Why is Women's Car Ownership on the Surge in India?
Indian women not driving cars is a thing of the past. The surge in the number of women car owners is phenomenal in recent times. Industry experts claim that around 10%-12% of sales in India’s 2.96 million car market are accounted for by women today. With an increasing number of women becoming financially independent, car sales to women have nearly doubled over the past five years.
At Maruti Suzuki, the number of women buyers has jumped to 12% in a span of five years. At Hyundai Motors, there has been a jump of 4x from the base year of 2014. The share of women in the luxury car market is growing at the pace of 15% to 20% in an otherwise declining market.
Also, it has been noticed that most of the female car buyers are relatively young and are below the age of 35 years.
What are the top reasons for an increase in women car owners in India?
1. Self-employed and Financial independency
A lot of women view driving their vehicle as a liberating exercise. Driven by education, work, higher spending power, and changing lifestyles, women are taking to the wheel at a rapid pace accounting for the increased number of female car owners.
2. Safer option
Travelling from one place to another has become a lot safer with the increased availability of personal transport such as cars. They are less risky than motorbikes and scooters and public transportation options such as buses and metros. A woman feels that her safety concerns are better addressed while using her four-wheeler and her family feels no different.
3. Practical and easy-to-drive cars
The auto gear shift and clutchless models have been a huge success amongst women. The automobile industry also panders to women-specific needs such as park assist mirrors, good lighting for petrol and easy access, integrated systems for mobile and entertainment, especially for mothers, etc, making their cars an indispensable part of their lives.
4. Availability of women-specific car loans and insurance policies
There are specially designed car schemes for women borrowers offered by banks and other financial institutions. They are even given concessional interest rates and unique benefits for having availed the loan.
In fact, a statistical analysis of the trends indicates that nearly 2/3rd of the female car owners purchase the car through a loan. Even the insurance industry has kept apace and policies have been specifically designed to cater to the needs of female car owners.
This inclusion of women in all walks of life is a heartening change, and their increased participation on the roads signals good news – corrosion of a patriarchal mindset and the women as equal members of the society.
All efforts must be made to ensure that this momentum is not broken and only enhanced to percolate into other spheres of public and private life.