LOADING ...

Aston Martin Thinks It Knows 'What Women Want'

Alanis King Jun 25, 2019. 23 comments

Generalizations about women in the car world aren’t limited to the back corners of Reddit or the comment threads, often absent of any actual female voices, about how women are “naturally inclined” not to like cars while men are the opposite, or the usual annoying stereotypes and gender-based assumptions about knowledge levels in “male” industries. The generalizations often stretch far past that, like a recent set from our friends at Aston Martin.

Women are behind the SUV boom, Aston Martin’s global marketing chief told Australian outlet Motoring. And, after the brand conducted “comprehensive research” around its new DBX SUV, it has an idea of what to give those women. Here’s the Motoring except, emphasis ours, because it’s easier that way:

Even though men might be drawn to an off-road toughie like a Jeep or LandCruiser, Aston’s global marketing boss Simon Sproule says there are plenty of reasons why women prefer an SUV.

[Women] want to feel safe, they want to be protected, they want to be able to see ahead. The SUV class of cars have attributes that correlate more strongly with what women want,” Sproule told carsales.com.au.

“SUVs are attractive to both sexes but there is a closer correlation between what women look for in a car and an SUV or crossover type of vehicle. [...]”

Sproule then talks about how the new wave of crossovers has “softened the extremes of truck-based SUVs,” which is apparently good for attracting this “female” market everyone’s talking about. That’s important, he told the outlet, because 80 percent of global car sales are decided by women:

“It logically follows that their vehicle preferences will have a substantial impact on the market,” said Sproule.

“The industry knows it and they just have to get over it.”

Aston didn’t set out to make a “car for women,” he said. But for some reason, generalizations about what women like were a lot of what was discussed. From Motoring, again, emphasis ours:

Aston Martin is taking the DBX program so seriously it even created a female avatar, codenamed ‘Charlotte’, as a reference for decisions on the car. Sproule said that included everything from the body design to the interior fit-out and a softer type of drive.

“We used Charlotte as a proxy for this segment but it did not lead us to create a car for women but rather a car that would fulfill the needs of customers like Charlotte,” he said.

“Our primary objective was to create another beautiful looking Aston Martin that had the attributes needed to be successful in the luxury market, regardless of gender. [...]”

Perhaps Sproule got into the preference data in this interview, but if he did, it didn’t make the story. The topics he hit were discussed in a way that lumps women together, to the point that there was a “female avatar” (?) to represent women used in the decision process in making the car, rather than saying “[x] percent of women wanted this or this, so we leaned toward it in the design.”

Generalizations like these—that men like “off-road toughies” while women like soft vehicles, that women want to feel “protected,” and the idea that a “female avatar” can guide decisions geared toward an entire population of women—are bad, and they only help sustain old, tired gender stereotypes in a community full of old, tired gender stereotypes. The pages of the New York Times aren’t full of people talking about how sexy or curvaceous cars are anymore, but industry wide, it still happens. Generalizations about already-generalized people are the last thing anyone needs.

The automotive industry, after all, reminds us that it’s by men, for men. Men drive the cars in commercials while women, if there are any, sit idly by in the passenger seat. The same goes for manufacturer-provided car photos for news stories, shaping our idea of who belongs where in a vehicle.

There’s also the idea that all women are the same and should be considered as such, even on a national sporting stage , or that women need their own, lesser category to race cars in . Even David Coulthard, now a higher-up at the new, all-female W Series development championship, believes that women will always struggle to compete in Formula One because of “mothering DNA. ” It’s science!

There are even ongoing practices and institutions in car racing that perpetuate the idea that women are meant to look pretty while men compete, supported by the men in the leadership positions . (These things listed, mind you, are all in a cisgender framework, which is bad in itself.)

All of this falls under the same blanket: Women being told what they like, what they should be doing, and where they belong. That has roots in viewing women as the same, not as individuals, and the generalizations spread into stereotypes that no one—especially not women, in this case—benefits from.

So, please, stop telling women, and anyone else who happens to be listening, what women want. They can tell you themselves, and save everyone a whole lot of headaches in the process.

23 Comments

Other Alanis King's posts

F1 Will Stream This Weekend's Mexican Grand Prix Coverage For Free On Twitch, But Not In The U.S. F1 Will Stream This Weekend's Mexican Grand Prix Coverage For Free On Twitch, But Not In The U.S.

Formula One has been progressively getting with the times lately, including its own streaming service , and the apparent next step in that process is to put race coverage up on Twitch. F1 will do that for this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, streaming all of the coverage for free in six different countries.But don’t get too excited until you...

The 'Residents Vs. Big Business' War Over The F1 Miami Grand Prix Is Well Underway The 'Residents Vs. Big Business' War Over The F1 Miami Grand Prix Is Well Underway

Just last week, it was announced that the Formula One Miami Grand Prix we all doubted would happen may indeed happen by virtue of a purpose-built track at the Miami Dolphins’ NFL stadium. But even that’s iffy, and the stadium is now petitioning against residents who are petitioning against its tentative F1 race.An email account made for the tentative...

Who’s Happy And Who’s Not In The GM-UAW Tentative Deal Who’s Happy And Who’s Not In The GM-UAW Tentative Deal

The Morning Shift All your daily car news in one convenient place. Isn't your time more important?Prev NextView All More General Motors contract news, future emissions regulations in the U.S., Nissan’s plans for the future, Volkswagen’s bet on the electric ID.3, and Faraday Future is still a thing and still raising money to stay one. All of this and...

Porsche Wants To Get In On The Mobility Movement Porsche Wants To Get In On The Mobility Movement

Porsche is probably the last company you’d synonymize with “mobility,” since it said itself that the “Porsche sports car will be one of the last automobiles with a steering wheel” even after the world goes autonomous. But hey, everybody is a mobility company now , or wants to be—even Porsche. It’s the hot new thing.If you asked your dog...

Suggested posts

Saudi Women's Driving School Documents The Lives Of The Kingdom's First Female Drivers Saudi Women's Driving School Documents The Lives Of The Kingdom's First Female Drivers

It’s rare that we have enough foresight to determine which moments in time will prove to be historical turning points for societal change. But when the kingdom of Saudi Arabia allowed women to begin driving in June of 2018, just about everyone could tell that it would be a moment that redefined mobility in the Middle Eastern country. And...

GM's 'BT1' Program Might Include Electric Hummers, Trucks, Cadillac SUVs: Report GM's 'BT1' Program Might Include Electric Hummers, Trucks, Cadillac SUVs: Report

Truck Yeah The trucks are good!Prev Next View All The defunct-but-hardly-forgotten General Motors brand Hummer getting resurrected for electric SUVs is an idea that’s been kicked around before . But today, a new report from Reuters lays out some specifics of how EV trucks could be a big part of GM’s future, and the name “Hummer” is pinballing around...

'Not To Be Sexist, But': What It's Like Being A Woman Who Works In Automotive Journalism 'Not To Be Sexist, But': What It's Like Being A Woman Who Works In Automotive Journalism

PodcastsOur good and nice words, straight to your ear-holes.  At Jalopnik, we often talk about how  women get treated  differently or are represented less in the car and motorsports industries—things that have long catered (and often still do ) to the man’s man. But in 2019, more and more women are involved in it than ever, to say nothing of...

These Are Some Good Cars Getting Auctioned Off Next Month In Abu Dhabi These Are Some Good Cars Getting Auctioned Off Next Month In Abu Dhabi

Pagani Zonda Roadster. Aston Martin One-77. Jaguar XJ220. Jaguar XJ200 race car. These cars and more are all going to be offered at auction and you ought to know about them.Look, am I going to buy any of these cars? No. No I will not. I can’t street-park them in front of my apartment. Also they’re likely going to...

I'm Taking My Budget Overland SUV On A 1,000-Mile Mexican Road Trip I'm Taking My Budget Overland SUV On A 1,000-Mile Mexican Road Trip

Truck YeahThe trucks are good!  Long, meandering adventures are the real reason I like cars. Baja Mexico in particular, in all its rugged and remote glory, has been a favorite stomping ground of mine. A year ago, a big crash sidelined me from such things. Now, I’m increasingly back in the saddle, so I want to get off the grid...

I Love The Range Rover Hybrid But It Just Can't Get Over Itself I Love The Range Rover Hybrid But It Just Can't Get Over Itself

Jalopnik ReviewsAll of our test drives in one convenient place.  My relationship with the 2019 Range Rover HSE P400e plug-in hybrid was a brief and tumultuous affair. At first, this SUV was everything. I was completely enamored with its ergonomics and smooth acceleration. But over a few days and some miles, we had our tiffs. There were tantrums. I finally realized...

Dozens Of Supercars Seized From African Dictator's Son Sold For Millions At Auction Dozens Of Supercars Seized From African Dictator's Son Sold For Millions At Auction

The pick of the litter, for my money (I have no money), is a Koenigsegg One:1, which went for $4.6 million and which Koenigsegg was previously extremely mad online about . But there are just so many, including a McLaren P1 ($1.2 million), a Lamborghini Veneno ($8.3 million), an Aston Martin One-77 ($1.5 million), a Ferrari Enzo ($3.1 million),...

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Is Too Small The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Is Too Small

Recently, I pulled up to a hotel after a long, regrettable four-hour drive across the barren and highway-ridden land that is much of the state of Texas. Out front sat a slate-gray SUV, appropriately positioned for photos from passersby as soon as they noticed the emblem up front and confirmed its authenticity on Google.“Is that...?” I asked myself, squinting...

Domestic Brands Charge A Hefty Premium For Advanced Safety Features Domestic Brands Charge A Hefty Premium For Advanced Safety Features

Now that the American automakers have, for the most part, ceded the small car market to the import brands, you would think they would try to field competitive offerings in the crossover/SUV segment. However, when it comes to what most car buyers are really looking for in a family car, the domestic brands do not seem to be reading...

At $39,979, Is There Any Disadvantage To Buying This 2001 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage? At $39,979, Is There Any Disadvantage To Buying This 2001 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  The DB7 was given to Aston Martin by then-parent Ford after Jaguar turned it down as replacement for the XJ-S. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Vantage shows what a mistake that may have been on Jaguar’s part. Let’s see if its price might be just as...

Language