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What’s Hot Among Women Drivers

Women in Automotive Journalism Select Top Car Too bad for car dealers who don’t give women auto-buyers their due. Turns out women control or influence 80 percent of all vehicle purchase decisions, which translates into nearly $300 billion in purchasing power, according to Terry Barclay, executive director of the Women’s Economic Club. A recent vote by Women in Automotive Journalism (WAJ), an organization of women editors and writers, scored the MINI-Cooper as best vehicle for performance, safety, interior functionality and comfort. The Honda Civic hybrid propulsion system won Best Automotive Feature.

Jean Jennings, chair of the nine-member WAJ steering committee and Editor- in-Chief of Automobile Magazine, put the importance of the new award into perspective: "The WAJ Awards, for the first time ever, have given us a strong voice, enabling women to clearly communicate our expectations to those who want our business." The 2003 WAJ Awards mark the first time a large group of women automotive journalists have come together to speak with one voice to honor what they see as the cream of the crop of new automotive offerings. The winning vehicle and feature were chosen by a majority vote of 46 U.S.-based women automotive journalists. Voting was completed through confidential, online balloting at the awards### Web site (www.wajawards.org ). Journalists were not allowed to vote if they had associations with automotive manufacturers, suppliers or dealers that could be seen as a conflict of interest. What###s Hot, What###s Not Among Women Drivers Complete results from the survey are available at the websites for both the Women in Automotive Journalism (www.wajawards.org ) and the Women###s Economic Club (www.womenseconomicclub.org ). Following are highlights: * 74 percent of those polled said that safety features had become more important in their vehicle purchase decision. * Cross-over vehicles, with SUV capability and car-like driving dynamics, were of high interest for next vehicle purchases. * More than half polled said their spouse or significant other did not influence their vehicle purchase decisions. * The high cost of vehicle ownership, including vehicle price, fuel and insurance, were the least liked aspects of today###s vehicles. These first-ever awards will be presented annually during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.