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Lot more women take the driver’s seat in SUVs now


More women are taking the wheel of sport-utility vehicles, once considered the domain of men, contributing to the segment’s sales surge. The share of women SUV buyers has climbed 4.5 times from five years ago amid a growing preference for vehicles with high ground clearance and higher seating. It jumped from only 29,000 units in 2018 to 125,000 units in 2023, showed data from industry sources.

Meet Sonal Deshmukh, 40, a Mumbai-based banker. A fortnight ago, when she was in the market to replace her 15-year-old midsize sedan with another vehicle, she was very clear – she didn’t want just another sedan and her next vehicle had to be an SUV. Last month, Deshmukh drove home the top-end variant of a midsize SUV.

“I needed a car which gives me enough headroom and legroom, offers high seating without compromising on the finesse of a sedan but manoeuvres through the traffic and potholes with ease. Also, something which can be used for the weekend getaways with family. The mid-size SUV we finally chose ticked all the boxes,” said Deshmukh.

Interestingly, the shift is more pronounced in electric SUVs, say company executives. Women currently comprise about 22% of sales of the electric version of Tata Motors’ Nexon compact SUV compared to 15% for the internal combustion engine-powered model.

Lot More Women Take the Driver’s Seat in SUVs Now.

MG Motor India, the second largest EV maker by sales after Tata Motors, is seeing a similar trend. Over the years, MG has witnessed a gradual but steady increase in the percentage of women buyers. Currently, women buyers contribute up to 15% of total vehicle sales among all its customers.

“Over the years, MG Motor India has witnessed a gradual but steady increase in the percentage of women buyers. Currently, women buyers contribute to 15% of the total vehicle sales among all our customers. But their share is much higher when it comes to EVs. Women account for about 24% of buyers within MG’s EV portfolio (MG ZS EV and MG Comet) reflecting a notable presence of female consumers in the electric vehicle segment,” said Gaurav Gupta, deputy MD.

Gupta expects the share of women to rise given the ease and comfort of driving the latest SUV models and wider range of creature comforts.

Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer at Maruti Suzuki, India says that more and more women are joining the workplace and both car buying and car usage are becoming commonplace among women. “The car usage for women was largely confined to hatches and sedans but the new, confident women are driving and owning SUVs, probably reflecting this confidence and prowess.”

Within the SUV segment, premium SUVs are seeing the strongest demand, albeit on a low base, rising from 450 in 2018 to 2,500 in 2023, followed by compact SUVs where sales jumped 4.5 times to 76,000 units in 2023 from 18,000 units in 2018.


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