The Auto World Is Now A Women’s World

Guest writer and advocate for ‘girl power’, LILY, reports on the latest data confirming that the auto world is now a female dominion!

According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellent’s (ASE) report from the US, women these days are not only becoming more influential in decision-making when purchasing a car, they are also taking over the responsibility of car maintenance and repair, which used to be the task of men. Data from the repair industry indicates that close to 80% of their customers are women.

According to ASE, there are a few reasons why women’s presence have increased in car showrooms and the after-sales service area:

The percentage of women drivers has increased while male drivers has decreased. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, more than 50% of American driving licences belong to women. In 1963, men made up 60% of drivers and they drove more on the road, hence, they made up 76% of drivers on the road, but now this number has dropped to 59%. Comparing the average distance driven in the 1960s and present day, it is a whopping 89% increase for women and 33% increase for men. While we are talking about this, let’s not forget that the male population in the States is now slightly smaller than the female’s (the United Nation Department of Economy and Social Affairs Population Division reports that the ratio of male to female is 97 to 100).

Women today are increasing influential in making car-purchasing decisions; according to a Ford Marketing Report, women influence 80% of all car purchases. My personal opinion is that the quality and way of life have changed so much since 50 years ago – women are much more educated and exposed to the ways of the world, which enhances their cognitive ability to make decisions. As for female homemakers, they are always on the look-out for extracurricular activities for their kids, hence, they “chauffeur” their kids daily to different after-school classes.

According to a research (Ortner, 1974), there was an assumption that women were subordinate to men, therefore men made most of the decisions, including buying a car. However, latest research found that the husband and wife dynamic has changed in terms of decision-making. Modern couples would tend to discuss before purchasing any big ticket items, including cars, regardless of who is the higher income earner. Generally, there is less male chauvinism going around today; I can testify to this by comparing my grandfather and father, and their peers, with the men of today, even though this is an inadequate representation of the entire male population. Still, my compliments to present day men.

So, women is a much bigger influence in car-purchasing decisions, but the number of women involved in this industry is still very low even though it has increased. According to the US Department of Labour, the number of female technicians grew 22% from 9,000 in 1994 to 11,000 in 1996, while the number of male technicians grew by only 3%.

I presume that technicians would prefer to serve male customers because females tend to ask more questions and are more detailed, to the extent of looking under the hood and checking the parts themselves; this is according to Diane Hohman, an automotive aftermarket consultant in Herndon VA. Increasing female technicians in the field may help to create a better environment for the female customers. However, I do not think that there has to be an active campaign to encourage more women to join the industry. Let the free market find its own equilibrium, just like how women slowly emerged as decision-makers in purchasing cars.


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