Frugal Shopper: Women Prefer Practical, Frugal Cars, Men Don’t?

June 11, 2010
2010 Nissan Rogue

2010 Nissan Rogue

2010 Volvo S40

2010 Volvo S40

When it comes time to purchase a car, men look for bold design statements, sexy sheetmetal, and scorching performance while women—well, women want something practical, economical, and safe, right?

You’d think times would have changed, but it appears not. The pricing intelligence firm TrueCar recently crunched the data—looking at vehicle registrations rather than the purchaser information, to eliminate the idea of household decision-making, and the survey says that women overwhelmingly prefer practical cars and small cars.

Kia ranked highest for female registrations, with nearly 46 percent of female vehicle registrations. Suzuki and MINI both ranked around 44 percent. TrueCar says that safety and value ranked high for all ten of the ten brands with a female ratio over 42 percent, which included Volvo, Subaru, and Hyundai.

Price and value seemed especially important, judging from those top ten brands. Other than for MINI and Subaru, all of these most popular brands with women had a discount of between five and ten percent off MSRP. In tenth place with women, Mitsubishi vehicles were discounted 10.1 percent from MSRP, on average, while 41.5 percent of them were registered to women.

No single brand has more female buyers than male buyers.

Exotic cars and exclusive ultraluxury brands are almost exclusively registered by men. TrueCar found that zero percent of Bugattis were bought by women, while Ferrari, Lamborghini, Tesla, and Aston Martin followed—all with less than ten percent. Specialty sports-car maker Lotus ranked just after these brands, with only ten percent purchased by women.

On a make-model basis, several truck models from GMC, Dodge, and Hummer also ranked near the top among vehicles that were mostly purchased by men.

2010 Hyundai Tucson

2010 Hyundai Tucson

2010 Volkswagen Eos

2010 Volkswagen Eos

Also looking at individual models, a considerable number had female registrations over 50 percent—though there’s no comparison with the manly models. The model with the highest level, the Volkswagen New Beetle, has more than 56 percent female registrations. It’s followed by the Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Eos, and Volvo S40. There's definitely more of a story here as three of these models can be convertibles.

Among models popular with women, most were significantly discounted; three models on the top-ten list by model—the Nissan Rogue, the Volvo S40, and the Nissan Sentra—were discounted more than ten percent.

TrueCar’s study figures more than 13 million vehicle registrations over the past two years. Average vehicle discounts were calculated using the firm’s database of millions of vehicle sales transactions.

Why the do we have such gender differences in vehicles, and why does the frugal side appeal more to women? There’s definitely more than the mom factor here, and the answers are deeper than a blog post can adequately cover. Take a look below at the top ten brands registered to women, and let us know what you think.

Make

 

% of Female Registration

% Discount off MSRP

KIA

 

45.8%

8.3%

SUZUKI

 

44.2%

9.5%

MINI

 

43.9%

3.1%

SUBARU

 

43.2%

4.0%

NISSAN

 

43.1%

9.6%

HYUNDAI

 

43.0%

8.3%

HONDA

 

42.8%

7.8%

VOLVO

 

42.4%

8.2%

LEXUS

 

42.3%

7.2%

MITSUBISHI

 

41.5%

10.1%

[TrueCar]

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