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What cars women pick

June 18, 2010 | 11:37 am

Women prefer to purchase small cars and crossovers, typically from foreign automakers.

That’s the finding of a study of 13 million U.S. vehicle registrations over the last two years by, the Santa Monica auto pricing information company.

Volkswagen's Beetle was the auto most likely to be purchased by a woman. Just over 56% of the buyers registering a new Beetle were women, the study found.  2010-newbeetle-platform-leftfront-large1

But after that, female buyers tended toward small SUVs. The Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4 made up five of the nine vehicles registered by women by a margin of 50% or greater.

The other cars registered to women at least at a 50% rate include VW’s Eos, the Volvo S40 and the Nissan Sentra. Although women make up slightly more than half of the U.S. population, they account for just 36% of new car registrations, according to TrueCar.

Kia was the brand with the highest percentage of female registrations, 45.8%, followed by Suzuki, 44.2% and Mini, 43.9%. Subaru, Hyundai and Volvo also were popular with female buyers, TrueCar said.

TrueCom analyst Jesse Tropak said cultural reasons are probably behind why just nine of hundreds of vehicle models had more female registrants than men.

Consumers find many aspects of negotiating a car purchase distasteful, he said, and the women seem to be doing a good job of foisting the task off on their husbands. That's probably why the population of cars registered to women tend to have a combination of practicality, good fuel efficiency and low price, Tropak said. Most of the nameplates sell in the low $20,000 range, he said, and they are probably going to women in their 20s and 30s who are single or who don't yet have large families.

The study looked at the registration name and did not examine who made the purchase decision or would actually drive the car.

The highest percentage of male registrations leaned toward expensive, exotic brands such as Bugatti, 100%, Ferrari, 94.4% and Lamborghini, 93.5%. When it came to mass-market vehicles, men tended to register trucks and SUVs from GMC, Dodge and Hummer by the highest margins over women.

-- Jerry Hirsch

Photo: 2010 Beetle. Credit: Volkswagen of America