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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The first Car designed by Women

Is right here. It's part of the Geneva Auto show, the largest auto show in Europe, and quite comparable in size to the Detroit Auto show. I don't know what to make of it, but I'm skeptical it was completely designed by women. For one thing, I don't know what woman would have a flower print on the upholstery of her car. No liberated sane woman that is.

The press release emphasizes "easy" to use, easy to reach, easy to operate. I would think those would be important for all people, not just women. To emphasize them to me, would mean creating a car for something unintelligent, like a gorilla. It's more than a little patronizing.

Volvo knows where its bread is buttered, and they know that in America Volvo is viewed as the woman's/mother's car. All those stereotypes, that women prefer how well a car brakes, how safe a car is, to how fast it is, how sexy is it, are in place here. Volvo has made quite a lot of money selling to women unconsciously, rather than directly and patronizingly. The American manufacturers have tried to sell women's cars before, and it has usually failed. In some cases, like the Mustang, it actually reversed and was popular among men (at least in the 60s.)

This is a totally unsubtle, and somewhat insulting attempt to gain customers in an area that they have already staked out well. Volvo should try for customers who would never choose their vehicles normally: young men.

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