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Cars for Ladies?

Pink convertible
Photo: iStock

While researching another post a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a story about the FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid Canna, the first cube van designed specifically for women, which premiered at the Toyko Motor Show last year.

According to the article, "Their aim was to design a truck that would make the commercial vehicles industry look attractive as a place of employment for women."

What makes the truck special so that it's appealing to women? Well, it's pink and covered in polka dots.

The funny thing is that the truck is also 30 percent more fuel efficient than the previous version of the base truck - and fuel efficiency is actually one of the top considerations of women buyers - but no one's talking about that. Instead, the focus is on the cuteness and "comfort" of the white leather interior. Sigh.

Down the "cars for ladies" rabbit hole, I also found the salmon pink coloured 2012 Honda Fit "She's". The "She's" comes in colours to match your eyeshadow. The air conditioned system is specially designed to keep your complexion dewy and the windshield offers more than usual UV protection, to help lady drivers avoid wrinkles. Handy! Sadly for us in North America, the She's is only available in Japan.

The history of marketing cars specifically to women is fraught with disaster, the most famous being the 1955 Dodge LaFemme.

Photo: Wikipedia

Not only did the LaFemme come in "lady colours" like pink, but it also came loaded with accessories for ladies which, frankly, sound EPIC:

"1955 La Femme interiors were upholstered in a special tapestry material featuring pink rosebuds on a pale silver-pink background and pale pink vinyl trim. The La Femme came with a keystone-shaped, pink calfskin purse that coordinated with the interior of the car. The purse could be stowed in a compartment in the back of the passenger seat.[…]

Each purse was outfitted with a coordinated set of accessories inside, which included a face-powder compact, lipstick case, cigarette case, comb, cigarette lighter and change purse, all made of either faux-tortoiseshell plastic and gold-tone metal, or pink calfskin and gold-tone metal.{…] On the back of the drivers seat was a compartment that contained a raincoat, rain bonnet and umbrella, all made from a vinyl patterned to match the rosebud interior fabric."

I love matching accessories as much as the next person, but a raincoat that matches my car is taking it a bit far.

With more and more women being the sole decision maker in car purchases these days, it's no surprise that some car manufacturers want to market their wares to women. But in the end, of course, all drivers want the same thing - a reliable, safe, fuel efficient and preferably good-looking car. And while there's nothing wrong with liking pink, most women are actually interested in the whole package, not just the exterior.

Fortunately, thanks to great car review sites like Vroom Girls, there's a wealth of information out there for all drivers and no one is stuck choosing their car based solely on "feminine appeal".

Ladies, over to you. What do you look for in a vehicle? Cuteness? Fuel economy? Practicality? Colour? All of the above? Let us know in the comments.

- Rose R.


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love my fuel efficent M3 but you can't beat the ride of a Charger - so fun to drive!

Ekta Bibra

Hmm... I wonder whether these marketing teams even know what women like. It seems if it's supposed to be feminine, then everything is supposed to be covered in as much pink as possible!

For me, it's good mileage and fuel efficiency. Then it would be safety.

Alexandra LeMay

Who is designing these pink, polka dot cars? Are they doing ANY market research? I find the focus on making cars "girly" positively Draconian. I want a reliable, fuel efficient, and economical car with few frills and lots of substance.

Sandra YYC

I want leather, responsive handling and sexy lines. Oh, and a good stereo system so I can belt out the tunes but don't have to hear myself!
Of course, safe, fuel efficient and reliable go without saying.
Could we also get some training for the service department folks? I maintain my own vehicle and don't appreciate being patronized. I grew up at the dealership, I know my way around.

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