I've been driving my car for quite a few years now and I confess, I am totally addicted and really fond of it! But often I wish my car could have something more! And so, after all these years of being behind the wheel, I finally decided to make a list of 'What Women Want from their Cars'
I haven't done any statistical survey but I am sure the urban Indian roads have a decent percentage of female drivers at the helm.
But have car manufacturers even considered this percentage of their clientele? I don't think so!
After all, the automobile sector is a male-dominated one, both from the manufacturing and consumer angle.
The two-wheeler, low cc bikes/scooters/scootys till date have been what a woman could aspire for as her own mode of transport. These have been tweaked around in terms of color, push-button start, under-seat storage etc, dished out and endorsed as ideal female-travel modes by Anushkas and Priyankas!
With improved standards of living, easy car-loans, affordable EMI's, poor public transport and heavy monsoons, we are seeing an increasing number of households with more than one four-wheeler.
It is not uncommon to see homes with a sedan for the 'sir' and a convenient hatchback for the 'madam'.
Let's consider the profile of a lady car-owner-driver.
The lady may be a working professional, having finally decided to go in for her own transport after a hefty bonus from office, tempts her. Wonder why? After years of being relentlessly thrown about in auto-rickshaws or scootys on pot-holed roads, shoved and trampled upon in the local trains, groped and suffocated in buses, she feels it is high time! She knows she's in for harrowing traffic snarls, unruly and rude co-drivers who will wait for the chance to make fun of her driving skills, but still it will be an improvement from the existing scenario.
On the other hand you have a lady home-maker, handed down the Mr's old one, just because the second-hand car rates are a joke. Of course, she is eligible for a new car but always a smaller one.....one must consider those weekend family trips through heavy traffic for easy navigation and parking; obviously the Mr's big sedan cannot be dragged out for such occasions!
The lady at home is practically a chauffeur on call, all through the day! Dropping and picking up kids to and fro, to school, extra-classes, shopping.....she does it all with help from her trusty four-wheeler!
So whatever the profile, the working lady or the home-maker, they both have a daunting task ahead, since they have decided to be on their own four wheels!
So what exactly do women want from their four-wheeler?
Well, besides better comfort and back support in the seating, here are some aspects we'd like to have worked upon in our cars!
1) For Ladies' sake, please do not make the seat-belts so skin-biting!
Ladies, I am sure you have experienced repeatedly adjusting your upper clothing, saree or duppatta to protect your exposed skin below the neck, from the rough abrasion of tight seat-belts! We know seat-belts are for safety, but they don't need to dig into our skin to do that!
Men wear high collared shirts/T-shirts so they don't know what we are talking about!
Car-makers take a note: Seat-belts to have a more plush and softer texture for ladies.
2) We need separate, nifty storage spaces to keep our numerous paraphernalia, that are within handy reach.
In addition to water bottles and lunch boxes that end up getting dumped on the back seat, we carry essentials such as hand-bags, purses, goggles, vanity pouches and perfumes for last minute touch-ups! Can we have a secret compartment to store all these must-have emergencies? Not to forget that secret stash of candies and treats to munch secretly on the go!
NO, not the dashboard locker - that's for car papers and stuff!
Men, I know what your paraphernalia includes...your laptop and mobile!
3) We don't want larger rear-view mirrors for vanity-sake, no, no that would only distract! But how about a pull-out mirror from the car-roof, just above the driver's seat, replete with lights? We wouldn't mind that!
4) Can we have more sophisticated car colors or how about custom colors? Not the cliché pink or the canary yellow please!
And what if we had a say on car interior colors?
5) Factory-made upholstery works best and cheap we know, but can we have upholstery that caters to our personality and requirement? No, no we don't mean pretty flowers and polka dots, though some of us may be partial to them! How about upholstery that is stain and moisture proof? We do ferry pissing and puking babies or soft drink guzzling, fast-food grubbing teens around!
6) How about a pull out trolley system in the dicky/trunk/boot that operates with a push button? And of course we would appreciate larger boot-spaces!
Wouldn't it be a blessing to load your groceries and shopping into a waiting pull-out trolley/drawer instead of leaning into the boot, especially when you are straddling your cranky baby along with a bunch of shopping bags?
7) Mandatory automation, child-proofing, navigation, parking assistance and fuel alert in all female-driven cars.
Yes, we admit, some of us find it difficult to navigate with pesky kids, parallel-park into tight parking niches, repeatedly change gears in heavy traffic and sometimes we are just too harried to tank up...so help us get better!
We like all things faithful, so how about a voice recognition in the car music system?
So when I say PLAY, it plays my favorite track-list! The music HUSHes as the baby is off to sleep and when I want to take a call, I call out MUTE!
8) More than higher CC's and torques we want better suspension deals!
Some of us are pregnant, some of us have jerk-sensitive sleeping children and at times we are chauffeuring bladder incontinent aged ones, so pay heed to this need and make us cars that cushion our bumpy rides!
9) We would like to have good safety features, maybe one touch locking, burglar alarm, SOS to police help-line - features that make us feel safer in our cars especially while driving alone.
10) And if I know anything about business, I am sure car-makers are probably going to jack-up the prices for a ladies-special version!
Well, we demand you throw in UV-protected window and windscreen glass!
Actually now that I have started listing, I am getting more and more brainwaves on what I want from my car! But I am stalling the list here for now ;)
Okay car-makers, I am handing you this list of what women want in cars, right on a platter!
Some of the aspirations may seem a trifle overboard, but then consumer is queen!
If you're trying to carve a niche in this segment, which I personally think would be really profitable, you've got all the ground material you need to make a Women's Special Limited Edition Series!
So ladies, maybe not this Karva Chauth, but wouldn't you feel super pumped if you received your own women's special car as a gift for the next Karva Chauth?!
Dear Ladies and also Gentlemen, please feel free to drop in your comments and suggestions on What Women Want from their Cars.
Till later, adios :)
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