Women in India and around the globe are making their mark in every facet of life. In the past decade or more, there has been an impressive rise in the number of women drivers. Traditionally looked at as a symbol of masculinity, car driving is no longer a task limited to men. taxi service companies too are looking to employ women and create jobs for them in the commercial transport space. The demand for cars is ever rising in the Indian market and car manufacturers are doing their best to come up with women-friendly cars. The category is now emerging as one of the driving forces in the Indian automobile sector.
There has been a two-fold increase in the percentage of female car buyers in India in the past five years. As against the common notion that women only prefer small cars, female car buyers in India also look for SUVs such as the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and other mid-to-high range cars. Auto manufacturers recognise the umpteen possibilities present in the category and are increasingly adding features that their female customers look for while buying cars. Features like rear parking cameras, navigation options, and clutch-lever transmission are now available in small cars as well.
Women car buyers have a more rational approach when it comes to buying a car. Cars with clutchless system and auto gear shift are more popular amongst the female buyers. While compact cars are in great demand, large cars too are in demand as a large number of women look for more space to travel with their family members and friends. They also pay a great deal of attention to design, colour, safety features, and performance of the vehicle.
As per the findings of the 2017 Women’s Automotive Buyer Study, Nissan, Honda, and Volkswagen are among the car brands most favoured by the Indian women. On the basis of a survey in which 3,945 female car owners participated from across 28 cities in the country, it was revealed that Volkswagen is preferred the most in terms of brand image, Nissan leads in after-sales service, and Honda scores high on product and cost ownership.
In the past, when a woman used to drive, the car driven by her was registered in the name of her father or husband due to the lack of financial credentials to apply for a loan. The scenario has completely changed today as women in India are becoming financially independent. The number of women buying cars using car loans has increased significantly in the last five years. Banks and financial institutions too are doing their part in encouraging women by offering car loans at cheaper rates.
As per the data provided by Maruti, about 41% of its female customers are under the age of 35 years. Most women car buyers come from nuclear families in metro cities where both the partners are working, and need a personal and comfortable mode of commute to travel to office and back home.
For car makers, the rise in the number of women car buyers opens up a lot of possibilities in the automobile segment. They must tap the opportunities by bringing cutting-edge innovation in the way they develop newer car models and make them friendlier for use by women.
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