When It Comes To Cars, Men Dig Superman, Women Love Clark Kent

April 24, 2012

Here we go again: a new study has revealed the vastly different habits of men and women. The focus this time? Each sex's preference in cars.

The data comes from TrueCar, which crunched numbers on over 8,000,000 vehicle sales in 2011. Among the nuggets TrueCar uncovered:

  • Women prefer smaller, smarter rides -- typically those from foreign automakers -- while men like 'em big and brawny. As TrueCar analyst Kristen Andersson explained: "Female car buyers really gravitated toward smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.... It was the complete opposite for male buyers, who preferred either a fast, sporty vehicle or more heavy-duty vehicle, like a large truck or SUV."
  • Looking at percentages of sales, women showed a distinct love for MINI, accounting for 46.2% of the brand's U.S. purchases in 2011. Four other foreign makes followed : Nissan, Kia, Honda, and Mitsubishi at 45.7%, 45.6%, 45.5%, and 44.9%, respectively.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, men bought the lion's share of exotics and luxury models, accounting for 92.5% of all Ferrari purchases, 83.4% of Bentleys, 82.8% of Maseratis, and 76.5% of Porsches. Among mainstream brands, men heavily outweighed women on GMC (73.5%), Dodge (72%), Ford (68.6%), and Chevrolet (67.8%). 
  • As far as specific models are concerned, women comprised the greatest share of buyers of the Volvo S40 (57.9%), followed by the Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Eos, Volkswagen Beetle, and Hyundai Tucson. Men seriously dug the Porsche 911, accounting for 88.2% of all buys. Next in line: the GMC Sierra, the Ford F-Series, the Chevrolet Corvette, and the Chevrolet Silverado.
  • Interestingly, many rides that have been considered "chick cars" like the Fiat 500 were bought by more men than women. In fact, women accounted for only 41.9% of Fiat sales last year, meaning that 58.1% of all 500s on the road are driven by dudes.
  • Guys also went to town on the revamped Volkswagen Beetle: though women accounted for more total purchases, men made up 45.4% of the model's 2011 sales, up from 39.4% in 2010.


When we look at this data, we're struck by three things:

  • However, while men sign on the dotted line, that's not to say that women don't have influence on purchases. In fact, the same stats cited above indicate that women influence 80% of new-car buys. We have no reason to doubt that -- nor would we.
  • Perhaps most importantly, these statistics show that American men are most invested in Detroit. Which raises questions like: how can the Big Three enhance their appeal among women? And more to the point: can Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors remain viable without capturing more of the female market?

Sound off on that last item -- or any other for that matter -- in the comments below, or drop us an email.

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