When Buying a Car, Ladies Are Tougher Customers

You know how ladies don't know anything about cars and need a man to help them through even the simplest purchase? Surprise: this is bullshit.

Actually, a study by LeaseTrader found that women tend to ask more questions and order more inspections than men do. The company looked at 2011 out-of-state lease transfers, in which the car is in a different location than the buyer, so he or she may not be able to check it out in person. Women were more likely than men to pay a third party to inspect the car for them when they had to buy sight unseen — 67.2% of them asked for such an inspection, compared to 54.5% of men. The difference was biggest among buyers between 21 and 30 — just 42.3% of twentysomething men asked for inspections, compared with 78.2% of women. Ladies also asked different questions than men did — they were more likely to ask for specifics about the car's safety, history, and functioning, whereas guys were more likely to ask about performance, looks, and technology. Says LeaseTrader CEO Sergio Stiberman, "That our data illustrates a deepening relationship between women and cars comes as no surprise to us given that the gender gap has narrowed and even reversed in some areas since our marketplace opened nearly 15 years ago."

It's a bit of a cliche that guys care about rims and ladies just want airbags, but the data above don't just show soccer moms asking about the safety of their minivans. They also indicate that women, especially younger women, are better at doing due diligence when they have to buy a car from somewhere far away. Maybe women are more cautious car buyers, or maybe their fear of playing into the car-ignorant lady stereotype makes them especially concerned about crossing all their t's. And maybe some dudes feel they have enough automotive expertise to forgo the third-party inspection — but even for a pretty savvy buyer, it's hard to tell what you're getting if you never test-drive or look under the hood. It would be interesting to see a followup study examining how satisfied male and female buyers feel with their cars after they get them. Do women's extra steps actually pay off? It's not yet clear, but given the choice, I know who I'd feel safer riding with.

LeaseTrader [Official Site]

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