Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nissan checks out what Indian women drivers want







Ms Rena Sofue of Nissan Motor Company was in India some months ago to check out what women wanted in their cars.

The company had carried out a study with female customers in Delhi, Mumbai and parts of Gujarat. The feedback showed that the choice of a small car like the Micra had more to do with tight traffic conditions and narrow roads.

“Women in India want more features like parking sensors and sound systems, greater comfort and better visibility in their (Nissan) cars,” Ms Sofue told Business Line. They also prefer automatics and often cited examples of the Hyundai i10 and i20 in the study.

All these are important inputs to Ms Sofue, who is Manager of Nissan’s Attractiveness Creation Group for Women headquartered in Japan. Her mandate is to check out how women across the globe perceive the Nissan brand. The India study has been more than an eye-opener and she reiterates that the company will address these needs articulated by the women in the study.

“We want them to enjoy their lives better with our cars. There are about 30 per cent women drivers on an average for the Micra and Nissan wants to increase this substantially in the next five years across its models in India,” Ms Sofue says.


The Attractiveness Creation Group has also worked extensively across Asia and some of the findings have been interesting. For instance, even while Indian women are increasingly becoming part of an active workforce, Nissan has found that China is ‘more advanced’ when it comes to the ratio of working women and cars.

“Japan and Korea have a lower working ratio while India has the lowest level of working women in Asia,” Ms Sofue says. The number here is also lower than in Thailand and the Philippines. In China, nearly 80 per cent of women in the age group of 25-40 work fulltime and “it is very hard to find housewives”.

From Nissan’s point of view, the working ratio of women is a key indicator to gauge demand for cars. “In most parts of Asia, the family plays a big role in buying the car. However, in China, a woman trusts her friend’s opinion and often test drives her car at the friend’s place and not at a dealership,” Ms Sofue says.

Equally, in China, it is not uncommon to find a wife with a car, while the husband has nothing for himself.

“At times, she buys another car, but this is for her father to drive in,” she quips.


The Nissan team also drew some interesting findings from its Asia research on cars.

“There are large joint families and the concept of people travelling together in a car is common. This includes parents and a young couple with a child too,” Ms Sofue says.

Today, with more women in Asia studying and working, comfort and mobility are top priorities. “Men do not want women to travel in crowded buses and trains for safety and social reasons. The best option is personal mobility like a cycle, scooter or car,” she says.


Riversimple's carbon fibre-bodied development car, seen here, is merely a prototype. It will, however, form the basis of a £250-a-month hydrogen fuel cell car that's capable of 200 miles and refuels in just five minutes with zero emissions.