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Hiscox  >  Press room  >  2014  >  01 October

Car Wars: New study reveals men and women can’t agree on who is in the driving seat when it comes to buying a new vehicle

LONDON (1st October 2014) – A study published today by specialist motor insurer Hiscox reveals men and women have wildly different views on who is the decision maker when it comes to buying a car.

According to The Hiscox Head vs. Heart Motor study, while 59% of women said that purchasing a car was a joint decision, only 35% of men agreed.   In fact, men like to think that they make the buying decisions when purchasing a car – with the majority (63%) stating it is solely their decision.

Steve Morse, Hiscox Head of Motor commented: “Gender equality is a hot topic with debates raging about the workplace, pay, boardrooms, childcare and chores at home.  Interestingly, it looks like we should also add car purchasing to this list because there is a clear difference of opinion.  The old-fashioned stereotype that buying and driving a car is a testosterone charged process no longer applies.  Men may think they still wear the driving gloves, but our study indicates that the reality is quite different.”

The study also found that men subconsciously associate colour as being 17% more important than women do.   This is perhaps unsurprising as these results confirm the view long held by psychologists that, for many men, their car is an extension of their personality.

Like a peacock’s feathers, for some it is a way of publically displaying their status, strength and virility; all qualities which, in a Darwinian sense, would mark them out as a good prospective mate.  Some men will choose a colour according to the message they want to convey – power and status would be associated with grey, silver and black, while virility and youthful exuberance are connected with bright, primary colours.   This might go some way to explaining why 10% more men than women think their cars have ‘pulling power’.

Dr David Lewis, author of The Brain Sell and Managing Director at Mindlab, the research agency involved in this study for Hiscox, explained:  "Even when making a costly purchase like a car, most of our buying decisions are unconscious and there are a number of factors that come into play.   When questioned about their car preferences people tend to provide socially acceptable answers and to remain silent about any responses they feel might put them in a bad light. In this study though, we used sophisticated techniques to discover subconscious feelings and emotions.   We found clear gender differences – such as speed being an important factor to men at a subconscious level in the same way as design is to women.”




For further information, please contact:

Sarah Street


0203 701 7510 / 07973 316 818

Lucy Hensher


0207 448 6619 / 07813 974 657

Editor’s Notes

About The Hiscox Head vs. Heart study

The Hiscox Head vs Heart study was commissioned by high value motor insurer Hiscox and conducted by research company Mindlab, based in Brighton.  It was designed to explore the car purchasing decision process and which aspects are important to people’s hearts (subconscious factors) or their heads (conscious factors).

To find out which aspects of a car are subconsciously important to people when thinking about purchasing a car (the ‘heart factors’), Implicit Associations Tests were used.  Implicit Associations Test is a sorting task in which respondents are told to respond as fast as possible to words appearing on the screen, for half the test ranking key words important or unimportant.  How quickly participants responded shows how strongly the subconsciously link the word to being important or unimportant.  To ensure a subconscious response is captured, only responses in less than 1.4 seconds were measured.  A total of 1,125 participants completed tests addressing the importance of the following 12 factors: value for money, fuel efficiency, safety, insurance costs, comfort, reliability, colour, shape, interior design, top speed, gadgets and the manufacturer.

To find out which aspects of a car are consciously important to people when thinking about purchasing a car (the ‘head factors’), a survey was conducted with the same 1,125 respondents which examined how important the 12 elements mentioned above are to them when deciding what car to buy.  They were also asked additional questions related to their past car purchasing experiences.

The study was undertaken in February 2014.

About Hiscox

Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting divisions in the Group - Hiscox London Market, Hiscox Re and Hiscox Retail (which includes Hiscox UK and Europe, Hiscox Guernsey, Hiscox USA and subsidiary brand, DirectAsia). Hiscox underwrites internationally traded, bigger ticket business and reinsurance through Hiscox Re and Hiscox London Market. Through its retail businesses in the UK, Europe and the US Hiscox offers a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as homeowners.

For further information visit www.hiscoxgroup.com.

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