Research reveals which gender has more influence in car-buying

May 12, 2014 12:00 AM

Buying a car is a big decision. Since it's such a major investment, this purchase requires a number of considerations, from size and safety features to vehicle maintenance requirements and cost. While in most families, it's likely that both adults get some say in the matter, there's typically one person who's calling the shots when it comes down to picking a vehicle. So the question is: Does the male or female usually get the ultimate say?

The gender divide
According to an Auto Index Poll by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, there's a bit of a disconnect - both genders seem to think they are the sole decision-maker when it comes to car buying. In fact, a whopping 72 percent of men seemed to think they have more say, while 60 percent of women think they have more influence in the selection process. However, the survey respondents did seem to agree on which aspects they had the upper hand on. For example, nearly half of women and 85 percent of men reported that guys have more influence in regard to engine and powertrain matters. Still, both sexes seemed to think they were calling the shots when it came to choosing the actual car model. 

Despite these differing opinions, the AAM revealed some statistics that provide deeper insight into the matter. The source reported that according to an NBCUniversal survey, women have a major say in an overwhelming 85 percent of all vehicle purchases. In fact, women are responsible for 60 percent of all vehicle sales, spending $80 billion on automobiles every year. 

Moms come out on top
Just in time for mother's day, a new study by C+R Research delved into the same question. Once again, female respondents asserted that they had a significant influence in the process of picking a car, with nearly three-quarters of moms saying they are the sole decision-maker.

"There's a lot for moms to consider when purchasing a new family vehicle, because their car is often tasked with hauling not only the entire family or carpool, but also all of the gear that goes along with them," explained Jennifer Newman, Expert Mom.

Jack Simmons, Manager of Dealer Training at, noted that more than 60 percent of the moms who participated in the survey reported that they trust what they read online about cars more than the information that dealers give them. In fact, 71 percent of respondents said that doing research and shopping online for an automobile simplifies the buying process. Still, a notable 68 percent would rather negotiate with a dealer face to face. If women have as much weight as these studies suggest, it would clearly be advantageous for dealers to hone in on their customer service efforts when moms are on the lot. 

"It's important for dealers to remember that moms have done the same amount of research, if not more, than any other customer before stepping onto the lot, and they're confident in their ability to navigate the car buying process," said Simmons. "The good news is that moms are very loyal customers, and a great first impression can make a fan for life."

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