Honda  /  Wieck
No women have registered a new Acura NSX in the United States this year, but few people buy the car to begin with, reports. In the first four months of 2005, Acura sold 81 NSX models in the U.S.
updated 5/24/2005 2:51:26 PM ET 2005-05-24T18:51:26

We knew something wasn't right with the 2003 movie “2 Fast 2 Furious.” Specifically, we could not believe the angry, muscular ex-convict played by Tyrese Gibson would not only tolerate — but want to drive — a purple Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder.

This was way too cute and girly of a car to be a male protagonist's ride of choice in a film about illegal street racing in cutting-edge Japanese vehicles. Now, based on data generated by Kelley Blue Book last week, we can quantify the Eclipse's femininity: the Eclipse Spyder convertible has the highest percentage of female registrants of any car on the market. The hardtop Eclipse coupe has the fourth highest.

Registration data does not necessarily tell us who is driving the cars — parents put their kids' cars in their names; husbands put their wives' cars in their names and vice-versa — but it is the closest we can come to understanding gender demographics in new-car purchasing.

The cars in the slide show are extremely telling. They indicate that, for the most part, women buy cars that are affordable, practical and safe, and with a dash of design flair — as evidenced by such models as the Eclipse and Toyota Motor's RAV4 sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Men, on the other hand, appear to love luxurious, high-performance cars. The average horsepower (hp) of a car on our list of the five most popular vehicles with men is 367; with women, it's 172.*

And while men are willing to buy feminine cars, women don't go for the testosterone-fueled sports and luxury cars with the same enthusiasm. With the most popular car for women, the Eclipse Spyder, 34.2 percent of its registrants this year have been men — indicating that the kind of affordable sportiness the car provides cuts across gender lines. Most people like a bargain, after all.

But with the most extremely masculine vehicles out there, women don't seem to be interested. No women have registered for one of Honda Motor's Acura NSX sports cars this year. And with DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG performance sedan, only 1.8 percent of its registrants this year have been women.

The idea that you can sell a woman's car to a man, but you can't sell a man's car to a woman is true not only on the level of individual models, but also for brands in general. The brand that has had the highest percentage of female registrants so far this year, General Motors' Pontiac subsidiary, still sells cars to a buying populace that is 47% male. DaimlerChrysler's Dodge subsidiary, with its trademark aggressive styling and a lineup that includes such macho cars as the Ram pickup and Viper SRT-10 convertible, has the highest percentage of male registrants — and only 14.8 percent of people who have registered a Dodge this year have been women.

* Some models have multiple horsepower figure based on different engine and transmission combinations. In calculating average horsepower, we accounted for all potential horsepower figures for each car on the lists.

© 2012


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