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No More “No-Woman” Markets

Posted May. 26, 2005 03:28,   


“Wing shaped doors to prevent skirts from catching at the doors, sheet covers that can be washed with a washing machine, thresholds that move down automatically to support high heels, sensitive parking sensors…”

Such is the description of the exclusively female-oriented concept car, called the “YCC” (Your Concept Car), which was developed with the participation of 100 women and is to be introduced on June 1 by Volvo Korea. The attempt was commended because it has incorporated a female perspective into the traditionally male-oriented automobile industry.

Today, no markets exclude women. Rather, more products are trying to appeal to women`s styles and preferences.

Women Belong In the Passenger Seat? No Way!-

First introduced in a recent motor show held in Geneva, Switzerland, the “YCC” broke the mold of “men in the driver seat, women in the passenger seat.” The main target of the YCC is high-income single woman. The YCC is still in the concept car stage, but may appear on the market soon.

Even domestic car companies have turned to female drivers. Hyundai Motors are rolling out female-oriented models of its NF Sonata and New Avante XD, named “Elegance Special” and “Nymph.” The driving wheels can be pulled forward with the simple press of a button, for the convenience of women who are generally smaller than men.


Renault Samsung Motors lifted the front part when designing the SM series so that female drivers would not be uncomfortable when they push their seats forward. This is the result of suggestions made by the female workers of the company’s Automobile Performance Team.

Kia Motors’ “Morning,” which targets young women, has 27 storage components for cosmetics and accessories. Jeong Sun-gyo, deputy general manager of the Domestic Products Team of Kia Motors, said, “Package models that include options for female consumers only are rising products in the automobile industry.”

Women can Easily Fix Homes, Assemble Furniture-

Due to tools for women, home improvement can be done without men’s help.

Bosch’s new rechargeable electric screwdriver, the “IXO3.6V,” is gaining attention for its cute design. Only as big as a self-defense gas gun and weighing 300g, women can easily hold it in one hand. Black and Decker and Ryobi have also introduced mini rechargeable tools.

The opening of the British home appliance store B&Q in Korea is expected to cause a “DIY” (Do It Yourself) boom, especially among housewives. This store’s DIY furniture products are lighter than regular furniture and have more detailed manuals.

“Female-only products” are continuing to appear in the market formerly known to have been exclusively for men because of women’s growing consumer power. Another reason is the increase in the number of women willing to fix things by themselves.

Lee Yeon-soo, senior researcher at the LG Economic Research Institute, said, “There has been an increase in the number of financially independent ‘single women’ who delay their marriages to focus on their work,” and added, “As women are emerging as an important consumer group, male-oriented products are continuously looking toward female markets.”

Sung-Won Joo swon@donga.com kimhs@donga.com