Car-buying still has a gender gap

Women are increasing their presence in the U.S. work force, often are the principal providers in their households and currently purchase more cars than men.

But a new study by Kelley Blue Book says the road to buying a new car is still much more of an endurance trial for women than for men.

Using data compiled on about 40,000 U.S. adults, the study found confidence was a major factor when it came to buying a car. About 20 percent of men in the study knew exactly what vehicle they wanted when they went out to purchase a vehicle, while about twice that percentage of women were undecided on what car to buy.

Women also took a median 75 days to make a car purchase, compared to men's 63 days -- because "they are spending more time than men doing research in an effort to build confidence and knowledge," the report said.

The study found women seeking out a new car are looking more for safe and reliable transportation, while men tend to be more image-conscious about their vehicles.

Women also look at a car's practical benefits, factors like durability and affordability, as well as safety and reliability. Men are more drawn to a vehicle's design, layout and use of technology.

And the study noted that men defined a successful new car transaction as negotiating the best possible deal, but for women it came down to getting the exact vehicle they were looking for.

Hwei-Lin Oetken, vice president of market intelligence for Kelley Blue Book's, said there are also similarities as well as differences in the way each gender goes about purchasing a car.

"What we can glean from this research is that we need to continue our focus on providing the proper tools and content to help shoppers narrow down choices," she said in a press statement, "therefore bringing balance and filling gender gaps in the car shopping experience."