Honda thinks so. They produced a version of their “Fit” model in Japan, just for women. The car is not only pink; it has pink stitching in the interior and pink chrome bezels. They’ll also be offering the car in a color called “eyeliner brown.” The windshield is designed to block skin-wrinkling ultraviolet rays – and the Fit also features a climate control system, which Honda says can improve skin quality.
Now, all that may go over well in Japan, where gender roles are traditional. But over here, cars targeting women have traditionally flopped. It started in the 50s with a car called La Femme. It had a driver’s seat that swiveled, so a woman could enter and exit with modesty, and a special storage space for a woman’s hat and pocketbook. Fast-forward to today, and pretty much any car dubbed a “chick car” doesn’t sell well. Even when Volkswagen introduced the new Beetle, the minute it was a dubbed a “chick car” it was doomed. That’s why they recently re-tooled it to try to appeal to men. And minivans, associated with Soccer Moms, are trying to appeal to men with slogans like “The Man Van!”
Still, while women may not want to feel pandered to, they do buy one-third of cars on the market – and influence 60% of all car purchases. Carmakers do have to appeal to women, just not in such heavy-handed ways. So, car companies now hire female engineers and designers to think of things like door handles that won’t break a woman’s nails. And larger center storage bins that can accommodate a handbag – or an iPad and other electronics.
So what do you think – would you ever buy a pink car designed specifically for a woman? Or do you think that perpetuates negative female stereotypes?