Some small cars and crossovers, typically from foreign automakers, are more likely to be bought by women than men.
That's the finding of a study of 13 million U.S. vehicle registrations over the last two years by TrueCar.com, the Santa Monica auto pricing information company.
Volkswagen's Beetle was the auto most likely to be purchased by a woman. Just over 56% of the buyers registering a new Beetle were women, the study found.
But after that, female buyers tended toward small sport utility vehicles. The Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4 made up five of the nine vehicles registered by more women than men.
The other cars registered to women at least 50% of the time include VW's Eos, the Volvo S40 and the Nissan Sentra. Although women make up slightly more than half of the U.S. population, they account for just 36% of new car registrations, according to TrueCar.
Kia was the brand with the highest percentage of female registrants with 45.8%, followed by Suzuki, 44.2%, and Mini, 43.9%. Subaru, Hyundai and Volvo also were popular with female buyers, TrueCar said.
TrueCar.com analyst Jesse Tropak said cultural reasons were probably behind why just nine out of hundreds of vehicle models had more female registrants than male.
Consumers find many aspects of negotiating a car purchase distasteful, he said, and women seem to be doing a good job of foisting the task off on their husbands. That's probably why the population of cars registered to women tends to have a combination of practicality, fuel efficiency and low price, Tropak said. Most of the nameplates sell in the low $20,000 range, he said, and they are probably going to women in their 20s and 30s who are single or who don't have large families.
The study looked at the registration name and did not examine who made the purchase decision or who would actually drive the car.
The highest percentage of male registrations leaned toward expensive, exotic brands such as Bugatti, 100%, Ferrari, 94.4%, and Lamborghini, 93.5%. When it came to mass-market vehicles, men tended to register trucks from General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota at far higher rates than women — well into the mid-to-high 80% range.