Why more women are driving trucks
My friend Angie loves her Chevy S10 truck which she calls Tess. “Nothing beats a nice truck with a big block in it that purrs down the road and on a trail,” she once told me with her big winning smile. It got me thinking about so many other women I have seen driving trucks. How did it start?
If you want to know why more women are driving trucks, it would be instructive to go back and take a look at how General Motors marketed to women in a big way about SUVs. It all started when Michael A. Browner, Executive director, media and marketing operations of General Motors, spoke at the Advertising Women of New York Automotive Luncheon Tuesday, April 2, 2002.
The luncheon, held at the New York Hilton, played to GM’s strategy of marketing to women in the hope of regaining market shares lost in the past decade. According to a study done by Money magazine, GM saw its domestic market share drop from 35 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 2000. In a well-crafted speech Browner made the case for why women, whom he said influence 85% of all Vehicle purchases, should by GM products.
Michael A. Browner made the following points:
- § General Motors will include more women in management, and as designers and dealership owners.
- § General Motors is addressing the issues of safety, security, and convenience that women have said are a priority to them.
- § General Motors will avoid the demeaning attempts of the 1950s and “will listen to women right at the start of the product development process. Cars with garish pink jobs and make-up kits in the glove box are as dead as the ideas that produced them,” he told the gathering.
GM followed up by making SUVs that appealed to women. “Our trio of SUVs the ‘GM360s’-the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada-is particularly appealing to women because of their commanding ride height, their comfort and their convenience,” said Browner.
That said, further investigation indicates that GM had already began to reach out to women buyers long before Browner gave his speech. On October 10, 2001, Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC General Manager, addressed a women’s business group and said, “GM leads the automotive industry in share of the women’s market, and we are committed to extending our leadership through integrated consumer marketing and sales efforts.”
Women like my friend Angie want more. “Trucks are great to have. They have a higher clearance then most cars and SUVs. They can haul more and they can pull more,” she loves to tell me. “Yeah they may cost more on gas, and when you break something it cost a little more to fix it. When you hit a deer, they may end up as road hamburger, but your truck is still running and barely hurt.”