Female car ownership up by 20 per cent in a decade, figures reveal

Motors | Published:

SMMT Motorparc data shows increasing diversity of cars and drivers on UK roads


The number of women who own cars has risen sharply over the last decade, with more than a third of vehicles on the road now owned by female drivers. Data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in its annual Motorparc survey shows that 11.8m of the UK’s cars belong to women – a 21 per cent increase since 2007.

The surge contrasts with a 10 per cent increase for men. Women now own more than a third of the UK’s 34.7m cars.

The survey also revealed other changes about Britain’s changing car scene. Diversity has increased – car buyers now have 1,500 vehicle model ranges to choose from encompassing 65,000 separate trim levels – up from 1,200 and 56,000 a decade ago.

But despite all this choice, the UK remains a conservatively monochrome nation – the top five car colours include silver, black, grey and white, with blue the sole hue in the running. In total, 64.8 per cent of cars on the road are painted in monochrome colours.

  • Silver: 7,121,249 vehicles
  • Black: 6,904,764
  • Blue: 6,231,770
  • Grey: 4,592,278
  • White: 3,846,223

Another stark shift has been the rise of the automatic gearbox. With a 70.5 per cent increase in the number of models available with automatic transmission, the proportion of these cars on the road has doubled since 2007. Some 40 per cent of new cars registered in 2017 featured an automatic gearbox, a total of 24.2 per cent of all cars on the road.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Consumers are enjoying greater freedom and mobility than ever before, which along with greater reliability and improved fuel efficiency, make owning a car a more attractive and affordable option for millions of people.

“This latest Motorparc analysis shows the shifts in consumer preferences and behaviour over the past decade and provides insight for car makers and dealers to help them adapt to changing consumer behaviour in the future.”

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