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Vauxhall Risks Alienating Female Buyers

By raccars Published

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Vauxhall has been taken to task by fearsomely intellectual TV historian and Cambridge professor, Mary Beard, for using scantily clad women in the publicity material for its new Corsa. The classics professor was considering buying a new car and went straight to Vauxhall, a natural choice, thanks to the proximity of the brand's dealership to her house. Having ordered a brochure for the car, Ms Beard - and indeed her husband - were distinctly unimpressed to find a sexy model sprawled over the car's front seats in the opening pages.

Writing in her blog for the Times Literary Supplement, Ms Beard proceeds to rip into the age old practice of using sex to sell cars - by which she means using women, for it's far less common to see a buff, bare-chested hunk draped invitingly over the bonnet in car brochures. Also fair game for the professor's sharp tongue was the innuendo laced language with which the car is described, the brochure littered with sensuous phrases praising its fulsome curves and similar.

Ms Beard seems to have focused her ire on two distinct areas: first, and rather comically, she seems unamused simply because the Corsa is not a sexy car - an opinion which is doubtless shared by many others. The consensus seems to be that Italian sportscars, for example, are sexy but the sensible, practical Corsa should know its place and that its advertising technique was fooling no-one.

However Ms Beard also, quite reasonably, suggested that Vauxhall is risking completely alienating female buyers with its apparent sexism. Vauxhall has put forward the rather weak defence that it is trying to present the Corsa as a fashionable purchase and was going for a 'boutique' style to appeal to buyers of both sexes.

The idea that cars can act as sex symbols is nothing new and Vauxhall is certainly not the first manufacturer to work upon the basis that 'sex sells.' Ford famously harnessed the awesome pulling power of Kylie Minogue to push its Streetka, while Alfa Romeo decided Catherine Zeta Jones was a more appropriate representative for its brand. However, they all work upon the same principle: that men driving said vehicle will be able to attract this sort of woman.

It's pretty crass but, in the case of the Corsa, somewhat laughable - seldom, if ever, has this car featured among the Jaguars and Porsches that would make up the average inhabitants of any sexiest cars list. Perhaps Vauxhall should consider enlisting a more imaginative team of creatives...

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