The car and the boat: who chooses and who decides


I take a cue from Elena Alberti’s interview, CFO of Penske Europe, in particular the paragraph where is dealt with the subject of decision maker in the car purchasing. Alberti declares that notwithstanding the 42% of purchasing is, in fact, made by women, it is still the family man who makes choices.

To support the thesis, she tells also her own story, indeed she chooses color and model of the car but she puts the technical aspects into the hands of her husband.

It comes natural at this point a comparison with the world of sailing, historically masculine as well as the automotive.

The boat, maybe more than the car, is (was) technical- sailing or motor does not matter- seaworthiness, maneuverability. Designers, shipyards and specialized press traditionally turned to a male customer, even if the use was marked by the cruise with the family.

It was so.

Today it is almost the opposite: designers, shipyards and specialized press have really “changed course”.

The product has been heavily modified in order to meet the taste and needs of women, or at least the family.

The interiors of the cruise boats within a few years have had an evolution, or better a conceptual revolution, from boats have become mini-apartments or more exactly replicas of apartments.

Sofas and small armchairs are modeled more and more on those at home, big screen TV and the furniture design accentuate the feeling of being in your living room.
Spaces that before were absolutely accessories or service, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, have become the most important and most publicized ones, the subject of maniacal attention by designers and shipyards.

Often on series boats, even of small dimensions, are given the opportunity to choose even the layout of the kitchen, changing the entire structure of the interior. There is no boat over nine meters that hasn’t the double kitchen sink with hot and cold water…. In addition of course to an oven, refrigerator with a freezer etc.
The kitchen top is no longer just a work plan, it must be in high quality material, pleasant to the eye as the home kitchen one. The catalogs devote more space to the interior with photographic services as a decor magazine.

The specialized press continues to be purchased by man (or view on new media), but it winks heavily to a female audience.
At the Boat Show and at the dealer, couples are the real customers. Never, or almost never, the boat purchase is made without a female participation.

Personally, in the last few years, I don’t remember to have sold a boat without a female involvement in the purchasing process, except for some boats intended for charter.
I have no doubt about the fact that, today, in boating the decision makers in the purchase process is no longer the man, or at least not alone.
About the car, mechanisms and costs are different, there are different uses, in many cases in the family and in a couple each one has “his” own car with different characteristics….
And even here, in my opinion, the role of the male decision maker is under discussion.

Or maybe it is just the concept of decision-makers to be obsolete. But here we enter a sociological analysis.

Translated by Federica Izzo

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