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By: Neil King

With new car sales in Western Europe declining even further in 2013, carmakers are understandably seeking ways to maximize their sales in the region and are finally latching on to the potential that female consumers offer. FIAT and Citroen for example are finding new ways to target the female car buyer and initiatives from other car brands are sure to follow.

Similar to the increasing share of older people among the employed population of Western Europe, the share of the workforce that is female also continues to consistently rise. In fact, whereas the male employed population is only expected to grow again from 2015, the number of female workers in Western Europe only dipped in 2009 and has been climbing again since. As a result, women account for 46% of the employed population in 2014, up from 44% as recently as 2007.

This growth in the female workforce is also changing the driving population – in the UK for example, women now account for more than 40% of driving license holders according to the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Although growth in the female population is expected to decelerate, women are still trending towards accounting for half of the employed population of Western Europe and the importance of producing and marketing cars to appeal to women cannot be overstated.

Male and Female Employed Population in Western Europe, 1991-2030

Source: Euromonitor International

With this in mind, two recent marketing initiatives have particularly struck me. First, FIAT’s latest campaign for the FIAT 500 promotes the car as a new “Spring/Summer Collection” with the tagline “Life’s Too Short To Wear a Boring Car”. In other words, the car is essentially being marketed as an accessory to accompany the latest season’s fashion trend. FIAT has previously tied in with Italian fashion houses Diesel and Gucci to offer designer versions of the car but this latest goes one step further.

Fiat 500 ad.jpgThis approach has certainly not gone unnoticed with Citroen, who recently launched the “DS3 by Benefit” i.e. in a tie-in with US cosmetics brand Benefit. Uncannily similar to FIAT’s approach, the car is referred to as “a new statement accessory on the block.” It’s not just about offering a special version of the DS3 to appeal to women though as the car is also being marketed through online fashion retailer, ASOS.com and Citroen is thus finding potential female consumers through an entirely new channel.

ds3 benefit.jpg

With Citroen seemingly taking a leaf out of FIAT’s book, it seems inevitable that more special editions of cars that particularly appeal to the increasingly important female car buyer will appear on the market. Moreover, we can surely expect to see many more marketing initiatives which tie in with fashion houses and retailers.

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