Thank you Motoring Mums

A floral tribute by Katherine Stayt in Chichester
This post is for Motoring Mums everywhere on Mothering Sunday.

I’m talking about the many Mums and Grans across the UK who use their cars to ferry multiple children to school and then to their respective ballet classes, Scout groups, language lessons and lots of other places during the week.

Children with better social lives than their own, let’s also remember…

I’m talking about Mumpreneurs who turn their home into a business to supplement the family income for starters.

Their kitchen table becomes a business desk, their bedroom an office and their sitting room a call centre; heading off to weekly networking meetings to sell their products and feed the UK economy. To then return home and collect school children or just be there to welcome returning family, cooking meals and all that entails.

I’m talking about community-minded Mums that use their cars to take care of relatives and neighbours who need their help. To ferry them to hospital appointments, dentists, opticians, hairdressers and to do their shopping for them.

I’m talking about the many noble Mums who pretend that Lime and Soda is really their favourite drink at parties or restaurants because they know someone has to drive home sober and they have to be up early the next morning…

Thank_youIn summary, motoring Mums are the unpaid everyday chauffeurs for the family but without the bill at the end of the journey. They keep the family wheels turning and Mothering Sunday is our opportunity to say THANK YOU MUM.

We think you’re wonderful and our family life is the richer because of what you do.

Whereas if your Mum is no longer with you, as is the case for me, Mothering Sunday is a sad day as well as an occasion to remember all she did. And to wish I’d done a lot more to thank her when I had the chance…

FOXY Steph

Norwich’s female friendly garage and car dealer choice

Grant Long, NMG’s MD – photo ack: AM -Online.com
The Norfolk Motor Group (NMG) is a family run and FOXY Lady Approved garage and car dealership group in Norwich.

This means it is both a Female Friendly Approved business and employer in Norwich.

To join our approved network requires automotive businesses to demonstrate a minimum package of credentials which NMG has exceeded, for the following reasons.

Ladies Evenings

We first met NMG in the run up to their Ladies Evening in mid-February when more than 120 local women drivers attended this highly social evening covering important motoring-related issues such as driving attitudes & behaviour, DIY car maintenance checks and an entertaining session providing memorable advice and demonstrating self defence techniques.

These events are always fun first.

But they also inform and educate women about their critical personal safety, driving safety and vehicle safety. Everyone comes away with at least one important and timely message, and of course this reflects positively on the perceived ethics of the organiser because only businesses that truly want to give something back to their local community are prepared to invest the time and resource towards a free activity which isn’t actively selling cars.

New Car Sales, Used Car Sales and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Having said that, NMG’s main business is obviously selling and repairing cars.

They hold Kia and Suzuki franchises so if you drive these makes of cars, or would like to, in or near Norwich, this is where to come to buy them, trade them in or to have them serviced and repaired.

NMG also sell other makes and models of approved used family cars as well as Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) so it’s a business that covers the majority of transport needs.

And which women know they can trust.

Signs Of Measurable Quality

We look for all signs of measurable quality before accepting garages or car dealers on to our network. This is because used car sales and car servicing are unregulated areas in the motor industry and too few staff are licensed to do these jobs.

One of the best things about choosing a franchised dealership rather than an independent is the reassurance that they have been approved by the manufacturer they represent.

Another standard FOXY looks for is EITHER that the business (used car dealers and independent garages too) operates to a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Approved Code of Practice scheme OR is listed on the IMI Professional Register.

In this case many members of NMG staff are Master Technicians, others are trained in the latest electric and hybrid technologies and the business is a member of the CTSI’s New Car Code, Car Sales Code and Service and Repair Code operated by The Motor Ombudsman.

From a customer service point of view, NMG is open 5 and half days a week for car servicing, MOT, repairs and parts. There’s a courtesy bus, a fleet of courtesy cars and a local collection and delivery vehicle service.

Sales Departments are open 7 days a week, including most Bank Holidays, and only close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Easter Sunday.

They also support many local groups, schools, clubs & charities.

Female Feedback

The final yet critical ingredient is for FOXY to monitor female feedback in addition to NMG’s existing and very high customer satisfaction scores. By using our certificates in their business they are actively courting ALL feedback and giving females a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club as a thank you for their time. The point of this is that whilst we all expect feedback to be positive, if it wasn’t, NMG still wants to know, so they can put it right.

And perhaps that’s the main reason why this business passes our FOXY test with flying colours.

1/ Because their motto is ‘Nobody Tries Harder Than NMG…Nobody‘!
2/ Because they evidently want to do a better job for women drivers, by joining this scheme.
3/ Because they are dedicated to doing this from the top of NMG to the showroom floor – we’re dealing with NMG’s Managing Director who definitely sees this as a long term commitment.

All this is good news for women drivers in and around Norwich. If that’s you, then I invite you to visit their branches in Norwich and put your name down for a future Ladies Evening at 79 Mile Cross Lane.

They may even offer you a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club for doing this.

FOXY Steph

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For More Information

NMG’s HQ is 79 Mile Cross Lane in Norwich, NR6 6TX
Please read NMG’s business story.
Kia and family car sales tel: 01603 775100
Suzuki new and used cars tel:01603 418700
NMG family car, WAV and SUV centre tel: 01603 401044

March is a mad month for MoTs

After its third birthday your car needs an annual MoT safety check.

Just think about this for a moment.

If you drive 20,000 miles a year, that’s 60,000 miles before too many cars get any independent safety checks.

This is because many motorists do little or no car maintenance until and some 40% of all cars in England, Scotland and Wales then fail their first MoT test. Which equates to a high percentage of cars on our roads in an unsafe condition.

Now imagine if our Government gets its way and decides to delay the first MoT test for vehicles until the fourth year? As FOXY sees it, this means even more unsafe cars on our roads than before.

We cannot see how this would be a good solution for anyone, even if it could potentially save motorists a one-off £50 (per car) by delaying the MoT by one year. Think of the associated road safety and accident handling costs you’d cause here, Mr Chris Grayling MP.

And let’s also remind ourselves that the 3 year first MoT regime is the same for vans. Yet vans are more likely to do an average mileage closer to 50,000 per annum. That’s a total of 150,000 miles before a van needs an MoT. And they fail this test in higher numbers than cars at 3 years old. How long have these vans been unsafe through maintenance neglect we’d like to know.

What An MoT Includes

We were reminded about this by an infographic we liked which was supplied by Motorparks.

Today’s MoT test looks at safety elements relating to Lights, Suspension, Brakes, Tyres, Windscreens, Exhausts, Fluids, Mirrors, Seatbelts, Doors, Horns, Registration Plate, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), Bodywork and Fuel.

If you know you have a problem in any of these areas, it might be wise to get this addressed/fixed before the MoT.

Remember that your MoT test is but a safety snapshot on the day. Even if your car passed the MOT, make sure you read and know about any ‘advisories’ listed. Chances are these will need safety-related attention soon.

If it’s to do with car tyre tread levels, ask the MOT station to estimate when you’ll need new ones – you don’t have to buy them from that business of course but at least you’d have some time to save.

FOXY Advice: “I’ve driven a range of tyres and I always say buy the best ones you can afford, especially if you drive a lot. You’ll know the legal tyre tread is 1.6mm but that tyre is virtually worn out. I always go tyre shopping when my tread is closer to 3mm. I’ve seen the difference this makes in wet conditions. And even 3mm tread is a long way short of new tyres at 8mm tread.”

Remember that your MoT doesn’t include engine checks. This is what your car service does and why you need one regularly.

You probably need a car expert to make sure all’s well on the mechanical side of things before the bills start to ramp up – or your car lets you down.

And whilst YOU might be mechanically-savvy, few of us are (male or female) so a professional mechanic will likely spot engine problems we’d miss, so they can be fixed more cheaply than when the part in question (or engine if it’s been starved of good oil) finally gives up the ghost.

If after inserting in treads around tyre, you can see any of the 20p coin rim your tyre needs checking now.

Is there anything you suspect your car’ll fail its MoT test on? Maybe you could remedy this in advance?

New car tyres for instance? If your tyres don’t pass the 20p test (see side image), chances are they’re both illegal and dangerous. And could kill if you need them to stop and they can’t in time.

In all cases, the driver is responsible for the condition of the car they drive and we all know accidents happen. So best not to wait to be told that your car caused or contributed towards a bad accident. When it’s easy to run a safe and reliable car – once you know how.

FOXY Steph

If you want to know how to run a safe and reliable car, why not join The Club and we’ll get there together!

We Need More ‘Great British Women in the Car Industry’

The Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry event is set to return this year so we’re inviting your recommendations for the most promising Rising Stars for 2017.

The AutoCar Awards event was held at the SMMT offices in 2016

How To Recommend a Rising Female Automotive Star in 2017

We’re looking for nominations in these categories
+ apprentices
+ design
+ executive
+ manufacturing
+ marketing/communications
+ motorsport
+ purchasing
+ retail
+ vehicle development

There is no limit on the number (or the age for that matter) of females that friends, family or employers can nominate but they must be registered by Monday 3 April 2017 via an email of introduction to Autocar’s editorial director, Jim Holder, via jim.holder@haymarket.com.

Shortlisted winners will be chosen based on their present (and likely future) influence on both the automotive industry and within their company. Needless to say, an evident dedication to a career in the automotive industry is expected by these role models – this event has considerable potential to inspire other women to join our industry.

The Top 100 Female Rising Stars will be announced on June 21 at Twickenham Stadium thanks to this Autocar-instigated initiative in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and backed by Direct Line Group, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.

FOXY is supporting this initiative

This is all music to our ears and we’re especially delighted to see the genuine enthusiasm that Haymarket Media Group’s automotive Brand Director Rachael Prasher has in this area.

It is very pleasing to move the focus towards recognising the rising talent with a view to the many rewarding careers in the automotive industry.” she explained. “We plan to put the spotlight on its brightest female stars working across a wide variety of roles and, through our event at Twickenham Stadium, to offer insight and debate around some of the topics associated with this area of the industry.”

This is yet more welcome evidence that the industry is actively reaching out to, recognising and promoting, talented women of all ages not just young apprentices and graduates.

Please help FOXY put the spotlight on MORE of the hardworking and clever female employees in this industry who deserve further recognition and maybe an encouraging nudge up the promotion ladder. This matters massively because the UK Automotive industry is woefully short of the female talent it needs to benefit from all the advantages of a better gender balance. A happier workforce for starters plus better representation of female customers’ needs, a female insight to complement the male one and demonstrable evidence of a healthier balance sheet.

Thank you for this help.

FOXY Steph

PS: Can I help any automotive businesses improve their female friendly image or show them how to market to women? For ideas of how to do this ahead of others, please see my specialist automotive consultancy services.

FOXY Lady is a Top Ten Automotive blog

FOXY Lady blog is one of the Top 10 UK Automotive Blogs in 2017 as ranked by Vuelio from within its Social Media Index.

I write the majority of blogs myself and you’ll soon see that we’re a different sort of motoring-related blog from the norm.

Which makes this badge all the more rewarding.

What Makes FOXY Lady Blog Special?

For starters the FOXY Lady blog has a distinct female flavour and attitude. By that I mean we aren’t just about the latest cars and car reviews (which many do better than us I think) nor do we include a great deal about motor racing and F1.

Instead, we’re a female brand reflecting the FOXY attitude that motoring services can be a lot better for women than many enjoy as is. So FOXY Lady blog reflects our balance of putting the spotlight on best practice whilst being prepared to have a pop at evident motoring cowboys!

In short, FOXY Lady Blog straddles two different audiences which isn’t recommended in marketing spheres (but are inter-related for now) with four big objectives in mind.

1/ To help women buy better value for money garage and car buying services without compromising their safety.

2/ To help automotive businesses (willing to listen!) to understand what women want as consumers and employees

3/ To promote signs of measurable excellence in unregulated business areas – HM Government please note.

4/ To encourage talented and hard working females to consider careers/strive to move up the ladder in the motor industry. Because they are much needed higher up…

Somehow we need to find a way to parachute a veritable explosion of exceptional women into automotive boardrooms that remain resolutely male.

For the evidence is compelling – a more diverse board is better for the bottom line and a more diverse business can more effectively and fairly represent the best interests of a diverse customer base.

How To Become A Top Ten Vuelio Blog

The first myth I’m delighted to dispel is the assumption of some that we’ve probably nominated ourselves in this competitive field! Our presence will no doubt intrigue those that run bigger businesses, post more blogs and employ a dedicated social media resource.

So it’s for this reason that this award matter so much more for FOXY because, as important as we think our messages are for women in particular, we can’t influence the outcome here.

Yes, you have to be on Vuelio’s Social Media database to be ‘innit to winnit’ as they say but most good bloggers will be, knowing that this is where PR professionals expect to find the most influential bloggers in their sphere.

It’s all the more impressive for FOXY Lady Blog to have ‘squeezed’ into Vuelio’s Top Ten Automotive blog listing knowing we’ve been scored by Vuelio’s proprietary algorithm that ranks ALL the media in their massive database. They choose the ten most influential blogs after their automated results have been carefully reviewed by a team of in-house researchers, taking into account the likes of social sharing, topic-related content, post frequency, social media influence, traffic, design and interactivity. I hope you’re as impressed as me!

Clearly this allows Vuelio to demonstrate the strength of its blogger database alongside their associated PR and research services. It’s also true that these awards/rankings set a high benchmark within the blogging industry and act as a resource for existing and potential PR and communications’ agencies to value and enjoy.

How To Get Your Blog Considered By Vuelio

If you write an influential blog and would like it to be considered by Vuelio please submit details to the database email updates@vuelio.com or tweet them using the @Vuelio handle.

Thank you Vuelio for this important ranking and recognition for FOXY Lady blog.

FOXY Steph

A blog for women about motoring