India has an ever so rising number of women drivers. And what’s more incredible is with increasing number of women in corporate, the percentage of women buying luxury cars is also on an all time high. Today around 14% per cent Indian women are luxury car buyers. It may be a small number but undoubtedly rising. Europe has the highest percentage with about 25-30% women buying luxury cars. Mercendez, a luxury brand in cars, cites that in just last two years women buyers have gone from zero to 12-14 per cent in India.
“Much of the spike in sales of Mercedes Benz SUVs is courtesy women buyers -they find SUVs practical, comfortable and safe… their functionality appeals to women,” Roland Folger, MD and CEO of Mercedez Benz India told Economic Times.
With the growing women drivers of luxury cars, even the brands are ready to tweak their vehicles according to what the women want. Now more focus is on providing enhanced level of safety, more storage area and improved comfortability that appeals to women. In the year 2015, luxury car brands saw an 8 per cent increase in women buyers as currently more and more women are becoming aware of their money-making abilities.
Audi makers claim that their Q series of SUVs is especially popular with women from metropolitan cities. “Of late, we’ve seen increased participation by women in events like sports-car experience and Q drives. The Audi Q range of SUVs has been a favourite with women,” says Audi India head Joe King to Economic Times.
Owner of an Audi Q5, Shilpa Wadhwani, who is a digital and events entrepreneur, feels that she has a fun time driving her car and more thrilling when she drives out of Mumbai.
Now talking about sport cars, even Aston Martin has some time back come up with a sports car especially keeping women in mind. They designed their DBX model in such a way that women more than men find it comfortable, safe and more spacious. This is their technique to get more women buyers as not they have realised a new demographic for their cars.
“As an industry, we’re pretty poor at ticking the boxes that satisfy a woman customer…and we tend to view cars for women as ‘pink it and shrink it’—add a place to hold your handbag, add a place to put your shoes—which I think is quite cynical,” cites CEO of Aston Martin, Andrew Palmer in an interview with Financial Times.
While women who have driven the usual Ford, Chevrolet or Lexus get their hands on a luxury car, then they realise its worth.
“I don’t know how it happened, but I ended up driving a Porsche Cayenne one day as a loaner and absolutely loved it,” said Jody Verson, who turned into a Porsche Cayenne driver from a Lexus driver, from Illinois in America to CNBC. “It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t believe it. Never would have believed it and said, okay, gotta have one.”
From sitting at the back-seat or probably the side-seat, women now drive their own cars. Not just that, they also have a very important role to play in the decision-making while buying a car. While the female buyers in the luxury car sector might be a smaller percentage, but the brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Maruti etc have a huge number of women buyers and drivers.
Picture credit- Car Cabin