Automakers have a long and checkered past when it comes to attempting to market cars specifically to woman buyers. Stabs at attracting the female sex have ranged from the subtly sexist notion that woman are really only shopping on behalf of their children's needs, to out-and-out condescension of lipstick-colored paint jobs and interior-matching frocks. (For one such clunker, take a look at the ill-conceived Dodge La Femme, above.)

Slate writer Libby Copeland has put together an interesting piece that attempts to answer the question, "Why does the auto industry get women so wrong?" You may or may not take issue with that premise to begin with, but it's hard to argue with the evidence that auto companies, at the very least, seem to make wild swings of strategy on a regular basis.

In the Slate piece, we get a good sense of the history of for-women car marketing, as well as some reality based information about why and how women and men shop for cars differently. It's a compelling read, check it out.


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  • 99 Comments
      ilmhmtu
      • 1 Year Ago
      The automakers get it wrong because they try to design a car for women. Sorry, but women are not all not the same. Maybe a 17 year old would actually like a flashy paint job, but a business woman may not. A mom who works may not want the same vehicle as a stay at home mom. Are their kids toddlers or teenagers? Also, the whole shopping, cargo room assumption is incredibly offensive. Any time you tell a woman, "Okay I made this car especially for you. It comes in pink, can seat 6, and have plenty of room for your Macy's shopping spree," women will generally get offended. Rightly so. This is no different from automakers trying to push vehicles onto younger adults (Scion comes to mind). No one likes to be pigeon holed.
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      I see women drive all kinds of vehicles there taste varies as much as men. Mustangs, 500s, German cars, minivans, SUVs, compact cars, Scion's etc....hell I see one girl everyday on my commute with a Mazda RX8 with various pink fairy stickers on the back. A lady at my job loves her Ford Ranger.
      Buckus Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      One word: Thundercougarfalconbird
        Nick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Buckus Comments
        Also, there are some eagles under the floorboards.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh, this is just rich with irony. This is what would happen if this were to happen real life- Brand X comes out with a vehicle 'for women'. They advertise said vehicle as being designed and built 'for women'. It's marketed towards women. Feminist women get all bent out of shape, sue the company, company pulls advertising, the vehicle is a sales flop. Yeah, why aren't makers tripping over one another to do this???
      Echelon Bob
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Maybe it’s time for car companies to wake up and smell the coffee." Hmm... That's the most concrete thing she suggests? Gee, that's very insightful! Pretty disappointing article - waste of time reading.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Women like Crossovers a lot.
      Generic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why do they still assume women want a "different" car? I've seem women driving STI's, Cobra's, etc. Just build great cars and stop trying to cater to something that doesn't really exist anymore.
      deus ex wagon
      • 1 Year Ago
      We men have been trying to figure out women's brains for millenia with little success, with much more incentive than selling a few cars. Clearly, effective marketing will require women's help from the engineering to the ad campaign. If you want it to get any better, buy your little girl some Hot Wheels and Legos, teach her how to change her oil, and tell her she can be an engineer.
      Eric M
      • 1 Year Ago
      What they really want is a Carhartt Edition Chrysler
      Dane Grant
      • 1 Year Ago
      On the flip side... Without sounding like a sexiest.... It took a group women to create the Pontiac Aztec and a female marketing guru to change the name of the Volkswagen Golf to Rabbit a few years ago....
        DK
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dane Grant
        I still like the Rabbit name. Meh
      SpikedLemon
      • 1 Year Ago
      My wife loves the small SUVs; I'd argue Nissan got it right for my wife with the Rogue.
        michigan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        The Rogue and the Infiniti EX are also women's cars
      tom.tommarello
      • 1 Year Ago
      Did VW fail with the new Beetle?
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