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Women driving increased auto sales

23 March 2011 Marc Bland

We all know automakers are spending millions of dollars annually in marketing that are targeted specifically to women. So is it really paying off? Are women actually buying more light passenger vehicles as a percentage of the total? What's the real story?

I did some research and found according to Polk's actual registration records which cover every state in the U.S., some 38.5% of all new light vehicle registrations are registered to women. That's a huge 2.5 percentage point increase compared to 2006. Even more impressive is the increased vehicle purchase share from women residing in African American, Asian and Hispanic households versus men of the same ethnic backgrounds. Ethnic women have increased their vehicle purchase share 4.7 percentage points, moving from 40.7% in 2006 to 45.4% in 2010. This growth is nearly double the rate of women overall.

Women's Share of Auto Purchases

So which brands are the most successful in reaching out to women as auto consumers? As you can see from the first table below, Toyota and Honda have the edge on other automakers.

Top Five Brands based on Passenger Vehicle Sales to Women
Brand / Share of Women Market

  • Toyota 15.7% (Represents 15.7 of every 100 sales to women is a Toyota)
  • Honda 14.0%
  • Ford 10.0%
  • Chevrolet 8.9%
  • Nissan 8.8%

Looking at it from a different angle, look at the huge appeal Mini has to female buyers. Nearly half of all Mini's sold are registered to women. Other automakers are following close behind.

Top Five Brands based on Women's Share of Brand Sales

  • Mini 47.9% (Represents 47.9 of every 100 Minis sold are registered to women)
  • KIA 46.8%
  • Honda 46.0%
  • Nissan 45.5%
  • Subaru 45.0%

I hope the information above adds a much deserved spotlight on women vehicle buyers. These are my findings and I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on the growing women auto market. Stay tuned-my next blog will look deeper into the ethnic women consumers to identify where the growth is coming from.

Posted by Marc Bland, Product Strategist and Multicultural Marketing Lead, Polk (03.23.2011)



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