WI members want female friendly insurance brokers

Last night I spoke at a Womens Institute meeting and it was very jolly as always.

My talks vary, always about women and motoring of course, but this one was to include tips and anecdotes which I am not short of, gleaned from FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

This being a recession and assuming that most WI members are fairly foxy ladies (meaning shrewd, canny and astute) I was surprised at the reaction to my advice that they used a search comparison website for the lowest car insurance premium out there.

Precising my interpretation of their ‘stuff and nonsense’ feedback I was told in no uncertain terms that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys and that was where all this shopping around was taking them.

The majority said they wanted personal service, an office to visit, not online and the reassurance that they would be looked after at claims time. Even if it cost them a tad more.

NFU are brilliant (but don’t cover O70s one told me??), SAGA is all Commercial Union now, apparently and Castle Cover weren’t interested (more than one said this) are the comments that stick with me from my busy night.

RAC  did well (my point is always that cars that breakdown at home are not covered by most of the basic policies) and the AA had its fans too. Neither will be the cheapest options out there but their brands were a source of reassurance I was told.

Now perhaps members of the WI aren’t as online as they might be and perhaps they can afford to pay a bit over the odds but I was encouraged to hear that they recognised that this ever downhill spiral of car insurance premiums is in nobody’s best interest other than perhaps the search comparison websites as they line their pockets with what would otherwise be broker commissions paying for them to provide the sort of personal service we are being encouraged to go without in future.

You can trust WI members to tell it as it is and to identify the sort of female friendly service they would prefer!

A red car for Valentine’s Day?

We all know that new cars have been churning off production lines for some time because it’s cheaper to do this than stop the plant, lay off the workers and so on. What optimism on the part of manufacturers like Toyota to have scheduled so many new models in 2009 for example – did I read 10 in the trade press recently?

But the backlog of unsold new cars is now so massive, with unregistered stock going back some years, that manufacturers like Mini, Honda and others have had to do the unthinkable, closing down for months at a time.

To see what I am talking about, see the Google Maps photo of Upper Heyford Airfield, near Bicester.  This is a close up of something that seemed strange to me – the number of red cars there…

Now we don’t know how old the Google Maps snapshot is but I do know that it has been a long time since red cars (other than Ferraris) have been in fashion so it would be reasonable to imagine that this stock is a couple of years old, at least.

Yet recently I have noticed more and more car ads coming through with red models featured  – could it be an attempt to shift these red cars by repositioning demand? Or am I being overly suspicious about what is simply a Valentines Day-related colour coordinated February Promotion?

Now either these red cars near Bicester are old stock and new car buyers need to understand what this is likely to mean (car electrics/brakes don’t like this neglect and their first MOT is due at the end of the third year after manufacture not registration) or the stock is more recent than I realise because someone has stuck their neck out to try to recreate a new demand for red cars in future, before buying the paint for the production line.

This will be interesting to observe, knowing from members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club that their preferred colours (in a December 2008  survey) were Silver, Black and Blue in that order.

More grist to the Buy A New Car Now AM Magazine industry campaign as the deals will be fantastic of course although sadly many of these cars are bigger models than most of us want to buy nowadays for cost and CO2 reasons.

We live in interesting times – foxy women drivers could do really well as long as they know what to look for, they do their new car shopping homework thoroughly and buy from one of the best and female friendly car dealerships (via FOXY Choice, of course).

FOXY

Red cars at Upper Heyford

Confused messages about new cars

I am in two minds about the recent ‘scrap an old car, buy a new car’ initiative that the industry is suggesting.

The French did this very well – they did all they could to save their car industry as you might expect…

However, as a result, it you want to buy a 2CV (cult classic car) today, and other Citroen and Renault specials, there are more of them in the UK (where they have been preserved not scrapped) as the Citroen Car Club will testify.

However the UK car industry is worth £200bn a year, 200k are employed in production and a further 580k in associated sales and maintenance roles.  Think about the economic multiplier effect here – we can’t afford to let our industry go the wall through inactivity.

But motorists, including members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club, surely shouldn’t be made to feel like second class citizens because they choose to drive older cars. As long as these are well maintained and regularly serviced  for safety and environmental reasons, why shouldn’t they be able to enjoy depreciation-free motoring providing the annual repair bills aren’t prohibitive.

Yes I do feel there can be a social stigma attached to driving older cars yet the employment and transport statistics suggest that the UK motor retail industry could still stay alive by concentrating its resources on maintaining these older vehicles at MOT, servicing and repair time.

Granted it’d be a different industry with fewer and smaller new car dealerships and with more people employed in the garage side of the business keeping older cars on the roads for longer. Why not?

This would be good for female motorists, with franchised dealerships competing head on with the independents to the advantage of the consumer.

Is that really such a bad thing?

Certainly FOXY Choice would come into its own, as the only website to promote quality garage service credentials and female friendly service levels to suit all women drivers, their cars, budget and the occasion.

Let’s hope the industry might discuss these ideas with the Government in advance of announcing them in future.

Better not to build up car manufacturer and UK dealership hopes to then have them dashed by Lord Mandelson who isn’t convinced (like me)  that a scrappage (what a dreadful word) scheme might be the right way forward in these times.

FOXY


It’s tough being a woman driver…

Just to remind me that what we are trying to achieve for women drivers is still a worthwhile mission, a visitor to the FOXY Choice website this weekend left us a message to  confirm that many of us continue to feel poorly treated in new car dealerships and used car showrooms.

This is what she had to say to FOXY Choice after her visit…

Love the site but am not surprised that when I tried to find women friendly car dealerships near me there were none within a reasonable distance.


I found your link when I was trying to find if there were any dealerships that were promoting not treating women drivers like idiots.


Having had a car through work for 7 years and never had to try to buy my own before, I have been absolutely horrified by the attitude I have met over the past few weeks.


For example, I had an official Used Mini dealership in central London tell me that two used cars of different ages, different mileages and clearly different owners would drive exactly the same as they were the same model and then tell me that it was ‘better’ to put a small deposit down for a finance deal.


You would do better doing a name and shame list!


Good luck trying to find the good guys out there… xxxxx “


Whilst I do not know any more than this, it is clear that she was offended by this treatment and the word ‘patronising’ sounds like a fair description here.

I was able to explain to her that we do name and shame offending businesses within FOXY Lady Drivers Club where it is crystal clear than those in charge couldn’t care less about a member’s welfare or her repeat business.

Fortunately I can still count on both hands the numbers of instances where a sub-standard garage or car dealership has continued to behave badly after FOXY’s intervention.  A significant percentage of these complaints have been to do with used car dealers where the female motorist has been led to believe that she has had little come back in law,  after the car she has just bought has let her down and will be very expensive to repair.

These names remain on our blacklist and the stories and consequences are compelling reasons why we continue to  spread the word about making a wise choice of female friendly garage suppliers and/or new car dealership in future.

Very cold today.  No problems getting into the office here though ;-).

FOXY

FOXY Lady Drivers Club – the only everyday motoring club for women

FOXY Choice – the only garage services website to help women identify the best and female friendly local businesses at MOT, car servicing and repair times

FOXY Promise – a voluntary female friendly commitment to ‘never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell customers services they do not need or want’

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