anyway. I personally almost bought a 2006 9-3 SportCombi (wagon) with 60th anniversary package (sports seats, a must have) for $21k.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So you were like the rest of the herd, -almost- buying one.

            The retail price on a 2005 S60 2.4 base was $27,585. The invoice price was $25,965. So clearly, you know of what you speak.

            Source: MSN Autos

  • avatar
    DGA

    Hmmm…my GF speaks highly of her 90′s Buick and how it was the best car she’s ever owned. Since the awesome rebadge Buick, she’s owned a Prius – hated it so much that she would never buy another Toyota – and now drives a Mini Cooper and is looking at a TDI Jetta wagon next. All bought brand new. Regardless of all of these she still holds Buick above anything else and if they made something that got gas mileage to rival a Prius, a TDI, or even a Mini, she would happily buy it. Go figure.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I changed out the second battery in the Dodge Magnum R/T this year. This time it couldn’t even be jump started so someone else could do the grunt work. American women as a whole make some awful voting decisions, but at least they don’t buy UAW cars.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    I guess I don’t live in Caroline’s demographic. When my wife and her best friend were in their late 20s both of them bought Ford Ranger pickups (2WD) and loved them. 20 years later my wife’s 2 favorite vehicles at the last auto show were the Ford Raptor and the Fiat 500. Since she is petite and obsessed with bicycles my wife wants either a micro car or a truck to haul her bikes.
    Stranger still, my 11 year old daughter is fixated on PT Cruisers, WTF? At least my son is 15 and likes the same sort of cars I do.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I can see what she’s saying: there is a more aggressive look to a lot of American sedans and small SUVs and that probably hurts them.

    Not only among women: I just polled some friends (none of them car enthusiasts) about styling and the consensus is that American cars look less modern and more bulky. Even the Focus isn’t well-liked because of its aggressive front end and interior. I did find one gender difference – my female coworkers and my wife don’t like the Fusion! “It looks like a toaster.”

    I live in San Francisco Bay Area so domestics aren’t too hot here to begin with. There’s on exception, the previous-generation Grand Caravan and whatever its Chrysler equivalent is. Town and Country? The name itself is a turnoff. But it looks friendly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Funny you mention the 2001 Elantra. That’s my wife’s daily driver and all she cares about is does it start, stop, and throw heat when needed.

  • avatar
    steveg35

    Is this a record for comments?

    What do you expect, she’s a friend of Jackie Boy.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    My wife was born and raised in southern California and is in her early 30s and has never owned a foreign branded car until we decided to restore a long hood 911. Her choices ranged from a Cavalier to a 1st gen Durango, though she will not buy a station wagon or minivan.

  • avatar
    08Suzuki

    Jezebel meets Jalopnik

  • avatar
    beanbear

    One general marketing challenge (not unique to cars) is that women will often still respond to marketing that’s “geared” to men, but not vice versa. The lack of GenY women interest in the Big 3 probably isn’t overly specific to that demo; it’s more symptomatic of broader problems. If you have strong product, and have a authentic/appropriate general marketing message around it, most of your likely-buyer demo’s will follow.

    E.g. – I don’t know how “successful” it was, but last year’s Chrysler T&C “Test of Ownership” ad campaign (http://bit.ly/Isq8zc) stuck with us when we were shopping. Though I *personally* loved these Odyssey ad’s (http://bit.ly/IspQbu), on a product-level, they felt pretty forced.

    Sidenote: Chicago-area folks will likely remember all the early 2000′s-era jokes about “Lincoln Park Trixies”… and that they all drove Jetta’s.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Wow, this article makes me glad my 20s are behind me.

    I used to care about the “boy car” and “girl car” thing, back when I was single and didn’t have the cash to trade used cars around.

    Now, as a happily married grownup with a gkkd sex life, and a dad, I really don’t care about whether a car’s styling is macho or feminine. My favorite DD is our Toyota Sienna, because it’s practical, efficient, and has a power-to-weight ratio that will win a race a lot of classic muscle cars on the track, and a really stiff stabilizer bar – but I rarely use this power because it makes the kid-stuff in the back slide around.

    Wow, I’ve come a long way. And I, when I’m reminded of what my 20s were really like, well, good riddance! Back up the minivan, dear, so I can load up kid stuff!

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Color me jealous! I’ve wanted a Sienna for those reasons plus the incredible ride (similar to my folks’ Avalon) and the fact that it holds more stuff. Loading up the SUV with five ppl and luggage you pretty much have to butter everything.

      Strange how our priorities shift. The S/O, of course, won’t stomach the idea of a van again (after a brief experience with a Kia). That’s anti-marketing, I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        And now you’ve explained why I DON’T want full size, but I do want a pickup; I’ll almost never carry 5 people (any car just about can do that) but occasionally I need to carry out-sized stuff that simply won’t fit in the back of an SUV. A mid-sized or compact pickup with an open bed can carry the wallboard, the plywood, 20-some 8′long event tables, a refrigerator, etc.; you don’t need a full-sized truck for that purpose. And since I don’t carry more than my wife and my dog 99% of the time, I simply don’t need a full-time back seat. I do, however, need the ability to carry some purchases in the cab which simply cannot fit behind the seat of a standard-cab pickup. In all, I know I’m not alone in this, even if I am in a ‘minority’. What’s available? Japanese.

        What? You say an American full-sized truck can do all of that? Hey! didn’t you read where I said I don’t NEED full sized? Nor do I WANT full sized. They’re simply too big for where I live and drive on average. And since the Colorado doesn’t hit the showrooms until probably July or August (or maybe even later) you can’t say it’s available.

        The interesting thing is that my wife is one of those all-American types too; she doesn’t WANT a foreign brand and she loves pickup trucks. She also doesn’t WANT a full-sized truck, though admittedly we have an F-150–a 24-year-old, smaller version that’s still 18 feet long and only barely fits in our available parking. (I have neighbors whose trucks are so big they lap over both the sidewalk and the curb to the point that people have to swing around both front and back of the vehicle as they pass.)

        My point is that not all women want to drive family sedans and not all men want to buy luxo-monsters. You really can’t set a stereotype on any person because they will always find some way to surprise you. It is a stereotype that all women are ‘fashionistas’; a stereotype exaggerated by many of the more recent (and to me non-entertaining) reality shows. I do agree that many people simply don’t have the desire to critique and analyze their purchases, choosing instead to rely on advertising and hearsay to buy clothing, appliances and yes, even cars. I’ve driven everything from some of the smallest street-legal cars to the largest that can never legally run on highways (unless an absolute emergency). I’ve driven 2 wheels to 18 wheels, water and wings. I know what I like, not because of what someone has told me I should like, but because I’ve driven, flown, etc. examples of nearly every type and have made my own decisions over what I buy. Yes, I have brands that I prefer and brands I don’t, but those views have come from personal experience–both good and bad.

        And yes, when I have the need, I will even purchase a brand I absolutely hate–if it meets that need.


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