What do women want when they purchase cars? Are car companies giving them the satisfaction they deserve as the decision-makers in about 60 percent of car purchase decisions? Are men losing out to their partners’ choices when car purchase time rolls around?

Woman: ‘Ford Focus.’

Man: ‘Ferrari.’

Woman: ‘New Beetle.’

Man: ‘Porsche 911.’

Women and men look for different qualities in cars. Sure, everyone wants fuel efficiency and safety. What else do women want in a car and how is it different from men? The dialogue above is a perfect illustration.

Women want economic value, safety and a decent size for their families. Men want fast, loud, and a status badge. These different values have been uncovered by market research companies like Mintel, 20-first and by nationwide car retailers that can track purchase by gender.

Price and getting as good a deal as possible is the most important factor for many consumers when buying a car, either new or used. This is more important to female buyers, as are the cost of [car insurance] and its safety standards. Men have more interest than women in the car’s build quality and its speed/power.’

Consumer research company Mintel

Men may prefer fast and loud, but are they getting what they want? Research would suggest not. According to the business consulting firm 20-first, 60 per cent of women are solely responsible for or have significant influence on the purchase of a household vehicle.

Let’s look at the top-selling cars across the UK in 2012:

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Vauxhall Corsa
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Vauxhall Astra
  5. Volkswagen Golf
  6. Nissan Qashqai
  7. BMW 3 Series
  8. Volkswagen Polo
  9. Mercedes C-Class
  10. BMW 1 Series

The top six cars look an awful lot like cars that meet women’s stated requirements in a household vehicle:

  • Good value for money
  • Strong safety reviews, leading to lower car insurance premiums
  • The proper size for the family – note Nissan’s crossover utility vehicle Qashqai in the middle of the list

We do see some more ‘status’ badges toward the bottom of this top 10 list, including the Mercedes C Class and the BMW 1 Series. But, that’s just it – they are toward the bottom of the list. If we remember that this list reflects the top 10 car purchases across the U.K. by both men and women, then we might infer that women are picking and choosing on the showroom.

One online automobile dealer that tracks purchases by gender released this list of top purchases by women thus far in 2013:

  1. Audi Q5
  2. Kia Sportage
  3. Skoda Yeti
  4. Volkswagen Golf
  5. Ford Fiesta

The Yeti is another utility vehicle, joining the Nissan Qashqai as a top pick for women with lots of children to haul around. If you too are looking for a good value, safe family car, this article has some good tips and you can get a competitive insurance quote here.

Interestingly, these preferences for safety and efficiency linger even among women who don’t need to concern themselves with silly little details like price and how many kids fit in it.

  • Actor Helen Flanagan of Coronation Street drives a Mini.
  • Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has been spotted behind the wheel of a Mercedes SL.
  • Loose Women presenter Coleen Nolan also owns a Mini.
  • And, we must always remember Queen Elizabeth II and her Range Rover. The Middleton ladies follow suit, with Pippa and mom Carole sporting Land Rovers.

This is not to say that the ladies do not like a bit of flash in their vehicles, as well. Supermodel Kate Moss sits pretty behind the wheel of a vintage MG Midget MK III. Elle Macpherson opts for vintage also, illustrated by her prized Aston Martin DB5 Volante. And on the more modern side of opulent we have Big Brother star Chantelle Houghton and her Audi II Roadster – though perhaps Chantelle might consider switching to a family-sized vehicle, as she was spotted in 2007 trying to cram a Christmas tree into her sports car!