Automotive Blog

Women driving increased auto sales

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)

About The Author

Marc 'Bland' is a walking-contradiction of his name since he is indeed a lively and interesting individual. He has a sixth sense when it comes to seeing opportunities where others cannot and making things happen. Marc currently serves as Polk's Head of Diversity & Inclusion. He enjoys the people he works with both inside and outside of the company. When he's not being passionate about his customers' needs, he enjoys fishing, classic cars and home improvement projects. Marc's inspiration in life has been his own hard-working parents as well as his wife and four children – three girls and one boy. Another addition to his family is a 5 lb., 18 inch African Bullfrog named "Puff Daddy" that he enjoys feeding. Someday Marc would love to promote national jazz concerts and fix and flip homes.

During his 10+ years at Polk, Marc has worked in several capacities as a Systems Engineer in the Information Technology group, a Project Manager in Product Development/Quality, a Solutions Consultant in Sales, Manager of the Analytical Solutions team and most recently in a dual role of Product Strategist and Multicultural Marketing Lead. Marc's broad knowledge across the Polk organization, combined with his brief but exciting international automotive assignments in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Thailand and Singapore, have provided him with invaluable insight and perspective on all things automotive. He lives by the motto, "Learn, Apply & Share" and enjoys contributing to Polk's blog.