For the automotive industry to sell more than 12 million vehicles this year, women have to visit dealerships and buy cars. According to CNW Marketing Research Inc., there is a direct correlation between the number of women visiting dealerships and how many cars are sold.
"Women can make or break this year’s auto sales," CNW said in its latest report. "Without their strong return to market, 11.7 million units is a likely result for 2010. If women come back to market in a pattern similar to the first quarter, the industry could easily add another 800,000 to 950,000 units of volume."
CNW’s data shows that there was a sharp drop in the number of women visiting dealership showrooms from 2006 through 2009. At the high point in 2006, about 45 percent of all new-car showroom floor traffic was women. By 2009, that number dropped to 32 percent. In the first few months of 2010, however, women’s share of floor traffic jumped to more than 40 percent and was still climbing toward the end of March.
"Because women drop out of the new car market faster than sales slide, they are critically important to a recovery," CNW said.
Another point of good news for the industry is that women who are actually buying vehicles are spending more. Women who purchased cars in the first quarter of 2010 are spending more than they did in 2007 through 2009. Their average monthly payment is up from $280 to more than $300. CNW reports that this indicates a willingness to take on slightly higher debt and move up a notch or two in the kind of vehicle they purchase.