Supercar makers are like teenage boys at a high school dance, according to business consultant Belinda Parmar. They don’t have a clue how to speak to women. They may need to learn, and quickly.
With the number of financially independent women on the rise across much of the world, high-performance carmakers risk losing a potentially big market to more adaptable rivals.
“Any woman could drive those cars,” said Sonja Heiniger, the Swiss owner of an Internet services firm who has owned four Lamborghinis and hits the racetrack in a Porsche. “If you only address men, then that’s a pity,” the 76 year-old said as she touched the accelerator in her latest Lamborghini, a US$375,000 Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale special edition car in “rosso mars” red.
In China, one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets, Porsche makes almost 40 percent of its sales to women, helping it to become a key profit engine for parent Volkswagen. Porsche has picked tennis star Maria Sharapova as a brand ambassador and expanded into sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), a category which has proved popular among women. But the high-performance car industry has a long way to go.
It remains dominated by gender stereotypes, with scantily-clad models decorating the stands at car shows. And most brands make little attempt to address women – just look at the number of car adverts in male-orientated magazines such as GQ compared with Marie-Claire and Elle that have a more female readership.
When luxury carmakers have tried to market to women, their attempts have sometimes backfired. An Aston Martin dealership in Britain organized a “Ladies Day,” offering an Estee Lauder make-up lesson after a test drive, a move which some women criticized as patronizing.
As a result, some carmakers appear wary of trying. “It’s like with an engineering degree which attracts more men than women, that’s just how it is,” said Lamborghini Chief Executive Stephan Winkelmann. “Males are more into the car business and the super sportscar is the pinnacle of that business.” He added he would like to see more women buyers, but would not push to attract them in order “to keep the Lamborghini DNA as pure as possible”.
Do you agree?
Source: Channel NewsAsia