The Myth of the “Girls Car”

June 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm (Informative) (, , )

The term is often bandied about in front of me as I own one of these questionable cars. There are a few cars that this tag is leveled upon, but let me get something straight, through their development, none of these cars so labeled were ever developed to be female oriented. The image that was made of them was largely manufactured by the public receiving them and always as a result of being largely misunderstood.

First I address the super-compact car. The Mini, the Fiat 500, the Renault Twingo, the Suzuki Swi….. err… Twin. In any country that suffers with congestion on an epidemic scale, small cars are the solution. Japan has their Kei Cars that are barely bigger than a mail box, and Europe treads down the same automotive evolutionary path. The traffic problem there is very real, it’s like Epping Rd. at peak hour at ALL times of day. The one defining difference is that the Europeans crave style and cannot live with something as utilitarian looking as the Japanese offerings – if you don’t know what I mean let me show you a Fiat 500,

Fiat 500

Compare this to a Daihatsu Move

Daihatsu Move

Differences in styling notwithstanding, these cars are one in the same in their intent. Both will fit 2 adults and 2 children, while sipping petrol like a sensible Japanese person sips sake, or like an Italian sips his/her latte. They are not intended in any way shape or form exlusively for females. They address the problem of congestion, and packaging, and anything else you read into it is… misread. Their basic principles are of economy and practicality, but these characteristics are feminine right? Only for those egotistically inclined. So now I move on to cars that were made specifically FOR females.

Throughout history there have been two of such notable cars. There was the Dodge La Femme, and the Volvo “Your Concept Car”, and if these cars prove anything, it is that sexism is not dead. If you are a feminist in any sort of way, be warned, the following images may be deeply disturbing.

Dodge La Femme

Article One, the Dodge La Femme. The story goes that in the 1950’s, as car ownership was commonplace in America, car makers needed special models to entice fickle new buyers, and what better market is there than women? Thus it came equipped with a makeup compact, matching purse and umbrella and all the places to hold them Oh and the cigarette igniter was replaced by a tube of lipstick. Lastly you could have it in any colour you’d like so long as it was pink and white – with requisite period chrome trimmings.  With a car aimed at a market of eager young females, it flopped. Production ran for 2 years and the concept has never been revisited since. I am no chauvinist so I am not surprised.
So what about that Volvo I talked about? This one was much less patronising (kind of).

Volvo YCC

Volvo, in 2004 asked a team of females to design a car that would best suit their needs, so it was not a car designed by men for women as was in the case of the Dodge(y) La Femme, but a car designed by women, for women. The car itself as a production model has not seen the light of day, but a few of the technologies it employed are beginning to see implementation. On the mechanical side, It was one of the first cars to showcase self – parking self – driving (stopping at least) technology, features the infamous run – flat tyres and guess what guys? an Automatic Gearbox with a sequential “manual” shift (no… that doesn’t count I’m afraid).
On the inside, it was designed with fully customizable interior in soft colouring and even a ponytail notch in the headrest… yes you read that right… for your ponytail. One of the more notable features is that it has a hatchback with a fully flat rear floor. Shopping bags anyone?
Strangely enough, this car designed by women is not so much perfect for women but seems perfect for the consumer in general, as this sector of the market only view the car as an appliance, ultimately it is only a practical proposition. The Volvo doesn’t even have a conventional bonnet, as opening the bonnet was not determined to be of the owners interest. So with this, at its most elemental, we can conclude that a girls car is, an automatic (as in automatic everything not JUST transmission), hatchback, never mind how it looks…
What is the conclusion here? That men are only allowed to like cars as cars and women must like an appliance?

Pull your head out… if you are an enthusiast, all these things go out the window as these such impracticalities colour the experience of the car. The car you own is a form of self expression for enthusiasts. Not a form of self extension.

Don’t even get me started on “Gay Cars”.


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