Some stereotypes are true. Men like V8s. Women like I4s. According to the third annual demographic study by TrueCar.com on the car buying habits of the sexes, men continue to fixate on size while women care about efficiency and price.
The No. 1 brand for women – the brand with the highest percentage of female buyers – was Mini at 46.2 percent. Nissan was No. 2 with 45.7 percent and Kia third with 45.6 percent.
Men, as expected, dominated the exotic brands with Ferrari sales being fueled by the most testosterone – 92.5 percent of buyers being male. Bentley was the No. 2 brand with 83.4 percent of its buyers being male and Maserati having 82.8 percent male buyers.
"The price point for many of the cars and crossovers women buyers wanted started at or below $25,000, while men tended to spend more money for their vehicles," said Kristen Andersson, TrueCar.com senior analyst in a news release. Furthermore, women focused on smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles while men gravitated toward fast exotic cars, big pickups or SUVs.
Indeed. The No. 1 car purchased by the highest majority of men was the Porsche 911. The car with the highest percentage of women buyers was the Volvo S40, with 57.9 percent of the customers buying it being female.
"Safety is also something that women seem to have a higher priority," Andersson said.
Twelve out of the top 20 brands that the most men turned to were luxury or exotic brands.
However, according to the numbers, unlike the Mars and Venus stereotypes, it's men who enjoy being pampered when it comes to luxury vehicles, which Andersson attributed to more buying power for men.
Twelve out of the top 20 brands that the most men turned to were luxury or exotic brands. The remaining brands included SUV or full-size truck brands such as Land Rover, GMC and Ford.
"The SUV and truck heavy mix of the domestic automakers continue to generate a disproportionate number of male customers," said Jesse Toprak, vice president of Market Intelligence at TrueCar.com in their news release, "while the exotic brands remain to be the best medicine for a midlife crisis."
Not for women, apparently, as they opted for reliable import brands over domestics, with 16 of their top 20 brands coming from overseas. (Really, that number is 17 of 20, as Fiat was considered a domestic brand for the study, placing 12th.)
For one car in particular, the study comes as good news. The new Beetle, introduced in 2011, underwent a dramatic overhaul to toughen up its image in attempt to appeal to more masculine buyers. It appears the redesign has worked.
In 2010, 39.4 percent of Beetle buyers were men, no doubt secure in their masculinity, dash mounted flower vase and the fact that the Beetle was the car with the highest percentage of female buyers in America. In 2011, with the vase removed, the roof flattened and general aggressiveness added from bumper to bumper, the Beetle lost the top female spot and 45.4 percent of Beetle buyers were men.
Men Prefer Flashy or Brawny Vehicles; Women Prefer Import Brands and Smaller Vehicles According to TrueCar.com Study
Volkswagen Beetle No Longer Holds Top Spot Among Women New Car Buyers;
Porsche 911 Still Has The Highest Percentage of Male New Car Buyers
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (April 23, 2012) – TrueCar.com, the authoritative voice in new car pricing and industry trend information, has released its third annual demographic study based on car-buying behavior in 2011, examining gender differences in auto buying. TrueCar.com's study was based on over nine million retail purchases in 2011.
"While gender preferences amongst the buyers of various automotive brands still exists, the gap is narrowing," said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Market Intelligence at TrueCar.com. "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."
Some of the key findings of the TrueCar.com study include:
- The brand with the highest percentage of retail sales to females in 2011 continues to be MINI (46.2 percent), followed by Nissan (45.7 percent), and Kia (45.6 percent) compared to 2010 when MINI (47.9 percent) came in first, followed by Kia and Honda respectively (46.8 percent and 46.0 percent). There were fourteen brands with a female ratio over 40 percent in 2011 and newcomer FIAT landed at 41.9 percent
- Males continue to be the majority of exotic new car buyers but in 2011, there was only one exotic brand with 10 percent or less retail sales to women, Ferrari (7.5 percent), compared to 2010 when there were six brands.
- Sixteen of the top 20 brands in 2011 with the highest percentage of female buyers were import brands, while domestic brand FIAT landed at 12. Chrysler, Buick and Jeep bottomed out the list at 18-20. Only three luxury brands made the top 20, with Lexus (44.2 percent) being the only luxury brand over 40 percent.
- Thirteen of the top 20 brands in 2011 with the highest percentage of male buyers were either exotic or luxury brands. When including luxury brands, nine of the top 20 were domestic. GMC and Dodge brands both had over 70 new car male buyers in 2011.
- The new Volkswagen Beetle, introduced in 2011, had a higher percentage of male buyers in 2011, with 45.4 percent of buyers being male. In 2010, the Volkswagen New Beetle had only 39.4 percent of male buyers.
"Female car buyers really gravitated toward smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers," said Kristen Andersson, Senior Analyst at TrueCar.com. "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."