Tag Archives: FOXY Lady Drivers Club

Treating men and women differently

genderWhen you touch on or even mention any gender related subject, such as running a motoring club for women as I do, I accept I won’t please everyone.

Maybe it’s the competitive or tribal nature of our society or inadequacies in our education system but we seem to be increasingly ruled by a politically correct agenda. One that makes judgements for us, regardless of our freedom of choice, based on often emotional and limiting views to do with equality and feminism.

I am not sure why this lobby should trump our freedom of choice as genders but anecdotal research tells me that many think equality means treating boys and girls/men and women the same.

It also seems that the word feminism has a very bad (and unfair) reputation in some male and female minds.

I now detect a new undercurrent, thought by men and women alike it seems, that women should ‘man’ up and stop (being portrayed in the media perhaps) whining and be exposed to the same criticism as men. My context here is motoring of course, where the irony of this is profound after women drivers have been the source of criticism for years…

But fair or not, it’s simply wrong to lump an entire gender into one for convenience, as age, marital status and many other factors affect our lives. To label us all as bad drivers when patently some are and most aren’t is clearly wrong. And, needless to say, despite the PC wish to treat us us all the same, women are not the same as men so this will NEVER work.

Women, families and careers

Just over 20 years ago I was a Director in a corporate world who knew she needed to be better than most men to get on in her career. So she did what it took to get to the Board and it cost her a marriage. Then came the family years, when she tried to balance a full time job, a new relationship, studying for an Executive MBA whilst looking after a step-teenager and toddler. Unsurprisingly she couldn’t do it all, her health finally suffered and one way or another this led her ie me to working for myself.

The story is much more complicated than that of course but my abiding memory is of a man who I wanted to impress at work in the early days. When he finally complimented me on some work I’d done he concluded by saying I could consider myself ‘an honorary male’. That’s when loud warning bells started to ring. Was this what I really wanted to hear? It wasn’t of course but many females seem to think they need to outbloke the guys to scale the corporate ladder.

Equal rights, equality and feminism

I never wanted to be a Queen Bee in any boardroom, I just wanted to demonstrate and flex my ability to good effect and have this recognised. But it isn’t easy being female in a male world where men set the agenda and we’re expected to follow it. This is more evident than ever in the masculine motor industry and if you don’t work in it or have experience of this, trust me, it’s different from any other environment I have known. Question the male status quo and you can be seen as tricky…

One thing my ‘honorary male’ experience instilled in me from that day onwards was a love of equal rights, equality and feminism – each of them relevant and supportive in different situations.

Let’s start with the easiest one of these. I imagine that most reasonable individuals, regardless of gender, believe in equal rights when it comes to pay, jobs, education, training, opportunities and parenting responsibilities. Now, reread this previous sentence using the word ‘feminism’ instead of ‘equal rights.’ and you have my definition of feminism. And if you think about this, it benefits men as much as women, particularly in the area of parental responsibilities. So why is feminism so maligned?

And whilst it is tempting to venture down the route that suggests equality is good for all this ignores the fact that boys and girls are as different as men and women remain in later life. Thank goodness for that! And because girls, boys, men and women aren’t the same as each other either we mustn’t try to pigeon-hole each other into ‘pink and frilly’ or ‘distinguished and mechanical’ stereotypes either.

Let us be who we are, not what others think we should be…

The PC lobby

I was reminded about all this when I posted some Government stats about women being the safer motoring gender (ratio of young men:women drivers causing death or serious accidents 2:1 in 2013) in this comments section. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11317822/Government-drink-driving-ads-must-show-women-behind-the-wheel.html

It appears to some that if you stick up for your gender, you are to be dismissed as suffering from misandry or misogyny. And that if you don’t stick up for your gender, this is being called balanced? What utter nonsense.

What a shame it is that some men and women earnestly believe that we should all be treated the same regardless of our differences. Especially knowing the educational outcomes of teaching boys and girls separately – where the boys blossom as a result. Or where girls might choose to play with dolls not fire engines? Or boys with cars not dolls?

In short, why not let girls be girls and boys be boys or vice versa if that’s what THEY want? I don’t see the fuss here.

Gender and motoring

I was interested to read an article about this that Erin Baker wrote this weekend in The Telegraph’s Cars supplement. She acknowledges having taken an overly harsh view of ‘weak’ women drivers in a previous Womens Hour interview but now admits to having some off days herself in this respect.

Welcome to the female motoring world Erin where honesty is what women usually do best. I’m not saying that women have weaknesses thrust upon them that men don’t but it’s my experience that being a new mum, bereaved, divorced, or involved in an accident or road rage incident undoubtedly affects confidence levels when driving. And if this isn’t a gender issue, then women seem more likely to admit to this than men.

Wasn’t it just recently that a women was killed in a car park in this country because a male motorist literally fought her for a car park space?

I’d much prefer us to take the heat out of gender-based debates to do with motoring and have a truce based on facts and some degree of mutual compassion even.

Let’s start by admitting that some women are better drivers than men and vice versa… That’s fair and balanced isn’t it?

Then let’s get this in proportion. Yes an increasing number of women are committing offences, causing accidents and drinking and driving but there are still more men than women doing this (and the numbers/mileage covered is getting ever closer…).

Why not name and shame the bad motorists in future? Our local police told our local newspaper about a lady that was prosecuted for drink driving, for example?

But let’s remember that the motor industry is one of the last male bastions in many female minds, deterring women from being the regular customers and employees our garages and car dealers need.

It’s simply wrong that so many females still feel the need to take a man with them to haggle a deal for a new car. Or that so many of us still feel the need to ask a man to test drive a car for us or take it to the garage instead of us?

Yes you could tell women to ‘man’ up but the industry as as much to blame for not being more female friendly here..

And with the number of women drivers about to exceed the number of men on UK roads (in 2-3 years they say), this is surely a wake up call for this industry to respond to the female business case?

After all, we’re increasingly wealthy, independent and demanding ie it isn’t just me that expects higher standards in terms of quality, value, cleanliness and customer services (than many garages and car dealers offer).

Making a female motoring choice

“By walking the female [business] path you end up making things better for women AND men.” Paco Underhill, author of ‘What Women Want’ 2010

If some women want to save money, be better informed about their motoring choices and enjoy access to cheaper car insurance and cars as well as friendly support services (which FOXY Lady Drivers Club offer in terms of driver training, ongoing practical advice and women’s garage evenings) surely they should be able to enjoy this without being made to feel weak or inferior in any way?

But if this approach doesn’t appeal to you (maybe you think that better rates and a helping hand for women drivers are patronising gestures in some way) rest assured you don’t have to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club! Although if you did, you could help me do a better job for other females by sharing/contributing your know how to mutual female benefit*.

In short, please have a heart when it comes to women drivers in the year ahead. We’re doing our best to make things better in motoring circles for females – as I see it, male motorists will then benefit from our raising the quality and services bar for all!

FOXY Steph

*Providing you NEVER take a stance that rubbishes women drivers un-specifically (yes some deserve reprimanding as do some men but let’s be specific not emotional) or unfairly. That is my unspoken rule – to encourage women towards being better drivers by using the carrot not the stick approach.

Special Citroen offers for Club members

citroen_offersCitroen is the FIRST car manufacturer to give Club members a 10% discount off their best dealership offers.

Check them out if you are considering buying new or nearly new.

Members will do better buying NEW with this combination of deals in August 2015.

Choose a new Citroen on the following cash or HP rates, as below, and members are eligible for the Club’s 10% discount.

For example, that’s a further £799 off the already reduced C1 below, and so on.

That’s a fantastic deal for Club members (who need to have been members for 3 months+) and any family members living at the same address.

Terms apply: vehicles must be ordered pronto and delivered BEFORE 30 September 2015; all offers are subject to availability and eligibility (you need a form from us to prove your membership joining date); quote FOXY affinity reference RT808 in a Citroen main dealership to confirm discounted deal (they might need to check this in their offers folder).

The latest offers include:

Citroen C1

+ Citroën C1 available from just £7,995 OTR, including a £350 Citroën Reward
+ Citroën C1 VTi models from £99 per month on Elect 4 Personal Lease
+ 4.9% APR representative finance for 3 years with no minimum deposit available on selected models

Citroen C3

+ Citroën C3 available from just £8,995 OTR, including a £2,080 Citroën Reward
+ From £149 per month with Elect 4 Personal Lease
+ Citroën C3 Selection special edition models available with no VAT and 3 years 0% APR representative with a 10% deposit
+ 0% APR representative finance for 3 years with 10% minimum deposit available on selected models

Citroen C3 Picasso

+ Citroën C3 Picasso available from just £11,485 OTR, including a £2,005 Citroën Reward
+ From £159 per month with Elect 4 Personal Lease
+ Selection special edition models available with no VAT and 3 years 0% APR representative with just 10% deposit
+ 0% APR representative finance for 3 years with 10% minimum deposit or 4 years with 20% minimum deposit available on selected models
+ No VAT equivalent Citroën Reward on Citroën C3 Picasso Selection special editions

Citroen C4

+ Citroën C4 available from just £13,645 OTR, including £1,000 Citroën Reward
+ From £219 per month on Elect 4 Personal Lease 
+ 0% APR representative finance for 3 years with 10% minimum deposit or 4 years with 20% minimum deposit available on selected models
+ No VAT equivalent Citroën Reward on Citroën C4 Selection special editions

Citroen C4 Cactus

+ C4 Cactus available from just £12,990 OTR
+ From £149 per month on Elect 4 Personal Lease
+ £1,500 deposit contribution with Elect 3 & Elect 4 finance
+ Citroën C4 Cactus models available with 4.9% APR representative with Elect 3 finance with no minimum deposit

Terms apply: Vehicles must be ordered pronto and delivered BEFORE 30 September 2015; all offers are subject to availability and eligibility (you need a form from us to prove your membership joining date); quote FOXY affinity reference RT808 in a Citroen main dealership to confirm discounted deal (they might need to check this in their offers folder, or suggest they call us on 01903 879988).

FOXY Steph
August 2015

NB: These are cash/HP offers reserved for Club members after 3 months membership and can be extended to family members living at the same address.

The meaning of FOXY

foxy_lady.mugNearly ten years ago, my husband and I (why do I sound like the Queen in my head when I read this back…) decided to set up a motoring club for women and struggled to find a name we were both happy with.

Me, being a marketer, wanted a business name I really liked. My husband, being a man, thought we needed a name that said what the business would do.

I didn’t much like his plain ideas including ‘Motoring services for women,’ ‘A female car club,’ and one that linked lipstick and dipstick too close for comfort at the time.

Bloke-like brilliance

After countless variations and lots of wasted time this became a big problem for me. Until, in a bloke-like stroke of brilliance, he suggested we add a female-ey adjective to lighten his combinations. I can’t remember how long it took to get to the foxy lady combo but once heard it hit the spot, sounded like an instantly female brand, gave me the ‘shrewd and discerning’ attitude I needed to be taken seriously in the motor industry and FOXY Lady Drivers Club was born.

Back in 2004, before social media had been invented (yes we didn’t have to post stuff like this everyday then…) few of us were all that sophisticated when it came to searching at Google. Nor was Google I’d say or they surely wouldn’t have parked us out in the dark ages, somewhere totally unfindable for starters haha…

As a result, those interested females who’d heard me speak in the early days and remembered the FOXY Lady bit of our name (but not the precise domain name) quickly found themselves in deep, murky and often deeply offensive territory – the sort of sites that women we wanted to sell to wouldn’t dream of visiting…

On the other hand, we were probably a good excuse for some men to say…
‘Sorry dear, I was simply looking for that motoring website you liked…’

And I’ve often wondered how a fledgling Richard Branson would have fared if he’d launched his Virgin brand online in those bygone days. We did lose some potential customers I’m sad to say, through sheer shock…but we’ve now climbed the Google rankings and most women know to add a motoring phrase anyway…

Priceless PR

I also remember phoning the Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 programme from a motorway service station in our early days. I’m not sure about the precise topic but it was something that rubbished women drivers (how unusual I hear you say…) and I wanted to have my say.

My son and husband headed for the Little Chef whilst I braved the phone with the sound of motorway traffic ringing in my ears. ‘We’ll call you back in ten minutes’ they said and did. Whilst I was waiting to be put through I heard Jeremy announce ‘We now have Steph Savill from the Sexy Lady Drivers Club’ on the phone. This broke the ice, we both laughed and I had the opportunity to say our proper business name, to explain what it has come to mean (as in shrewd and discerning) and even get this repeated back. Priceless PR for FOXY as it happened!

Yes some men dream of scantily clad women when they hear FOXY Lady (and before they see me) and yes a few females think we’re patronising our own by doing what we do for women… Happily they’re not typical of the rest of us who muddle along nicely, sharing feedback, helping others, comparing notes/deals and enjoying the certainty that a FOXY approved business has met our fussy quality standards first.

Awards and associations

And we’ve been able to use FOXY in other areas as we’ve grown. The Club is now a not for profit organisation sponsored by the FOXY Choice website (the pick of/the female choice etc) and a network of female friendly garages, repairers, used and new car dealers.

And recently a new website called FOXY Lady Insurance, after that dreadful Gender Directive in 2012, where we’re identifying and promoting female friendly insurance brokers so women can enjoy personal service here in future.

steph_woty2Happily FOXY continues to be fun, we’ve won a few awards and once heard our name is rarely forgotten.

All we need is a bit more of that Jeremy Vine-like PR and more business partners to like what we’re up to and help us make motoring safer, cheaper and less stressful in future for more women drivers across the UK.

FOXY Steph

New Year, New Membership

welcomepack_1401In 2014 FOXY Lady Drivers Club returns to an annual membership subscription.

Strictly speaking the Club is in its tenth year of trading although things have changed a lot.

We first opened our doors for business in December 2004 with no members and only Nationwide Autocentres supporting us.

The early days were tough and, with the benefit of hindsight, we were too ambitious; opting for a membership model that was more paper based than online, including a quarterly magazine.

We struggled to make financial sense of that publication because of the printing costs and sadly we upset some FOXY Review fans when we decided to make this an online newsletter in 2007/8. We had to do this and it helped us cope when the recession hit.

In August 2008, we launched a network of female friendly garages, run by sister website FOXY Choice.

Having reduced the Club’s operating costs as explained, by a lucky coincidence we were well placed to roll out a lifetime online subscription offer for just £23 recognising the fairly immediate impact the recession had on so many female motorists.

Despite the length of the recession we stuck to our guns until the end of 2013. All members who previously signed up to a lifetime subscription (as either a Classic or Online member) will have this honoured into the future, subject to our Club Rules and providing they keep us posted with any address or email changes of course.

To cement our business values, the Club finally became a not for profit organisation in 2012, funded by the garages and repairers that subscribe to what is now known as the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly network of garages and repairers. Having now put a financial model in place for the Club in future, we now plan to raise additional income to fund our not for profit campaigning activities (to remind the industry that women drive as well as men and might have different needs…) by returning to an Annual subscription from 1 January 2014.

Annual membership in 2014

For just £35 per year members can enjoy VIP services at female friendly garages, repairers and car dealers plus exclusive Club services and special offers including…

A new car buying discount and advisory scheme
A UK network of FOXY Lady Approved garages, repairers and car dealers
Exclusive moneysaving offers
A friendly motoring helpdesk for jargon-free practical advice
A ‘no-fault’ accident assistance support service
FOXY Review – a monthly e-newsletter with advice, information, car reviews and feedback

In addition, new joiners in January will receive a Welcome pack including their membership card, Members Booklet of services, a copy of The Girl’s Car Handbook, a FOXY pink pen and a windscreen sticker.

FOXY Steph

Vintage car buying tips for women

ds_steyningThere are plenty of good looking cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s that hold their own in terms of style and value. For example, this is a photo of a very stylish Citroen DS (the original model) from that period, taken in Steyning this summer. Anything much earlier is likely to be too impractical for modern conditions.

Vintage cars need to be regularly serviced by a garage that knows how to look after them. Not all garages or dealerships do.

Whilst it may be difficult to find a local garage you can trust, once you do, maintenance costs are generally low compared to a modern car because of the absence of complex on board systems.

Many older cars can be competent ‘daily drivers’ but they will require covered parking to maintain their reliability and value.

What to look out for?

Our advice is to

+ Buy a car with good older car parts availability such as MG, Lotus, Mini, BMW, Citroen and Alfa Romeo.

+ Join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to help you find the right garage specialist to look after the car, to benefit from insurance discounts and to have someone on hand to advise you when you have a problem.

+ Look out for evidence of corrosion. On some old cars even the glass rusts so get an expert to check an old car out before buying. Depending on the car it may make financial sense to join the relevant owners club to find that expert BEFORE you buy the car of your dreams, not after. It may cost c£30 but this is well worth it to make sure you aren’t buying a dud.

What questions should you ask when buying?

+ The car’s history is important. What has been spent on the car over the past five years for example (or the last 20,000 miles)?

+ Why is the car for sale? Ask for permission to speak to previous owners prior to buying.

+ Ask about difficult to source components such as tyres. Where can you buy parts for example.

What are the common pitfalls when buying vintage cars?

+ Buying a pretty-looking car on sight without asking an expert to check it over first.

+ The driving experience – make sure you take a long test drive to feel the difference in handling.

+ Not knowing what the likely mechanical/rust problems are with that model.

+ Buying a Maserati and expecting Morris Minor bills.

What are the pros and cons of owning a vintage car

The pros include:

+ Style and individuality.

+ Admiring looks in car parks.

+ Making friends with car owners like you.

+ It’s likely to be an investment – as a rule, vintage cars don’t depreciate, providing you look after them.

+ Cost of ownership – insurance is generally much cheaper from a classic car insurer and you’ll get a good discount if you’re a member of a car club.

+ VED tax exemptions – if your car was built before January 1 1973 it’s exempt from road tax and after April next year this’ll apply to one manufactured before January 1 1974.

But there are several significant cons to bear in mind…

+ A vintage/classic car will rust away if you can’t garage it.

+ It’s unlikely to match modern car reliability.

+ It’s unlikely to have power steering (although some cars may have this).

+ It may not have power assisted brakes (which results in a totally different style of driving*).

+ It’s highly unlikely to have air conditioning so de-misting can be quite a problem.

+ Most won’t have central locking, electric windows, sound systems and so on.

+ Unless it’s a 60s super car, it won’t handle as well as a modern car.

+ Parking won’t be as easy.

+ You’ll need extra security if you’re ever parking in a city or out of doors; vintage cars were built before car theft became the problem it is today.

*You need to allow for more braking distance to accommodate old brake technology

If we haven’t put you off, and we’d commend your determination anyway, we wish you all the very best of motoring in what we hope becomes a much loved member of the family…. providing you buy a good example of an older car in the first place, and then ask FOXY to help run it as economically as possible in future!

Paul Savill

i/c FOXY Helpdesk