Gender gap narrowing in car preferences

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Car, man, woman

A new study shows a slight narrowing in the gap between male and female automobile preferences. Image: Tobyotter/Flickr/CC BY

TrueCar, the popular new car pricing site, just released its 2011 study of the gender differences among new car buyers. The study found that, as always, men go for faster and flashier cars, whereas women prefer imports, economy and practicality. However, it also found some relaxing of gender biases.

Narrowing gaps between sexes

While the study — culled from the records of more than 9 million retail vehicle purchases made in 2011 — showed that men still buy cars far more often than women, it also found that the lines between male and female preferences are not quite as crisp as they once were.

Jesse Toprak, the Vice President of Market Intelligence at, said:

“While gender preferences amongst the buyers of various automotive brands still exist, the gap is narrowing. The SUV and truck heavy mix of the domestic automakers continue to generate a disproportionate number of male customers, while the exotic brands remain to be the best medicine for a midlife crisis.”

Women favor small imports — mostly

Sixteen of the top 20 brands among women for 2011 were imports.

The car make with the highest percentage of women buyers was the MINI, purchased by females 46.2 percent of the time. The next most popular brands among women buyers were Nissan, Kia, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lexus, Suzuki, Subaru and Hyundai.

There were 14 brands that were bought by women more than 40 percent of the time.

Kristen Andersson, Senior Analyst at TrueCar, said:

“Female car buyers really gravitated toward smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers. It was the complete opposite for male buyers, who preferred either a fast and sporty vehicle with distinctive curb appeal or a big vehicle, like a large truck or SUV.”

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Men favor exotic and luxury models — mostly

Thirteen of the top 20 brands among men for 2011 were exotic or luxury makes.

Men bought almost all of the Ferraris sold in the U.S. —  92.5 percent — and the numbers were not much lower for Bentley and Maserati. Following, in descending order, were Porsche, Jaguar, GMC, Dodge, Land Rover, Ford and Chevrolet.

However, in 2010 there were six exotic or luxury brands with less than 10 percent of sales made to women. In 2011, only Ferrari met that condition.

Study lists brands with current discounts

The study also lists the current discount percentage for each model, compared with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.


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