Drew Harwell:

Even as women rise to power at the country’s biggest automakers and help set new sales records for cars and trucks, the auto world still struggles to represent anyone other than just car guys.
 “It’s somewhat transformational. (The industry is) seeing women aren’t just getting in the side doors of these trucks. They’re buying them, driving them, using them,” said Marc Bland, a vice president for IHS Automotive, an industry research group. “The manufacturers have recognized it’s time to change some of the stereotypical approaches. But change, as always, takes time.”
 Women bought nearly 40 percent of the more than 16 million cars and trucks sold nationwide last year, up from about 36 percent five years ago, J.D. Power data show. Citing a study that said women spend $300 billion a year on vehicles and maintenance, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group of top automakers, called women “the engine of the auto economy.”