The Friday Rant: Women Don’t Buy Cars

I realized something from watching car commercials: Women don’t buy cars. I mean, I guess they don’t, because a lot of car commercials sure don’t seem aimed at women.

For example, look at the commercials for the Fiat Arbath. First was this amazingly stupid commercial with a supermodel hunched over in a parking space. This geek walks out of the coffee shop and gawks at her. I mean, who wouldn’t gawk at a supermodel hunched over awkwardly in a parking space? She storms over, yelling in Italian (I guess) and smacks him. Then she inexplicably starts talking all lovey at him. I guess it was lovey; since it was Italian, she could have been saying, “I hate zee Fiat Arbath. It is zee ugliest bug of a car I’ve ever seen. I especially hate zee stupid, sexist commercials.” The geek isn’t mad, though. No, he decides to forgive the unmerited smack and closes his eyes for a kiss. And then he opens his eyes and the model is gone, replaced by an equally awkward looking car hunched in the parking space. Damn, that’s an ugly car. Since I don’t want to kiss snotty Italian supermodels who smack me, and the car is ugly, and I don’t know anything about features or safety or reliability or whether you can fit a carseat in the back, the commercial did nothing for me.

Fiat also has a commercial featuring Charlie Sheen pulling a car into a mansion’s front door and being cheered by a harem of sluts.  Again, sluts, a jerk, and an ugly car. This is not enticing me to buy.

Then there’s the Kia Ultima commerical. The first time I saw this commerical was during the Superbowl, and it was actually kind of cute. The sandman approaches a bed and gently blows fairy dust on the wife’s face. She has a dream in which a romance-novel coverboy rides up a beautiful beach on a white horse and gives her a ride. The sandman blows fairy dust in the husband’s face. At first, it’s just a little dust, and the husband starts dreaming about driving a Kia Ultima on a race track. Some supermodel is waving the start flag. Again with the supermodels. Advertisers: Men know they won’t get to sleep with a supermodel if they buy your car. Sheesh. Anyway, then the sandman trips and dumps a bag-full of fairy dust on the husband. The “Mr. Sandman” soundtrack disappears, replaced by Motley Crue, who cheer the husband on — why they would think this guy is cool is beyond me. The husband races past grandstands full of women in bikinis.

But here’s the cute-ish part: He blows right past the sluts, off the racetrack, and into the wife’s dream, there to claim her back from romance-coverboy and his white horse.

The problem is, I haven’t seen that part of the commercial since. All you see is the sluts and Motley Crue part. Apparently they realized — oh, the embarrassment! the wasted advertising dollars! — that women just don’t buy cars, so they abandoned that part of the commercial so they could focus their sales pitch on the people who do buy cars — all men.

The only fly in the ointment? The statistics. 

— Women purchase 52% of all new cars (Woman Motorist, 2000; Road and Travel, 2004).

— Women influence new-car buying decisions 85% of the time and display 95% of the vetoing power against a car (Woman Motorist, 2000; Road and Travel, 2004).

— Women spend $83 billion annually on new cars. (Road and Travel, 2004).

— Women value safety (77.8%) over men (65.3%) (Edmunds.com, 2005). (Stats courtesy of www.theautochannel.com)

Parexcellencemagazine.com says, “In certain segments, especially compact cars and midsize cars, women make up nearly half of all buyers. Women also account for at least half of all sales at Volvo, Honda and Toyota, and for about half of all sales of the newly redesigned Ford Mustang.” These figures are for woment buying cars all by their lonesome, folks. It doesn’t includes women like me, who tell their husbands the family is damn well not buying a Corvette.

Now, full disclosure, my husband works for an American car company, but doesn’t it seem that the domestic auto commercials are a little less sexist? Maybe the foreign companies think all American men are cavemen and all American women shrinking violets. Well, boys, read the statistics and weep, because you are losing a lot of sales with those attitudes and those ads.

So come on, car companies, let’s have some decent commercials that actually tell me why I should buy your product, not this sexist, juvenile crap you’re spending millions of dollars on now. I’ve got money! Come and get it!

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About alisaacarter

I am a writer of young adult novels, wife, mom of three, lover of animals, former magazine editor, reader of anything paranormal, and coffee fanatic.
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