THAT age-old discussion about whether men are better drivers than women or vice versa has taken a new turn, this time about which gender makes the better buyer.
Like the ‘who makes the better driver' discussion, ‘who makes the better buyer' will be another topic to be thrashed out over dinner tables and in pubs.
Unlike the former topic, though, the latter one can have, if not a definitive answer, a partial solution when it comes to fronting up to the dealership to buy the new wheels.
Surveys from the United States suggest women make 62 per cent of new car purchases and are strong influencers in almost 80 per cent of car-buying decisions.
That old saying that suggests: ‘Behind every great man is a great woman' could actually be amended to: ‘behind every man telling the salesperson which car he is buying is a woman who already made the choice for him'.
So what are the differences between male and female buyers?
In July, British company My Car Check surveyed almost 550 customers (355 men and 190 women), the results revealing some interesting differences between the sexes. For example, when asked the most important attributes of a new car, the majority of women nominated its price and fuel economy while the bulk of male drivers went with price, looks and style.
When asked to nominate the least pleasant part of the buying experience, the women chose the physical inspection of the vehicle while for the men it was the discomfort of price negotiation.
On the subject of driving ability, almost 48 per cent of the female respondents and close to 61 per cent of the men described themselves as ‘good'. The identical result came from the women when asked if they were competent yet only 36 per cent of the men described themselves in that way.
And the most disliked of all possible driving situations? Surprisingly, the percentage splits were almost identical with close to 30 per cent of both groups nominating one-way streets and roundabouts coming a close second.
Roger Powell, Head of My Car Check, said that price is always the most important consideration for the majority of buyers with people setting a budget then seeing what they can get for their money.
It was here, he said, that clear differences in attitude could be seen along gender lines.
"Women are most concerned with fuel efficiency [which is] a significant ongoing cost of ownership while men are more concerned with image, the ‘what will my mates think?' factor," he said.
"On the scariest aspect of car buying, again, there was a clear difference according to gender. Women worried most about inspecting the vehicle while men worried most about the price negotiation.
"The fact is the average buyer, male or female, won't buy a car very often and won't have great technical knowledge. In those circumstances the sums involved can make the process stressful and with good reason.
Mr Powell said the responses to the question on driving ability reveal some classic male bravado. Women are happy to be described as ‘competent', as having the necessary ability, but men think ‘good' sounds much better.
"The final question on driving situations unites the sexes. All drivers get stressed out by one way systems and roundabouts!" the My Car Check boss said.
The answer? It could well be a ‘one for all and all for one' situation with couples teaming on the initial decision-making process and for the buying experience, him doing the physical checks and her negotiating the final price.
As for the one-way streets and roundabouts, they can support each other while carefully driving through them.
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