Growing up, Vikram saw his father make all the major buying decisions for their family. Be it their home, car or an appliance, his father would take a call. So, when Vikram was making decisions in his family, he thought his wife, Aarthi, would not pitch in either. But, Aarthi was particular about the things they bought for the family. So, when they were discussing buying a car, she suggested that they buy two. After all, they were both earning an income. Gender roles are changing today, and women are becoming more open to car loans. Why is this?
Here are five reasons why that is so.
1. Access to education:
With changing times, women are taking large strides in the education sector. They have more access to better education, which has made more of them open to making financial decisions that men handled earlier. It is true that only 4% Indian women have access to higher education even now, but that number is rising. At least 45% of undergraduate students in India now are women. A better understanding of the markets and how they work, have made women more open to considering car loans to fund their vehicles.
2. Increasing career opportunities:
More women have started to join the workforce now, and are empowered to make career decisions. Gone are the days when you could dismiss a woman’s decision in the workplace or at home. They are equally qualified and are central to key decisions in the family. Access to better career opportunities has given women more buying power. The ability to earn higher incomes and spend more, has also led them to be more involved in making key buying decisions.
3. More women drivers:
There has been a marked increase in the number of women drivers in India. A Nielsen study says that the percentage of cars registered by women in Patna doubled between 2008 and 2011. That was Patna alone. Now imagine the rise in the whole country. It is no wonder then, that they have become more open to auto loans as well.
4. Low interest rates on car loans:
Lenders have noticed the increase in the number of women interested in car loans today, and many financial institutions offer them low interest rates. The offering is quite attractive, and encourages women to consider buying cars with the help of car loans. The rise in online loan services has also spread awareness about such schemes. Many banks and NBFCs also offering women-special loans, leading more women to be open to these schemes.
5. Easier access:
Car manufacturers are designing cars with features that appeal greatly to women buyers, such as automatic transmission, rear-parking cameras, and navigation options. They are also marketing cars to women, now that they have buying power. Industry executives say that the percentage of woman buyers nearly doubled to 10–12% from about 6% between 2012 and 2016. To cash in on this, lenders are making loans easily accessible for women. Institutions are even willing to lend money to homemakers. So, with increased financial independence, there is an increase in the number of woman car owners.
In a nutshell
There has been an increase in the number of women taking car loans in the last five years. The share has risen to 76% from 69%, and industry insiders say that women now comprise 10–12% sales in the 26-lakh passenger-vehicle market in India. So, have women become more open to car loans? Going by the statistics, the answer is ‘yes’.