Women in the Driver’s Seat

Women are the dominant decision-makers in the car-buying process, yet auto makers still aren’t doing enough to cater to their needs, a new study finds.

The study, from professional services firm Frost & Sullivan, finds that there are now more women than men on the road in the United States, and that women are the biggest influencers in most car-buying decisions.

However, the vast majority of women surveyed (74%) feel that car manufacturers fail to understand their needs. Auto makers simply aren’t offering enough of the features that women say they want in a vehicle.

These desired features include high visibility around the vehicle, “green credibility” and low CO2 emissions. Women drivers also seek intuitive controls, wellness features, high quality materials, auto assist functions (e.g. park assist and sensorial doors) and options for personalization (e.g. special pedals for long heels).

While automakers realize that women are dominating the decision-making process when buying, they are still somewhat more focused on attributes that appeal more to men. This may be changing, however.

Frost and Sullivan projects that women will comprise around 25% of the workforce at auto-maker and auto-supplier OEMs by 2020. Fifteen to 20 percent of these employees will work at the management level.

With more women in the decision-making mix at automakers, we’re sure to see more attention being paid to the features and qualities that women value in cars.


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