Luxury Automakers Wary Around Growing Female Consumer Base
Those dealing in luxury vehicles and high-performance exotics may need to improve their relations with women soon, as more women seek such wares.
While less than 10 percent of Lamborghini and Ferrari owners in the United States are women, and Porsche only boasts 25 percent, female consumers in emerging markets like China are flexing their wealth with the automakers’ models in significant numbers, Reuters reports. The overall female consumer base is expanding, as well, fueled by increasing wealth as more and more women enter into greater positions of power.
However, marketing leaves a lot to be desired, especially as some automakers are wary of appealing to the new consumer base. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann explains:
It’s like with an engineering degree which attracts more men than women, that’s just how it is. Males are more into the car business and the super sportscar is the pinnacle of that business.
On the other side, automotive consultant Belinda Parmar says high-end and exotic manufacturers should consider women drivers when designing vehicles. Her work with Aston Martin on its planned crossover is slated to have a higher sitting position and smaller steering wheel, allowing those wearing skirts to enter and exit without having to worry about feeling “silly” about the matter.
It was a woman who was behind the wheel of the Porsche Cayenne GTS sitting in front of me as I waited to enter the roundabout in affluent West Bloomfield, Michigan. I was taking my mother to a medical appointment. I said "behind the wheel", and "sitting", because she certainly wasn't driving. As traffic cleared, she sat, and then sat some more, even though there wasn't anyone in the roundabout. Finally, when there wasn't anyone even approaching the roundabout, she pulled forward. A Cayenne GTS has, if I'm not mistaken, all of the go-fast parts you can get on a Cayenne, including the turbo engine. It so happens that I was driving another high performance crossover, an Audi SQ5. It was a very impressive car but it left me wondering what the point of a high performance crossover was. After we navigated the roundabout I happened to follow the lady till she pulled into a parking lot where there were some retail stores. That's when I realized the purpose of a high performance crossover. It's so hubby can have fun driving it when he's driving around the family on weekends. She gets the status of a premium branded family car and he gets to press the S button.
I see a large amount of women driving high end cars in LA on a daily basis, especially Porsche. Sunday I had the pleasure of driving next to quite a good looking girl winding out a black Ferrari 458 enthusiastically on Sunset.
Do the sport car manufactures need to make sport cars more women friendly? Really? As that BMW executive said once, the sport car is now dead. And, with a very few exceptions, it's dead for good. The days when Enzo Ferrari would refuse to sell you a car if he didn't think that you understood his cars and wanted to buy it solely because you could afford it, forcing Ferruccio Lamborghini go and make his own sport car and starting the super car chapter history are all but gone. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, or a good one, but those days when real car enthusiasts would make cars for car enthusiasts are all but gone. Today's sport cars in general are nothing more that super powerful luxury badges and as such they are being designed with metrosexuals (curios or not) and women (trophy wives included) in mind. Again, nothing particularly wrong with this. It all comes to economics. With the added bonus to the manufactures of the strict regulations taking cars to the self-driving realm so they are not seen entirely as Dr. Faust. The exotic car industry has done everything but alienating woman and metros. Enzo Ferrari initially even refused to use the Ferrari badge in the Dino, hence the Dino brand had to be created. What do you think Enzo and his generation of sport car makers would had thought if you had told them that the day would come when you would only be able to buy a (new) Ferrari with an automatic transmission, traction control and electric steering? Whether for the economics or politically correctness or in the name of a protective regulation to protect you from your self, the pony has been castrated and is being bought by women and metrosexuals like never before. Here is to you Enzo, wherever you are: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PJY-k1n9Yw
It's always interesting to me how some people seem to have not gotten the memo that being a sexist jerk is no longer acceptable. How about this? 1) Make cars that appeal to people. 2) Sell as many of those cars to as many of those people as possible. 3) Profit.