A car for women? At Honda, yep

A version of Honda's popular Fit subcompact targets young women in Japan with pink stitching and other gender-stereotypical cues.


What does a car for women look like, exactly? Does it look different than a car for a man? What, pray tell, is a gender-specific car?

I don't know the answers to those questions, but apparently Honda does. The Japanese automaker is offering a Honda Fit subcompact designed specifically for women -- it's badged "She's" -- that's pink on the outside (though it can also be had in "eyeliner brown," black, or white); pink on the inside (yes, even the stitching); and in many ways a throwback to the 1950s.

Except it's not. The vehicle is being marketed directly to young women in Japan, a country that specializes in all things "cute" (this is, after all, the land from which Hello Kitty hails).

To help combat wrinkles, the Fit for girls comes fitted with a special windshield glass that promises to cut 99 percent of ultraviolet rays and a "Plasmacluster" air conditioning system that Honda claims can improve a driver's skin quality. Whether the car's encouraging stereotypes or reflecting them, you tell me. (The folks at NBC's "Today" show seem to like it, despite the girly frills.)

The car starts at $17,500, and is for now available only in the Japanese market. Would it be well-received in the U.S. or Europe? I wager not.

A highly visible play for a specific demographic? Absolutely.

This story originally appeared on SmartPlanet.