Whilst I didn’t create Roadscents exclusively for women (there are at least two unisex fragrances in the current lineup of six) I did create them for myself. It stands to reason then that they would have a female bias. With that in mind here are a few of the more salient facts about driving, women and cars. Whilst this is not intended to be a political statement, it’s hard to ignore the paucity of women involved in an industry in which we make 60-80 percent of car buying decisions. And then, of course, there’s our superior driving abilities…..
According to a report from Macquarie Bank, 88.1 million cars and light vehicles were sold worldwide in 2016. The biggest consumer by a country mile was China.
American Express say Britons will spend £108bn on cars this year. An average of £1,492 per car this year will be spent on running costs.
In 2015 the Department for Transport said there were roughly 25.8m cars on England's roads. That’s nearly one car for every two people in England. 74% of all adults aged 17+ in England held a full car driving licence in 2015 - an increase from 48% in the mid 1970s (32 million licence holders). The proportion of males holding a licence has remained at 80% since the mid-1990s. For women it has continued to increase, reaching 68% in 2015.
Whilst women spend a lot of the cold hard cash on vehicle purchase and make the majority of purchasing decisions, very few women are involved in car design and manufacture. Even fewer run the mighty car conglomerates:
Though GM Motors CEO Mary Barra is the highest paid auto executive in the business, very few women are involved in car design and manufacture. Citroen also has a female CEO- Linda Jackson. Only a handful of women have made their names in exterior car design: BMW’s 2009 Z4 was designed by two women: Juliane Blasi and Nadya Amaout and Honda’s 2016 NSX was designed by a female: Michelle Christensen.
A 2016 survey by Catalyst illustrated the problem. In the UK just 16% of those involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi trailers were women, ditto the repair of said vehicles. In the USA although women are almost half of the US labor force, they represent only about one-quarter of the automotive workforce.
At the beginning of their campaign to appeal to more female drivers, the chief executive of 007’s favourite motor, the boss of Aston Martin said this: “As an industry, we’re pretty poor at ticking the boxes that satisfy a woman customer... and we tend to view cars for women as ‘pink it and shrink it’ – add a place to hold your handbag, add a place to put your shoes – which I think is quite cynical.” No kidding.
In a survey by the driving school, Privilege, female drivers outscored males not only in in-car tests, but also when observed anonymously using one of the UK's busiest junctions - Hyde Park Corner.
The Duchess Anne d’Uzès was the first woman to obtain her driver’s certificate in 1898. She was also the first to be fined for speeding. Bet she would have liked Roadscents.