At its recent conference, the Retail Motor Industry Federation invited former Tory MP Michael Portillo to be their after dinner speaker. Not a natural fit you might have thought, but an all round good friend of the motor industry, as it happens, for his common-sense views.
“Cars are one of the great symbols of freedom,” he told the motor industry audience. “What you do is not only fundamentally important to the economy but it is vital to people’s lives and liberty.”
This is a point of view that is particularly dear to me when applied to women drivers.
For a long time I have maintained that the car is especially important to women (often more than men) in the following situations…
- Working part time (women do this more than men); needing to travel to work at anti social hours and when car sharing doesn’t work
- For emergency shopping essentials (women do the shopping more than men; where shops outside walking distance; where no public transport; where heavy goods to carry; when home delivery not practical…)
- With multiple children in buggies (women do this more than men)
- When caring for older relatives or neighbours (women do this more than men)
- Going out at night alone (not recommended that women use public transport on their own at night)
- In rural economies without joined up public transport systems (men and women equally marooned alike)
- For those of us too scared to cycle (men, women and children in heavy traffic conditions).
Please don’t think I am not eco-friendly in any way – I am simply saying that all the much stated nonsense about doing without a car or cutting back on one comes at a very high price for many motorists particularly women.
The conclusion drawn by the Editor of the Aftermarket Magazine was that the UK’s garages should remember that when they repair a car they aren’t just getting a vehicle back on the road, they’re helping people get work, earn money and enjoy a better quality of life as a result. I’d add ‘stay safe at night’ ‘care for the family’ and ‘carry out important community roles’ from the female’s perspective.
Well said Michael Portillo and thanks for the vote of support, especially when times are so tough, in the new car sales arena.
Winner, Home Business Awards, 2008
Regional Finalist, HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards, 2007
Runner Up, The Daily Telegraph’s Trailblazers’ Business Awards, 2006
Small Business Award Winner, SAGA Magazine, 2005