Female car ownership up 21% in 10 years

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Female car ownership is at a record high, according to new figures revealed by the motor industry on Monday.

Some 11.8 million women were registered keepers of vehicles in the UK at the end of last year, which was 21 per cent higher than in 2007, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trader said.

That means that female car ownership has risen twice as fast as male ownership, despite women having previously said they feel the motor industry often under-represents and alienates them, ranging from vehicle advertising to buying in dealerships.

Female car ownership is at a record high, according to new stats revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Female car ownership is at a record high, according to new stats revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Female car ownership is at a record high, according to new stats revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

With 34.7 million cars on the UK’s roads, more than a third are owned by women, the SMMT’s figures revealed.

Male vehicle owners were up 10 per cent over the same period.

The SMMT’s new study also highlighted other facets of information regarding how vehicle ownership is diversifying in this country.

It found that more drivers are buying cars with automatic gearboxes than before – rising 71 per cent between 2007 and 2017 – a wider selection of brands and models being bought than before.

Smaller models continue to make up the bulk of the UK’s vehicles, however the 90 per cent rise in SUV purchased in 2017 compared to 2007 show a clear shift being made to multi-purpose models.

This upswing in women buying cars comes in spite of indications that the automotive sector continues to overlook the female audience. 

A study of 1,200 Daily Mail readers last year found that when a couple made a decision about purchasing a new car, in nine out of ten cases women were jointly or solely responsible for choosing the model they bought.

But despite being influential in buying decisions, less than a third of women said they thought car advertising was aimed at them and spoke to them as customers.

In contrast, 46 per cent of the men surveyed believed that existing car ads succeeded in communicating a message to them.

The female members of the panel said they generally felt more misrepresented by the auto industry than men did – and even the male respondents agreed that manufacturer content and campaigns were targeted at them more than the opposite sex.

Similar issues filter into the buying process itself.  

The survey said women were more likely, on average, to find a dealership experience daunting – just 22 per cent of women said they felt confident about going to buy a new car compared to 42 per cent of men.

A recent Daily Mail study found women felt they were being overlooked by car advertising

A recent Daily Mail study found women felt they were being overlooked by car advertising

A recent Daily Mail study found women felt they were being overlooked by car advertising

Women tend to find motor adverts less useful, less representative and less appealing than men

Women tend to find motor adverts less useful, less representative and less appealing than men

Women tend to find motor adverts less useful, less representative and less appealing than men

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the new Motorparc analysis should be used by car makers and dealers to ‘help them adapt to changing consumer behaviour in the future’, suggesting showrooms should start shifting their attention to better cater for a female audience. 

He added: ‘Consumers are enjoying greater freedom and mobility than ever before, which along with greater reliability and improved fuel efficiency, make owning a car a more attractive and affordable option for millions of people. 

‘With every new model launched, more motorists are benefitting from more advanced technology. From innovative safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive speed control, to state-of-the-art infotainment and comfort features, including heads-up navigation, heated seats and air-con, in-car WiFi and greater connectivity.’

Britain’s car ownership facts 

Some 11.8 million of the 34.7 million UK cars on our roads are owned by women, the stats show

Some 11.8 million of the 34.7 million UK cars on our roads are owned by women, the stats show

Some 11.8 million of the 34.7 million UK cars on our roads are owned by women, the stats show

• In 2017 the UK’s most popular cars were the Ford Fiesta (1.5m), followed by the Ford Focus (1.4m) and Vauxhall Corsa (1.2m). This compares with a top three in 2007 of the Ford Fiesta (1.3m), followed by the Vauxhall Astra (1.2m) and Vauxhall Corsa (1.1m).

• Some top-selling cars from the eighties are still going strong on the roads today, including 2,089 Ford Sierras, 506 Vauxhall Cavaliers and 228 Austin Maestros.

• Birmingham has the most pure electric and plug-in cars in the country – 8.7 per cent of the national total.

• There are just 582 cars on the Isles of Scilly.

• Worcester has more British-built cars on the roads than anywhere else, while Bridgend has the fewest.

• Milton Keynes is home to the greatest number of specialist sports cars, including brands such as Aston Martin and McLaren.

• Looking at unusual colours, Leicester has the highest amount of pink cars in the country.

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