Sonu Gajria wanted a small car that would be easy to park and manoeuvre. Her husband, Dinesh, wanted a sportier ride. "After several discussions, we finally decided to buy two cars," said Sonu, 40, a Chembur resident.
Men are no longer the sole driving force behind buying a family car. A study of 118 working couples in Mumbai with a monthly income of Rs 50,000 to Rs 65,000 showed that educated, earning wives play a big role in choosing a car.
The study was conducted by RK Srivastava, a professor of management and guide at University of Mumbai, and co-authored by Sam Marcus, a professor at California State University in the US. The findings were published in the December 2010 issue of International Journal of Services, Economics and Management.
The study examined the wife’s age, educational qualifications and income. Younger couples emerged as more egalitarian. Of the 52 couples in the 25-30 age group, 81% said spouses would jointly decide on a car. Of the 21 couples in the 41 to 50 age group, 57% said husbands picked the family car.
Twenty-two of the wives earned more than their husbands and took the decision of buying a car independent of the husband.
"The study indicates evolving cultural norms. In younger couples, the decision is more democratic," said Srivastava.