I guess it took the near collapse of the American auto industry for at least one of The Big Three to take its women customers seriously.
I remember not being able to get a salesman at a Chevy dealership to sell me a car I desperately wanted to buy. Maybe he thought my money wasn't green?
I also remember a letter I sent to GM (in the 1980s?) complaining about Pontiac commercials I found close-to-pornographic. Maybe you remember them: They took place on a beach, where -- using very quick cuts with a blaring disco soundtrack --a drop-dead gorgeous, scantily-clad young woman was thrown on the hood of a sporty car that was surrounded by a gang of obviously spirited guys in bathing suits. The "admirers" flung themselves the woman, who writhed in apparent pleasure on the hood.
I told them I came from a long line of Pontiac buyers, but the line stopped here. The commercials stopped.
Today, on the other hand (when fewer women are at risk of job loss than men), auto designers have begun building cars from the ground up, with female customers in mind.
Maybe it’s because there are more women engineers. Maybe it’s because there are more women in marketing and finance. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.
Can it be long before we are able to buy cars with built-in trash compactors, air vents that double as blowdryers, and floor mats that don't wreck your good shoes?
Check it out, in today’s NY Times:
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