Buying a car is often considered a rite of passage, but once the shiny newness wears off, how men and women find a new car differs quite a bit. What affects how men and women choose a car?

The genders take different approaches when buying a vehicle, with women twice as likely to ask their partners which car to purchase before starting their research. Nearly half the male respondents already know enough about cars to make an independent decision about which car to buy, while 36 percent of women feel they knew nothing about cars and need assistance in order to make a purchase decision.

Women consumers are responsible for 65% of new vehicle purchases and service work done at dealerships. And women make up almost half of the U.S. labor force, yet they held only 26.7% of jobs in the auto manufacturing workforce in 2017. Furthermore, only 21.8% of auto dealer employees and 9.6% of auto repair and maintenance employees are women. There is opportunity in auto, specifically for women.

In fact, women and men have different needs and approaches to car buying.  And whether you realize it or not, women influence 85 percent of purchasing decisions, they have more driver’s licenses then men, and they’re the largest emerging market. So, it makes sense that dealers would try to better understand women and adjust their approaches to selling to them, right?

For starters, men and women base their decisions on different criteria. When looking for a vehicle, men are more inclined to make emotional decisions, where women are more likely to focus on practical factors. Men are more interested in whether a car is fun to drive, has a powerful engine or is seen as prestigious.

Although women typically have a good idea of the characteristics they’re looking for in a new vehicle, they’re still twice as likely to be undecided about their vehicle choices. Only 38% of women report feeling confident when buying a car. Women are thoughtful when purchasing a new car and the buying cycle takes a bit longer than men, usually averaging around 75 days to complete a purchase. Unlike men, women tend to prefer Asian non-luxury brands and prefer cars that are affordable and known for their durability, reliability and safety.

These statistics apply to most age groups, save one — millennials.  Millennial women, for example, feel as self-assured when purchasing a car as men, and men in this age group are more confident in their female counterparts than men of older generations. Millennial men believe that their female counterparts are stronger negotiators than themselves, and believe that women are more logical when it comes to purchasing cars.

While car buying might not be a walk in the park for either men or women, it’s safe to say that each group approaches the process very differently.

By Noni Nchwe