Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sex appeal: SUVs attract men, women differently

Business Times
July 19, 2006

By SAMUEL EE

WOMEN are attracted by design while men are price-sensitive, or so the cliche in the car trade goes. This seems to be particularly true for seven-seat sport-utility vehicles, which bring together the rugged looks of a SUV with the functional appeal of a family multi purpose vehicle.

Ego-boosting masculine looks: Men appreciate the Hyundai Santa Fe's

2.7-litre power plant more than women.
Like the MPV, the SUV has been growing in popularity since 2002. Together, they made up almost 20 per cent of last year's total new car registrations - more than double what it was before 2002.

But only three models in Singapore combine the qualities of both the SUV and MPV - the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Fortuner

and Volvo XC90.

All three are macho-looking SUVs but all three have a third row of seats.

While the first two are priced at $88,888, the more premium Volvo, which starts from $159,000, can cost double that. The Hyundai Santa Fe is the newest model among the three. Since authorised distributor Komoco Motors launched it in May, about 150 units have been sold.

The Santa Fe has a 2.7-litre V6 engine and an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. Three variants are available, including one with an electric sun roof and GPS, and another with a factory audio system, climate control and electric seat.

'Men like the Santa Fe's masculine looks because they are ego-boosting,' says Marcus Ang, Komoco's general manager of sales. This, he adds, is unlike the smaller Tucson.

The smaller Hyundai was launched in mid-2004 and immediately became Singapore's top SUV model.

'Maybe being a two-litre model, the Tucson gets good support from both the husband and wife,' says Mr Ang. 'The wife may be doing the sums and she equates it as the best SUV buy in town.'

But he says men appreciate the Santa Fe's 2.7-litre power plant more than women.

'The men say they enjoy driving the Santa Fe and that they like the idea of being propelled by a powerful V6 engine,' says Mr Ang. 'For that price, it is a huge car. The third row of seats also helps in the decision-making process.'

The Toyota Fortuner has the same effect on guys. This large four-wheel-drive car arrived in June last year from Thailand and an average of about 20 units are registered each month.

'Predominantly, it's the men who buy the Fortuner because it's more macho,' explains William Low, sales director of authorised Toyota distributor Borneo Motors. 'The car makes you feel like the king of the road because people give way to you.'

The wife will support the decision when it comes to the colour preference or its functionality. But Mr Low says that the Fortuner is less of a joint decision, unlike say, a Picnic MPV. He explains that because cars are expensive in Singapore, its purchase often involves more than just one person, with the whole family usually weighing in on the decision.

But unlike the Santa Fe and Fortuner, the Volvo XC90 appears to be more popular with the distaff side. This upmarket model was the first SUV in Singapore to seat seven adults and when it arrived in end-2002, there were long waiting lists even though it cost more than $200,000. Prices have since fallen and sales remain relatively steady at about 17 units per month.

'When it comes to buying a big-ticket item, the family is usually involved, with one spouse recommending it and the other spouse and family members concurring,' says Pang Cheong Yan, general manager of SM Motors, which distributes Volvo. 'But with the XC90, Volvo is seeing an increasing proportion of women drivers.'

He cites the XC90's design appeal, as well as comfort and versatility, as possible reasons for attracting a different group of buyers.

Not all seven-seater SUVs are equal, even if they do share the same cabin attributes.

8 Comments:

Blogger 老星洲 said...

SUVs are expensive and high fuel consumption.

In relatively flat terrains in Singapore, SUV are not worth to run over.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 at 5:58:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger 老星洲 said...

That "The love story" author was the girl who started all the gangster threatenings against me.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I first noticed them in your fellow bloggers list.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 at 6:12:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mickell said...

For Singaporeans who make at least around $10k a month, feeding an SUV or even two isn't too much of a problem for them :)

Sorry pal. I didn't know the "love story" author is your enemy. I need to know what this enemy of yours is up to in her blog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 11:29:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger 老星洲 said...

If you read her blog, you will know how typical students in North View behaves.

But pls don't leave comment with your blog link in her tagboard, or else, if she finds out my blog, I will be thrown back into darkness by her gang.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 5:42:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger John Riemann Soong said...

Is the gang that terrifying?

Also SUV prices are insanely high, compared to 30,000 SGD as the upper limit for most SUVs in the US. This is why bicycles are ultimately superior.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 12:38:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mickell said...

To Lao Xing Zhou: I notice i can't even post comments the usual way on her blog. Who is she attached to?

To John: You're right. SUVs are insanely expensive down here in Singapore. They belong to the great US of A and not puny Singapore :)

Monday, July 31, 2006 at 1:35:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger 老星洲 said...

She is attacted to her boyfriend, the man who oraganised gang threatening of me outside the school.

Monday, July 31, 2006 at 5:18:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger 老星洲 said...

If you want to post comment in her blog, do not ever leave your website address.

If she trace to your blog, found my comments here, then I will be dead meat.

Monday, July 31, 2006 at 5:27:00 PM GMT+8  

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