Reading this story in USA Today, I laughed because there is humor and stupidity beyond belief. Volvo organized women within the company to design a car focused on the needs of women. They came up with the Volvo YCC (Your Concept Car).
Initially, I was amused by this:
Hans-Olov Olsson, president and chief executive of the Swedish carmaker, said the endeavor seemed logical given that the male-dominated industry is constantly trying to attract more female buyers.
Through customer research, Olsson said, the company discovered that women want everything in a car that men want in terms of performance and styling, “plus a lot more that male car buyers have never thought to ask for.”
“We learned that if you meet women’s expectations, you exceed those for men,” he said.
My favorite part of that is the male-dominated industry trying to attract more female buyers. That’s logical, because women don’t buy cars or influence car-buying decisions.
The idea of catering more to women’s needs makes perfect business sense, said Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. Spinella said women either will act alone or have a say in roughly 80% of all vehicle purchases in the United States this year.
Butovitsch acknowledged the $3.5 million project had some skeptics at first, but she said the resistance ended when it became clear “this was not going to be a pink, cute-looking car but rather a very smart-looking vehicle.”
Stereotypes kick ass.
The result: A car that’s designed to be nearly maintenance free, requiring an oil change every 31,000 miles. When it’s time for an engine inspection, the car sends a wireless message to a local service center, which notifies the driver. The vehicle has no hood, only a large front end primarily suited for opening by a mechanic. It also features a race-car-like fueling system with a roller-ball valve opening for the nozzle but no gas cap.
That’s a brilliant design because women aren’t smart enough to change the oil every 5,000 miles. And they’re certainly not qualified to have a wireless message sent to them instead of a local service center. There’s no chance they remember to get the engine inspected if someone doesn’t remind them. And the hood? Please. We all know that only a mechanic, presumed to be a man, is qualified to look at the engine. And whenever I see a gas cap at the Mobil, I think “Wow, another woman who didn’t have a man with her. What a shame.”
Continuing the brilliance, consider this:
Gull-wing doors allow easy access to space behind the driver’s seat. The bottom of the rear seats fold up, similar to theater seating, providing more storage space. The car also has dirt-repellant paint and glass, exchangeable seat covers with matching carpet and sensors that allow for easier parking.
Parking sensors are seriously necessary. There are dented bumpers all over America because women don’t have eyes capable of seeing objects other than shoes and cosmetics.
Seriously, all of these features are useful and cool. I also like the design of the car. Perhaps they could sell that rather than implying that women are incompetent drivers and incapable of dealing with cars. Good marketing, Hans-Olov.