What does your car colour say about you?

coloursAccording to specialist minor paintwork repairer ChipsAway, some car colours are more likely to attract dents and dings than others.

So it isn’t you really – it was going to happen come what may??

That’s a bit unlikely we thought but all the same, here are the alleged odds of scratches and scrapes appearing on your car they say, in reverse colour order.

Thereby representing a driving challenge for those of us owning a car in one of these colours, to prove ChipsAway wrong in future perhaps?

5. Red

Not such a popular colour as in the 80’s and 90’s but apparently making a comeback. Red cars account for nearly 10% of all repairs in this driving challenge.

4. Grey

As boring as grey sounds, unless he’s a character in a book or callet ‘Gunshot metallic’ or similar, grey is the third most ‘popular’ car colour in the UK at the moment, with 14% of the total registrations in this colour.

And, running the risk of being equally boring, ChipsAway repair precisely the same number of grey cars .

3. Blue

While blue cars have decreased in popularity over recent years – with 13% of new car registrations in 2014, they still get into their fair share of bumps, and account for 18% of total repairs!

Oh dear. That’s me (as a driver not a dent statistic – I wonder if stone chips count?)

2. Black

In second position, it’s the ‘always in fashion’ black car bringing in 21% of total repairs. A few years ago, black cars were reportedly most likely to be involved in collisions because they merge with the gloom (and the grey ones), particularly during evening hours.

Well, according to ChipsAway they are pipped to the post by…

1. Silver

Written with a suitably discreet FOXY fanfare for all involved, silver coloured cars make it into the loving hands of ChipsAway repair specialists more than any other colour, earning them the top spot, with 24% of repairs.

Or you could think of it another way – perhaps the owners of silver coloured cars just care about them more and so want to keep them looking shiny and new!

Nice try ChipsAway.

And here’s a pat on the back for drivers of white cars that have yet to make it into this league.

Could it be that white is simply a safer colour choice, helping contribute to the fact that they are also the best colour cars for holding their value?

Perhaps. Unless it’s a white van driven by a man in my experience that is…

FOXY Steph

@FOXYtweets

The sign of a female friendly employer

shelly_poster I have visited my fair share of franchised car dealerships and undoubtedly some feel instantly more female friendly than others. It’s a combination of sensory factors for me and not just to do with the presence of a friendly, usually female, receptionist.

In this instance I was visiting Shelly Motors, a FOXY Lady Approved dealership in Epsom.

I was there to carry out their first compliance visit for our garage and car dealer networks, requiring me to check their quality credentials as relevant and to measure their value for money services, cleanliness and customer welcome through minimum customer feedback.

As compliance visits are always done without an appointment I didn’t expect to meet the owner, Andrew Shelly, but I was able to chat to him, suitably refreshed and alert, after his lunchtime session in the staff gym. I was interested to hear about the role his mother played in the business, setting the female standard high, from the very top.

Shelly Motors’ Kia, Subaru and Isuzu dealership is attractive, well signed and easy to find. Parking is easy, which puts a customer in a better frame of mind than others I could mention where parking is tight and can be exceedingly stressful.

Inside is open plan, clean-looking and inviting. I was met by Farran Wooler at reception – definitely as female friendly as any woman might be and he introduced himself as Shelly’s Hire Manager.

Garage services

shelly_aftersalesLooking across the building I could see two smartly dressed female service advisers, in front of a glass screen and overlooking the garage area where MOT’s, servicing and mechanical repairs are carried out by manufacturer approved and trained technicians.

Talking to the two females, they both enjoyed their customer service roles and mentioned dealership training which was clearly a regular event for all staff.

They told me that female customers liked to see other women in their roles whereas suspicious male customers took a little longer to convince that they knew their jobs. Both were well versed in explaining the work that either needed doing or had just been done.

It’s rare to meet many females in so many different roles across a business. This is a good sign of a business recognising that women are now the dominant customer gender, many who come car shopping alone, or do their garage shopping online, even if they then send the family car with their husband.

Whatever her customer profile, she wants to feel understood, appreciated and welcome, whether this is when visiting a business website or when she ventures into a garage or car showroom. This is where the FOXY Lady Approved scheme comes into its own.

New and used car sales

shelly_hayley_IsuzuI then moved into the car sales side of the business and met Hayley Welch. Having joined as a receptionist, Hayley Welch was soon fast-tracked into car sales, specialising in selling the Isuzu range. Once again, she had attended training programmes organised by Isuzu and Subaru, held in Birmingham.

I also met Nicola Gover, a fully qualified technician in bodywork repairs. A member of the Institute of the Motor Industry, she is listed on the IMI Professional Register and, with 30 years industry experience, convinced me there is nothing she doesn’t know about bodywork repairs.

These were her [reported] words, spoken with a level of confidence that is rare but reassuring in a female!

Talent pipeline

Recognising that new talent is the lifeline of any growing business, Shelly Motors has opened their workshop facilities to motor industry apprenticeship students studying at Ewell’s Nescot College.

shelly_waitingThis community facility coupled with fantastic staff facilities, a commitment to staff training and an evidently female friendly working environment also makes Shelly Motors a female friendly employer in my book.

A female friendly dealership and a female friendly employer come together in a female mind and the presence of happy (male and) female staff is undoubtedly why Shelly Motors will continue to attract more than their fair share of female staff in future.

Young women often ask us how they might find a female friendly employer and we suggest they start with FOXY Lady Approved businesses.

Shelly Motors would be a good business model for other car dealers to emulate, especially ones that’d like to be attracting more female staff in future.

Steph Savill

FOXY Founder

Are your car tyres as safe as they should be?

tyre_hidsonsDo you know the tyre facts?

Or are you one of the four motorists surveyed recently that were found to have an illegal tyre on their car?

A recent survey carried out by the TyreSafe charity and Highways England involved data from 810 tyre centres and suggests that nearly 10 million tyres could be potentially dangerous and probably illegal on our roads today.

To make this simpler to imagine, potentially one in every four of the 35.3 million vehicles on Britain’s roads today may be driving on illegal tyres at any one time during the year.

TYRE SAFETY FACTS

The consequences

If your tyres are illegal due to DRIVER neglect (unintentional neglect is often the case), these are the possible consequences. They are ALL serious.

1 You could cause an accident, injuring others in the process.

2 Your insurance cover could be invalid.

3 You can face a fine of up to £2,500 per illegal tyre.

4 You risk three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

There are no excuses here. The driver is responsible. Even if she did think her husband, partner or Dad had checked her tyres for her.

And the first consequence would be VERY hard to live with when you discovered your tyres weren’t as safe as they could be.

So here’s what to do…

Tread depth

tyre-depth-chartIn law your tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre.

To check if your tyres are legal, just take the 20p test.

1/ Park the car with the front wheels turned so you can easily see the tread.

2/ Take a 20p coin and insert it into the main tyre grooves at several places around the circumference of the tyre and across its width. If the outer band of the 20p coin is visible whenever you check the tread, your tread depth may be illegal and you should have them checked by a qualified tyre specialist.

FOXY advice: Just because 1.6mm is the law doesn’t mean it’s good enough, especially in the wet.
For example, when your tyre tread is 3mm, your tyre is 78% worn. When your tyre tread is 2mm your tyre is approximately 94% worn. Look at the chart above, please think about this and where in doubt, ask the professionals…

Air pressure

FG_Barnes_tyre1Is your car’s tyre pressure at the right level for the car and load? Check with your car’s owners’ manual or the sticker in the fuel flap or the inside edge of the drivers door.

FOXY advice: Too much pressure is as bad as too little as it affects the handling of your car and therefore your ability to control it when you need to most. Do this monthly, as a weekend chore. If you don’t, you could be using more fuel than necessary as well as increasing wear and tear. A local FOXY Lady Approved garage and/or tyre centre (see links below) will show you how to do this of course.

Tyre condition

Drivers are advised to look out for signs of irregular wear or damage such as cuts, lumps or bulges.
If you don’t: You risk driving with a defective tyre which could lret you down at speed and deflate quickly. And instead of paying for a puncture repair, you’ll need an expensive new tyre or set of tyres as they should be the same on each axle.

FOXY advice: Get into the habit of always walking around your car before you get in it, just checking the look of your tyres. Try not to ‘kerb’ them when parking as this causes wear and a significant knock could damage alloys and the tyre fitting too. If a tyre looks suspect in any way, either check it yourself then, or get it checked at a good FOXY Lady Approved garage or tyre centre without delay(see below for links).
______________________

TyreSafe believes the main reason so many millions of motorists are taking risks with their tyre safety lies in a lack of awareness and driver education.

“TyreSafe does not believe millions of drivers are intentionally putting others at risk – it is more a question of educating motorists to take responsibility for their safety and that of others on the road,” said Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman.

FOXY Tyre Safety Month Campaign

Approved-icon-tyreservicesIn an attempt to raise awareness levels among women drivers, FOXY Lady Drivers Club is adding its support to the TyreSafe campaign by encouraging ALL women drivers to get their car tyres checked by FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Professionals during October 2015.

Dubbed Tyre Safety Month because October is usually the wettest one of the year, FOXY will be working with its network of FOXY Lady Approved garages and tyre centres to reward women who are driving cars with LEGAL tyres.

After having them checked they will receive a free online gift membership of the Club, worth £23.

Any ladies needing replacement tyres will only receive their gift after having new tyres fitted and when FOXY partners confirm their complete tyre safety bill of health.

You can check to see which tyre centres are listed on the new female friendly Tyre Services Register.

You can see which garages are part of the FOXY Lady Approved ‘service and repair’ network.

You can check to see which garages and car dealerships are organising Tyre Safety events for women.

Dazzling Goodwood, a heatwave and dream cars

steph_goodwoodHow wonderful to take a day out of the office when the sun shines. Such was our day at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show courtesy of Peugeot UK.

If you haven’t been to Goodwood, this video will give you a feel for the whole experience.

Rumour has it that some Top Gear refugees are looking at organising a motor show, like CarFest perhaps? If this ever happens, I can’t see this ever rivalling Goodwood for class, memorable location or facilities.

It is quite simply one of the slickest-run motoring events there is and no surprise that one in four visitors was, allegedly, female.

It is a female friendly venue and I can’t say that about most of the other venues of old…

Clearly I was there to celebrate some dream Peugeots, best illustrated in this excellent whistlestop Vine tour.

This included my first look at the new Peugeot 308 Gti which we hope to review, on behalf of women drivers, sooner rather than later.

This was also my introduction to Peugeot’s wacky and impressive Vision GT car.

perfectpeugeotAnd having been asked to nominate our #PerfectPeugeot we chose the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2 in the photo.

This was driven in the Lombard RAC Rally in 1985 & 1986 by Mikko Sundström and his co-driver Voitto Silander (a fourth place in 86 and a prang in 85…).

I’m told it’s very rare, valuable and oozes heritage as well as terrific turbo torque.

If you haven’t been to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed yet look out for next year’s dates and get them in the diary. The weekend days have more racing but I loved the Thursday because the traffic and crowds were less, the facilities were fresh, the staff enthusiastic (surely they’d be weary by Sunday…) and you had time to look at the new car models.

With new car sales seemingly ever on the up, this is one of the best places for #carshopping all makes. Or all the really important ones like Peugeot.

FOXY Steph

UK garages charge women more for car repairs

car-repairs-at-rip-off-garagesBritish women are charged an average of £45 more than men for car repairs, an investigation by ClickMechanic has found. ClickMechanic, the online marketplace for car repairs, examined independent car garages across the UK and found that a standard repair costing a man £571 will typically cost a woman £616, an increase of 8%.

Male and female mystery shoppers requested quotes to replace the clutch of a 2011 Ford Focus from 182 garages across ten UK cities. The investigation found that eight out of the ten cities charged women a ‘female premium’ and only 6% of the surveyed garages gave a consistent quote to both male and female customers.

“For every female car-owner in the UK this report will come as an unwelcome surprise,” says Andrew Jervis, Co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic. “While the vast majority of mechanics strive to provide honest and reliable quotes, these results show that there is a worrying minority of garages failing to do so. There is a desperate need across the industry for transparency and consistency in price in order to establish trust with consumers of both sexes.”

Birmingham repair garages charged the highest female premium at 31%, closely followed by Manchester (28%) and Glasgow (20%). Only two out of the ten surveyed cities bucked the trend and charged men more for a repair, with Sheffield and Edinburgh garages quoting males 5% and 19% more than females respectively.

The investigation uncovered some price-hiking across the country, regardless of the customer’s gender. On average, garages quoted both men and women £594 to carry out the work, £80 more (16%) than the £514 recommended by industry standard guidelines provided by car manufacturers, parts providers and trade bodies.

“Customers, both male and female, rely on mechanics to be accurate with their pricing. We recently carried out a study that found roughly half of people (45%) have no idea how much common repairs on an average household car should cost. While there is a small number of cowboys taking advantage of the fact that most consumers just don’t know how much their car repairs should cost, most mechanics are reliable and trustworthy. These results should therefore encourage the car repair industry to focus its efforts on making sure mechanics have the best possible tools in place to provide reliable quotes.”

FOXY COMMENT:

This survey confirms what we have suspected for ages but couldn’t prove. And few believed us. Clearly there is no excuse for price-hiking of any kind with the technology available to tell garages how long a job should take. All they have to do is add the cost of the parts they choose (that’s another area for discussion) and their labour rate which includes their profit presumably.

Why can’t the motor industry be more professional here? Yet again it’s the few cowboys letting the majority good guys down and doing untold damage to the industry’s reputation in women’s minds.And in so doing the women steer clear of garages when they should be using them more, not less, from a safety point of view.

Nothing short of regulation will do the trick we say, especially if one of the unintended consequences of this report is to encourage women to choose cheap repair quotes in future, regardless of whether he/she is licensed or not…

guestreviewThis is a Guest Blog from ClickMechanic, an online marketplace making it quick and easy for drivers to get online quotes and book a vetted mechanic using an online quoting engine so users know how much they should really be paying.

The survey was carried out during April-May 2015 across 182 locations in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Edinburgh. Male and female mystery shoppers separately requested quotes for replacing the clutch plate, cover and concentric slave cylinder (release bearing) of a Ford Focus TDCi 2.0L 2011.

A blog for women about motoring