Car is… Feminine


donna al volante.. © zibibboo

This year in Italy – in the middle of the worst car market since the 70’s – nearly 600,000 new cars will be personally purchased by Women; and Women will also influence the decision to purchase an additional 250,000 cars, used by Italian families.

Every day on the streets of the “Bel Paese”, millions of women are driving and dealing with the maintenance of their 13,400,000 cars, generating every year – only in the aftersales – more than 6 billion Euro of revenues (7.642.000.000 US$)

A lot of money!

And that’s not all: the 40% of the Italian Women, driving their cars, every year cover more than 20,000 km (13.000 Miles) consuming fuel, tires, spare parts, accessories.

A GIPA survey says that Women – on average – go to the service dept. for a maintenance or a repair twice a year, and every time a Woman is visiting a  dealership for a service, she spends an average of 230 Euro (293 US$).

At the bodyshop the figure rises considerably.

Tabella 1 ENG

Without mentioning that the rate of feminine fidelity towards those dealers/workshops who represent a brand is higher than the… faithless boys.

Yet only 5.7% of the Italian dealers have a Woman as head of service/service manager, and only 16.1% of the authorized workshops is run by a Mrs. or a Miss. It is interesting to know that in these “feminine” structures, the sales, the work and the revenues – even in times of crisis – have a significant improvement over those ruled by men.

Do you know?

Notwithstanding the contents of these data, endless are the testimony of lacking listening: manufacturers and dealers have not changed – in the last 60 years – a “least little hair” in their approach to the female audience and they don’t have been “stay tuned” with this important part of the market.

F1 ENG lunga vintage

The communication is directed almost exclusively to men: both the seductive and also the persuading messages: the pages of the magazines and TV commercials overflow of representations of the female gender provocative and vulgar, and browsing the web the images of Women with automobiles is not edifying, at the turn of the clumsy and the “femme fatale”, if not worse.

Seeing is believing!

F2 ENG nissan

Maybe the persistent booster of basic needs (male) raises the index of turnover, but it also grow the index of unacceptance and disliking (female). But what will be the goal, if the Women purchase the 42% of new car sales and almost half of the used cars + parts + accessories + tires + … ?

Why waste this huge potential business?

Why within the marketing departments of the manufacturers/dealers nothing speaks the language of the Women? Where strategy are developed, where are Women? Inside the communication dept. where are Women?

Although this has been spoken during the event Anticrisi Day: a close-knit team of young Women entrepreneurs and men of good will – using  a survey conducted by Maurizio Sala – have tried to provide answers to these questions, creating a super-workshop dedicated to the difficult relationship between Women and the car in Italy and worldwide.

Many doubts have remained unsolved…

F3 ENG lunga fiat

During the same event, authoritative representatives of the OEMs, car dealers and their associations answering to the question “what will be in the near future for the Italian automotive” they said: “the car without driver”, “new contents on the contract OEM>Dealers”, “stop speaking about crisis on the newspapers: customers are conditioned by bad news”,” bonus, State aids, and  Government grants “, “there are too many indipendent workshops: the competition reduces incomes”.

Choices impeccable, mind you, each one with a valid reason…

Personally – however – I would have inserted in the sample of the responses also Internet Sales (not the dispensation of information via the web), the Customer Satisfaction, and the totally untapped opportunities of the Women market!

Not chimeras, given the importance they have and will have for the survival and renewal of this obsolescent industry!

I think it’s time to really listen to what Women want when they buy or repair a car (… not only!),  because Women earn, influence, decide, spend!

F4 ENG cozzi

Share this:

Recent Posts


  1. Teet Randma says:

    Yes, but what do women want?
    I think by answering this you can get rich in any business.

  2. maurizio sala says:

    @ Teet.

    In my opinion, first of all Women want to be… respected both as Persons and also as consumers!

    Other things are… “nothing but a lot of talk and a badge!”

  3. Ricardo Oliveira says:

    In the World Shopper Conference 2011 we’ve said that focusing on feminine public was not only an opportunity but a differentiation factor, which could help Dealers to build value for Customers instead of destroying margins.

    It’s difficult to understand the logical of specialization in hard times: if we have less Customers why limiting our scope? But specialization means focus on precise Customer needs, which is one of the pillars of a sustainable business. With a positive reputation within that segment, we can attract more and more consumers with the same profile.

    It’s not about pink Dealers! Women tend to prefer “macho” cars… It is about studying feminine needs and expectations and to offer an effective and profitable answer in automotive retail.

    Great article, Maurizio!

  4. maurizio sala says:

    @ Ricardo.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with your opinion, although I’m not sure that women – without generalizing – want to be treated differently or with ‘pink’ processes: this it is another… discrimination!

    Women want to be heard, valued, respected, especially when they spend money. If automotive will not change in its culture… should change attitude at least in order to develop new business!

    I know well that during the World Shopper Conference you and your guests discuss topical issues. Thus, for automotive vs Women in 2011.

    I look forward to hear at this argument also during the 2013 edition!

  5. Mike Clayton says:

    Business is business. Everyone’s money is the same.
    But communicating with women requires the skill to ask lots of questions to make sure you have the whole story (about the car of their dreams, the problem with their current car, their schedule, et al). Men may shop around for cheapest solution, but once a woman finds a dealer or repair shop that listens to her with respect and remembers what she said…she will be back…in my opinion. To them, service is a gift. To a man, its too expensive.
    Good luck changing the dealer culture. And do not assume that women wants another woman to deal with on phone and at the dealer, unless she is the boss.

  6. maurizio sala says:

    @ Mike!

    Thank you for your comment! You’re always… cynical and accurate when you give us your input.

    I agree with you and I hope that many of the “main players” in the automotive will listen to your (and mine) advices!

  7. Ricardo Oliveira says:

    @ maurizio sala:
    Hi Maurizio

    Just some comments…

    I’ve said it is NOT about pink Dealers!
    And in terms of differentiation I was speaking about Dealers. Focus on women allow Dealers to focus on a different public, with different offers.


  8. maurizio sala says:

    @ Ricardo!

    Forgive me… I perfectly know your point of view (and the one of the “shift thinkers” you manage) regarding these topics!

    All starts from the OEMs, but yes (I agree with you) on-the-field, inside the show-rooms the owners and their salesmen should be focused on the needings of ALL the customers entering the dealerships!

    In which way? Questions! Questions! Questions!

  9. maurizio sala says:

    According to a study by the University of Michigan, women now outnumber men on US roads for the first time in the country’s history.

    The study concludes that women are more likely than men to purchase vehicles that are smaller, safer and more fuel efficient!

    Facts and Figures!

    Everything else is… “nothing but a lot of talk and a badge!”

Leave a Comment

Get an alert when there are new comments. Or subscribe without comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More in Car, Customer Satisfaction, Europe, Market, Used Cars
Where shall we go?

Analysis and outlook about the dynamics which will guide the evolution of the automotive industry

Sergio Solero
Interview with Sergio Solero, Sales Director of BMW Italy – 2^nd Part

The second part of the interview with Sergio Solero, Sales Director of BMW Italy

Sergio Solero
Interview with Sergio Solero, Sales Director of BMW Italy – 1^st Part

Interview with Sergio Solero, Sales Director of BMW Italy - 1^st Part