There's no denying that SUVs and crossover utility vehicles are popular--and getting more so, if 2014 sales charts are any indication.

So the upcoming Tesla Model X all-electric seven-seat SUV should do very well when it finally hits the market this year after numerous delays.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has even said that the Model X might ultimately outsell the Model S, the all-electric luxury sport sedan that's its sole current model.

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But the Model S is bought largely by men: 85 percent of its buyers are male, according to registration data analyzed by IHS Automotive.

Women, however, are among the most avid buyers of crossovers and SUVs--and they may be key to the sales success of the Model X.

That's the suggestion, at least, put forth by writer Dana Hull in the San Jose Mercury News.

Tesla Model X prototype in Culver City, California [photo by Instagram user jmtibs]

Tesla Model X prototype in Culver City, California [photo by Instagram user jmtibs]

Hull notes that while women are the listed buyers of 39 percent of all vehicles, the share rises to 44 percent for SUVs.

At the company's June shareholder meeting, Musk told one questioner that the company is "paying more attention to the needs of women in the Model X."

The company's designers "probably got a little too guy-centric" in the creation of the Model S, he continued, and "we're hoping to correct that with the X."

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While smaller and more affordable compact and even subcompact crossovers account for the highest market growth in light trucks, even full-size SUVs are logging better numbers than in years past.

Personal experience tells this writer that one of the attractions of crossovers for women is the higher seating position, known in the industry as the "H-point". (It refers to the height of a driver's hip above the ground.)

Statistically, women are shorter than men, and a higher seating position helps raise all shorter drivers to a point where it's easier to look out over traffic ahead.

Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show

(The problem exacerbates itself, of course, in mixed traffic--the more SUVs there are on the roads, the more other drivers feel the need to drive taller cars themselves to see over them.)

The greater utility of SUVs and crossovers is also appealing to couples and families, in which a woman is often the final decision-maker on which vehicle to purchase, according to sales research.

Among other features of the Model X, the so-called falcon doors that lift vertically to open the entire side of the car were particularly appealing--although skiing and other sports enthusiasts have questioned whether that design will preclude the fitting of a roof rack to the Model X.

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Tesla said last month that anyone ordering a Model X now is unlikely to take delivery until well into calendar year 2016.

The company has yet to show the final production version of the Model X, which is now expected to enter volume production in the third quarter of this year.


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