Traditionally, driving has been regarded as a masculine activity. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good female driver, but that’s just the way things have been. It seems, however, that the tide may be turning. A study done by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute suggests that for the first time in history, there are more licensed female drivers than male drivers in the United States.
While the explanation for this may simply be that there are currently more women than men making up the population of the US, the matter of the fact is we could very well see some changes in the automotive world, especially marketing, to reflect this new trend.
The US is currently the 2nd-largest automotive market in the world, having only recently been thrown out of 1st place by China. As a result, a lot of money is poured into making cars sell in the market. This is often achieved through advertising, but of more interest to us is when automakers design their cars to cater to the market. For instance, when Ford brought the Fiesta over to the US, they created a sedan version just for the market. So when you have a majority of female drivers in your 2nd-largest market, what do you do as an automaker? Cater to the women, of course.
So what kind of cars may we see if this trend continues? “Women are more likely than men to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient cars,” said Michael Sivak, a professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. If you look at the present-day market, you’ll already see a shift towards such cars, and it seems that it will continue that way.
Advertising, however, will also be affected. The automotive industry is among the biggest marketing spenders in the world. They’ll shell out millions of dollars for a Superbowl spot every year, for example. But if women are now the dominant drivers, the advertising will have to shift accordingly. Sure, women watch the Superbowl, but it’s dominantly a male event. Now we might begin to see more collaboration with fashion companies, for instance, which tend to interest females much more. Whatever it may be, it’s almost certain that the automotive world is going to see some big changes in the not-too-distant future.