By Lorraine Sommerfeld

Portrait of a young attractive business woman.

So a man and a woman walk into a car dealership … nah, there’s no punchline. But it’s likely they will have a different experience.

A discussion I had recently at the Canadian International Auto Show about the role of women in the auto industry shifted around, as it always does, to a version of “What Do Women Really Want?” No matter how you examine it, this is still a heavily male-dominated industry that simultaneously courts women and turns them off. That pushmi-pullyu creature is real; they want our money but still overthink the ways to get it.

You’ve heard that magic statistic, that over 80 percent of car purchases are influenced by women. I’ve used it myself because I believe it. I also believe car purchases are influenced by men, by children, by pets and by cottages. While it’s nice to see the double X so heavily represented, I also hesitate to think that it has really made much of a difference in how cars are made, marketed and maintained for women.

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