It’s Women’s History Month: Grab a Friend and Celebrate at an Auto Show

Women are the majority of car buyers, and car companies know engagement with buyers like you is critical. Take a look at how the female influence has shaped today's auto shows (and how much fun you'll have attending one).

2024 Jeep Gladiator
The 2024 Jeep Gladiator at the Detroit Auto Show. Not only does it give you all the Wrangler capability, but it has the ability to add even more adventure. Photo: Jana Askeland

Girls Night Out at the New York Auto Show Is a Great Place to See Your Power At Work

I’ll confess: I’m not a Hallmark Holiday kind of girl. I am bad at remembering dates; I am more sentimental about important moments in life than the dates on which they occurred, and find the whole calendar of “celebration days” to be overwhelming.

Celebrating women in the automotive space is a year-round endeavor in our world. We do this daily, weekly, monthly. We LOVE sharing stories about women who are changing the auto world from the inside. We even have a podcast about it!

However, Women’s History Month is one I should probably not overlook when it comes to cars. Women have had a huge but often unseen impact on automotive since its start; women continue to impact the science and business of automotive in a major way, and women are the major buyers of cars.

Just to refresh, we buy 65% of all cars and influence the purchase of another 20%. That’s a lot of financial firepower and a lot of cars.

Related: I Wish I Had This When I Shopped for My Car: Exclusive New York Auto Show Tours 

Electric Suvs Dominated The Paris Motor Show

The great thing about auto shows is seeing what every car feels like as a driver and passenger. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Women’s Impact on Automotive is On Display at the Auto Show

The auto show is more than just a great place to shop for a car — though it’s a great place to shop for a car. It’s where you’ll see female power in the auto industry clearly on display. This is one of the things I truly love when I go to an auto show.

As you tour your local car show this year, here are some things you should stop and look at: the hidden stories and those that are very clear, that show how much impact women have on the auto industry.

Here are just a few you’ll see very clearly.

Related: Electrify Expo Is the Electric Car Shopping Festival You Need

Margery Dosey

Product specialists are missioned to educate auto show guests and make them feel comfortable. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Buh-bye to the “Booth Babe” Era

If you attended car shows in the ’70s and ‘80s, you might remember scantily clad women standing next to the cars. Those days are gone, thankfully, and the credit goes to Margery Krevsky Dosey, founder of Productions Plus. Across all auto shows, you’ll see professionally dressed, on-brand product specialists, more women than men, who are knowledgeable about the cars on display and ready to answer your questions. She proved to automakers that smart, approachable people who could answer questions would actually send potential buyers to dealerships.

Imagine that: Smart people are better at selling a product than a demeaned, objectified woman.

Related: Meet 40 of the Most Badass Women: Ladies-Only Ford Bronco Off-Roadeo 

The Bright Orange Chevrolet Camero Is Sure To Be A Big Draw At The 2018 Atlanta Auto Show.

Chevy at the Atlanta Auto Show. Photo: Maria Smith

The Impact of DEI

This is more of a behind-the-scenes story, but as you look around, especially at General Motors displays—Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC—you’ll see how the roots of diversity, equity, and inclusion have blossomed. From GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, to the legions of women and people of color who make up the company’s 160K employees, DEI has been a cornerstone of this company’s operations and success.

And the results show it. GM, which is #25 on the Fortune 500, commands 18% of the US car market and generated more than $178 billion in global sales last year. That’s quite the case for DEI.

Laurie Transou With The Mustang Dark Horse

Laurie Transou, Ford Mustang’s Chief Program Engineer,  with the Mustang Dark Horse. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Female Engineers are Designing the Most Popular Cars and Trucks

Take a look at Ford and relish this news: The chief engineers of the Ford F150 Lighting, the Mustang Mach E, the Ford Bronco, and the Mustang Dark Horse are all women.

These vehicles represent a huge number of Ford sales, are driving customers’ passions, and are setting new standards for the industry.

Claudia Marquez Coo Of Genesis North America Welcomes Guests To Genesis Of Cherry Hill

Claudia Marquez, COO of Genesis North America, welcomes guests to Genesis of Cherry Hill. Photo: Jana Askeland

The Best and Brightest Women Are Plotting the Path Forward

Hyundai has had some exciting announcements recently: You’ll be able to buy a Hyundai on Amazon; you’ll be able to pay for parking and other things through the multimedia system; Hyundai’s electric car portfolio, which has some of the fastest charging, most reliable and furthest driving EVs —  is developing quickly. To accomplish this, the company had to hire some incredibly talented people. Olabisi Boyle is indicative of this effort; Hyundai was able to lure her from Visa, where she ran mobile payment systems.

The company was also able to lure Claudia Marquez from Nissan and, before that, Infiniti, to lead Genesis. The highest-ranking Latina executive in the US, Claudia oversees an exciting collection of some of the most beautiful and innovative cars on the market. She is building a dealership network from the ground up.

Detroit Auto Show Lexus F1 Concept

Lexus at the Detroit Auto Show with its F1 concept crossover. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Lexus Has YOU to Thank

I love this story: when Lexus rolled out the first RX SUV, women flocked to its dealers to buy one. It struck a huge chord: An SUV with great ground clearance and visibility, a comfortable car-like ride, the luxury of Lexus, and the reliability of Toyota. Fast forward to 2024 and thanks to its female customers, the company is bringing more SUVs to the market — the redesigned GX with a real 3rd row, the brand new 7 or 8 passenger TX, and new versions of the RX and NX. Check out the company’s designs and know they were designed with you in mind.

La Auto Show

Subaru’s display at the LA Auto Show is inspired by its partnership with the National Park Service. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Subaru Loves You

Subaru has long recognized the importance of its female owners. Sensible women love the fact that these cars are reliable and capable and give us the muscle to do what we need to do. The company recognizes what we do in and with our Subarus: we visit our National Parks, get outdoors, and spend time with those we love most — including our pets. To show they really understand us, you’ll see a novel approach to Subaru’s exhibit, focusing on the outdoors, adventure, and, yes, puppies.

Toyota Sienna Minivan

This Toyota Sienna minivan looks pretty comfy on the beach. Photo: Erica Mueller

Minivans Are Cool

When you have four kids, a carpool to manage or a family that loves to road trip, a minivan is cool. WAY cool. In fact, they are now so cool that there are some that have a waiting list: it takes months to get a Toyota Sienna, popular for its all-wheel drive and hybrid fuel economy. The Honda  Odyssey, with sliding center row seats and a removable middle seat, as well as interior cameras so you can see those angles fighting, er, sleeping, in their car seats, also has a waitlist.

The Kia Caravan has been redesigned with more features and technology, and Volkswagen is coming back to the world of the 7-passenger van with sliding doors. This time, though, it’s with the all-electric ID Buzz, which is sure to add a huge wallop of whimsy and fun to your daily commute.

Millennials And Gen Z Drivers Alike Are Looking For More Family-Friendly Suvs

Millennials and Gen Z drivers alike are looking for more family-friendly SUVs. Photo: Allison Bell

Women Buying SUVs Changed Everything

You know this. I know this. Finally, everyone else accepted the fact: women like SUVs. Now, there are more choices than ever: small SUVs, large SUVs, electric, hybrid, turbo, even diesel SUVs. SUVs make up more than half of all passenger vehicle sales, with cars only comprising 20 percent (vans and trucks make up the rest).

The tipping point came about a decade ago when SUV and crossover sales started to surpass sedan sales, and it hasn’t stopped. We’re even seeing popular sedans becoming SUV-ified (looking at you Toyota Corolla Cross!) and some companies abandoning sedans altogether — with a few sports car or EV exceptions (hello, Ford).

But really, why should the auto industry build cars you don’t want?

A Girls Guide To Cars At The New York Auto Show

Try on some new cars at Girls Night Out at the New York Auto Show. Photo: @thecancan

Did Someone Mention Girls Night Out?

Glad you asked! Yes! On Saturday night, March 30th, I’ll be leading Girls Night Out at the New York Auto Show. Tickets can be purchased here and it’ll be a night to remember: special access to locked cars including prototypes; “photo booth” fun in some of the cars on display, and special surprises. Follow @AGirlsGuide2Cars on Instagram as things develop, and get your tickets now.

And if you can’t make the New York Auto Show event, grab a few friends and visit your local auto show this winter. And marvel at the power you have on this market and the impact you’ve made. And then take a celebratory selfie. You deserve it!

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss