Are There Really Male Cars and Female Cars?

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Do mostly older men go for sports cars? Are young women more likely to own Volkswagen Beetles? In other words, do the stereotypes about cars hold up to scrutiny?

InsureMe, an insurance referral service, recently announced results of research to determine if the stereotypes relating to automobiles hold up to empirical rigor. The findings were surprising.

"In a word, yes," said Peter Deusterman, InsureMe's in-house statistician. "They hold up much better than I would've predicted."

InsureMe is a web-based service that helps people obtain auto insurance. In the process it collects consumer information, including car ownership data. While all information is anonymous, it is occasionally studied to note certain trends.

"If you tell me you drive a car that's made in Italy, I can tell you how many X chromosomes you have," said Deusterman with a smile. "One."

Deusterman asserted he can tell you with reasonable, statistical confidence. According to the data, 86 percent of people seeking insurance quotes for Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis in the past 13 months were men.                        

With slightly less confidence, Deusterman can guess the gender of drivers of the New Beetle. The data indicate that it is, in fact, a far more appealing car (particularly the convertible) to women. In 2007, three fourths (74 percent) of the requests for insurance quotes from drivers of the New Beetle were women.

It appears that men are more likely to own more expensive, higher performance cars than are women, fueling stereotypes that men like to take more risks than women (a notion that's supported by crash statistics as well) and typically seek cars that offer greater performance.

By contrast, Kia, Saturn and Hyundai, car makes that are generally considered both affordable and reliable (if not exactly exotic) were significantly more popular among women than men. For Saturn and Kia, the ratio was nearly 2-to-1. Once again, the stereotype -- that women put a higher premium on practicality than men -- appears to reflect reality.

Although it seems that Pontiac produces a sporty car that a woman can love. The Pontiac Sunfire, G6, Grand Prix and Grand Am were significantly more popular among women than men. Two thirds of those seeking to insure a Grand Am, for example, were women.

Mercedes was an exception, proving to be a nearly gender neutral car. According to InsureMe, almost equal numbers of men and women drive cars made by the venerable German manufacturer. "I suppose everyone enjoys a little luxury," Deusterman offered. "Particularly heated seats."

And what about the Hummer, that quintessentially "masculine" car -- the one we associate with Arnold Schwarzenegger-types?

Indeed, the civilian Hummer is more of a guy thing -- but with about a 3-to-2 ratio, it's not as exclusively male as one might think. In fact, BMWs and Audis prove to be more skewed toward men, with the later nearly twice as likely to be piloted by a man as a woman.

About InsureMe
Based in Englewood, Colorado, InsureMe helps people nationwide find affordable insurance by connecting them with their local insurance professionals. For more about InsureMe, or to shop for free insurance quotes, visit Agents should check out the InsureMe agent site. InsureMe is a Bankrate, Inc. company.

About Bankrate, Inc.
Bankrate, Inc. (Nasdaq: RATE) ("Bankrate") owns and operates, a leading Internet consumer banking marketplace. is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate is the leading aggregator of more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states.

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