Women Buying More Cars, Favor Imports

Over the past four years, the number of women buying cars has steadily increased as a percentage of total sales, according to R. L. Polk, a consumer marketing firm. Women now make up 38.5% of all new-vehicle registrations, up from 36% in 2006.

So what are women buying? They appear to prefer Toyota and Honda vehicles. Collectively, the two Japanese brands account for more than 1 out of 4 of every car purchase by women, about 29.7%.

Even so, other automotive brands depend more on female shoppers. Nearly half of all Mini car buyers, 47.9%, are women. That’s the most out of any brand.

When you break down women into different ethnic and racial categories, women have even more influence in what Polk calls “Ethnic Communities.” Ethnic women — from African-American, Asian and Hispanic households — now make up 45.4% of sales in those communities compared with ethnic men, up from 40.7% in 2006. In a separate blog post, Polk points out that 49% of Asian-American women, 47.5% of African-American women and 41.6% of Hispanic women make new-car buying decisions.

Overall, ethnic minority groups (men and women) are most loyal to Toyota and Honda, according to Polk.

Below we list the top five brands for female car buyers and the top five brands most dependent on female shoppers:

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% 

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% 

Women Driving Increased Auto Sales (Polk)

By Colin Bird | March 31, 2011 | Comments (12)



Imagine my surprise when it came time to retire her 1992 Towncar and my wife chose a 2008 Jap-built Highlander Limited AWD. But I have to say, the Highlander has been the best and most trouble-free cars we've ever owned in our entire lives. My wife is no dummy. She owns a real estate broker agency and she knows quality. Her choice motivated me to retire my F150 and buy a 2011 Tundra SR5 DC 5.7. Stranger than fiction, this.


Yea. They buy. But then what? They don't drive well anyway.

Matt C

My wife chose our '11 Outback and I look forward to driving it on weekends and despise my F250 during the week. I still miss that Ranger that was replaced.


11 Outback... How exciting...


Yes, '11 Outback is exciting--we got the 4-cylinder, friend who drove it swore it was a 6-cylinder from the power you get with the CVT. Even without using the paddle shifters, which we didn't have to pay extra for. For all that power, we've averaged 27 MPG combined....for a 3600-lb car



Really?! Newer cars are more reliable than older ones?! I'M SHOCKED!!!

Troy S.

I've seen several women at my workplace replace their domestic vehicles with imports. The majority said they were tired of their domestic vehicle's frequent repairs, downtime, poor ride quality and the creaky interiors that were subpar at best. They do however love their Lexus, Honda and Toyotas though! For the record several men have also replaced their domestics with more economical and reliable imports as well.

This proves that people are smarter than Detroit marketing departments IMO.

Matt C

The outback is more about comfort than exciting. But I have no problem getting to speed on the entrance ramps and the off road capability for the family car is neat.


"Yes, '11 Outback is exciting--we got the 4-cylinder, friend who drove it swore it was a 6-cylinder from the power you get with the CVT"

Oh, really? And I thought that that CVT is the main reason why Outback is pretty lame machine, which feels as if you pulled a load on the rubber band.
Yea, it is done for fuel economy. And still, Outback and Legacy are mounting warranty repairs and it is not good time to buy them. 2-Their engines are leaky and expensive to repair (2 cylinder heads, tight bay...) 3- Their engines are doomed from beginning because of the faulty configuration.
oh, well. Women...


Dan, you gotta understand we never owned a foreign car until she bought that 2008 Highlander. All the while I was the one who did the tooling and wrenching on our cars to keep them running. The folks at Autozone know me by my first name and loved to see me show up at the store to buy parts for my Fords and GM cars and trucks over the years. Our first experience ever with Toyota, her Highlander and now my Tundra, and our experiences are excellent! Can't say that about ANY of the domestic cars I have owned over the 64 years I've been alive.


On average women tend to be more highly educated than men. That's why they buy Japanese over the likes of GM and Chrysler. Poorly educated, low-wage earners like Tony buy GM.


I have to disappoint you. If you mean Tony - me...

Mace , your judgments are totally off. You said 3 things about me and all 3 are totally off the target.

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