Tag Archives: automotive

Exploring FOXY Lady Blog

FOXY Lady blog is all about motoring and (by and large) written by and for women. Our new blog has moved to the FOXYLadyDrivers.com domain but you can still search our blog archive (2006-2017) via the lefthand search bar here.

Here’s how to find your way about our new FOXY Lady Blog which is filed into the following sections.

FOXY Car Reviews

This is a popular section comprising car reviews written by and for women.

If you’d like to write a review for us, we’ll thank you with a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club. Just email steph@FOXYLadyDrivers.com to request headings.

FOXY Information

These blogs have been written or edited by women for women. Some readers might find them a bit light on jargon? That’s because few females are petrol heads or mechanically-minded, although we welcome information from those who are.

FOXY Lady Opinion

Steph testing new runflat tyres

This is where FOXY Steph Savill adds her thoughts about the motor industry and women drivers in general.

If the motor industry spent more time regulating minimum quality standards it wouldn’t need so many complaints handling solutions. That sort of thing.

FOXY News

This is where you’ll find the latest FOXY blog posts, across all sections.

Women in the Motor Industry

ack: The Society of the Irish Motor Industry’s conference for women (June 2017).
Whilst the industry remains male heavy at the top of most automotive businesses we’re encouraged by the wealth of female talent in the wings and en route to boardrooms everywhere. So we work hard to promote as many careers to women as we can.

To appear in this section, email steph@FOXYLadyDrivers.com to request interview headings.

Women in Motor Sports

Why should the majority of the motor racing sponsorship money still go to male racers? Here we put the spotlight on the many fast women racers out there.

If you’d like to appear in this section email steph@FOXYLadyDrivers.com to request interview headings.

FOXY Top Tips

In a busy world where none of us seem to have any spare time for our cars, easy to read and clearly bulleted tips come into their own when we don’t know what we don’t know…

Again we try to make these tips as female friendly as possible without patronising our own.

Why blogging matters to small businesses

We’ll soon be merging this blog with the News and Information section of our website. Our various blog topics have all grown like Topsy but from 2018 FOXY Lady Blogs will be posted HERE, to make it easier for our readers.

FOXY Lady blog is critical to getting our message across. In our new Blog Section you’ll find a blog post explaining why we write what we do and how our blog reflects our strategic business plans. It’s all part of our ‘drive’ (pardon the pun) to get what we do to a wider audience as part of an affordable and measurable PR plan.

To raise awareness about the Club, I started the FOXY Lady blog in March 2008, writing for and about women drivers.

It’s not a sexy read and I doubt it’ll make it to the top of a busy female’s ‘must read’ blog list but if women want to know about motoring they stand a chance of finding useful insider information here, with their best interests at heart, when they need it most. Or decide to join the Club for 1:1 support of course.

Writing about motoring for women is certainly a perilous path to tread (some prefer simple and lightweight content whereas others find that approach patronising…) but I do this to amplify the Club’s key messages and for a whole raft of good business reasons.

FOXY

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Janet awarded MBE for motoring services

Janet-Wilkinson-MBE-SMMTWe are delighted to see that Janet Wilkinson of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has been awarded an MBE for services to the Motor Industry and Charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.

Janet joined the SMMT in 1974 and has spent most of her career in communications and public relations for the sector.

She has been responsible for the media centres at some of the industry’s most high-profile events including the British International Motor Show, the Commercial Vehicle Show and SMMT Test Days. Such events promote the corporate reputation of the UK industry and showcase UK companies’ products and technology to thousands of media and the public at home and abroad.

Janet is also a Trustee of the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Benevolent Fund and Chair of the charity Women on the Move Against Cancer (WOMAC) raising funds and awareness for a variety of cancer charities.

She has also mentored dozens of young people who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the industry.

Speaking on her award, Janet said

“I am thrilled to receive such an award. I never thought the work I did would merit recognition but to have been honoured in this way is a tribute to all the support and encouragement I have received from colleagues in the industry. The automotive sector is a great industry with fantastic, committed people and a hugely professional and passionate automotive media.”

We’d add that Janet is an excellent role model for young women following in her wake and who might wonder how far their marketing talents might take them in the motor industry. If they are good enough, they will be rewarded, appreciated and acknowledged. For sure the automotive industry will be the richer for more Janets in it.

FOXY

FOXY’s Female Motoring Manifesto for 2015

everyoneshouldtrytodobetterIn today’s society perceptions are what matter, right or wrong.

The motor industry is perceived to be too blokey therefore it is…

Women are perceived to be bad drivers therefore we must be?

Women are perceived to know or care less about motoring safety and car maintenance than men, therefore that’s true too…

Clearly much of this is total nonsense and a large pinch of reasonableness is needed to sweeten the gender pill. Much better surely to say ‘some motoring businesses can be more female friendly’, ‘some men are better drivers than some women’ and ‘some women delegate their motoring safety to men… who may well know as little about this as they do‘.

Undoubtedy there is much work still to be done to identify the genuinely female friendly motoring businesses and to encourage women to visit these garages more often, to do with their personal safety. Or for them to feel confident enough to go forth and buy a new car, without the perceived need to take an honorary male with them for moral support.

So, based on a better knowledge of female (largely unimpressed) motoring perceptions than most, here is FOXY’s Female Motoring Manifesto for 2015 in the hope that we can encourage important changes through some shared resolutions to make a difference in future with women in mind.

1. MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FEMALES IN MOTORSPORT

There are lots of fast women racers who cannot show off their talents because available sponsorship money goes first to young men. But who might have anticipated that women could play football, cricket and rugby to rival the men’s game or fight on the front line perhaps, as well as men. So why shouldn’t some females be capable of driving as fast as some men in future? And have dedicated races to prove this?

I predict they’d be a PR scoop, whatever.

NB: If any business is thinking of sponsoring a female driver and would like an introduction to an up and coming girl racer, ask us for an introduction.

2. MORE WOMEN IN EXECUTIVE ROLES IN AUTOMOTIVE BOARDROOMS

The motor industry is slow to recognise the business case for more females in UK automotive boardrooms. There is a real need for female executive directors who are tasked to ensure the business is genuinely a female friendly employer and to be role models for the future talent pipeline.

Never mind quotas – just do it! Make sure women are on the candidate selection list then choose the best for the job. Women will rise to the challenge once this discipline is in place. Give women a chance.

NB: The right internal candidate is likely better placed to do this than an external Non Executive Director who has less experience of the business culture.

3. MORE WOMEN IN CAR SALES ROLES

There are sound business reasons for having more females selling cars. They don’t come with an Arthur Daley reputation, they understand what females want and they may well be more honest/better informed than some male salesmen. Give women a try.

NB: Businesses may need to be more flexible to appeal to the right women, especially those looking for evenings and weekend work.

4. MORE COMMUNITY GARAGE/CAR SALES EVENTS

Many women would like to know more about their car care and by organising regular ladies evenings this is an excellent way for local businesses to demonstrate their community spirit and establish a relationship of trust with local ladies.

NB: Contact us to promote any ladies evenings at the Club website.

5. CLEANER GARAGES, ESPECIALLY WASHROOMS, WITH WOMEN IN MIND

There is no excuse for dirty garages today whether these are independently owned or franchised. As a minimum customers should be able to rely on a clean washroom that is regularly inspected/cleaned, not one that is all too evidently shared with mechanics or used as a kitchen facility by staff.

6. INDUSTRY STAFF TO BE LISTED ON A PROFESSIONAL REGISTER

The industry has a poor image. All motorists should be able to rely on their car being repaired by a licensed technician. All customers buying a new or used car should be able to rely on professional advice and ethical behaviour. Whilst there may be more than one accredited route to that licensing goal, the end result should be that all staff are listed on one industry ie the IMI Professional Register.

7. DON’T LEAVE CAR MAINTENANCE TO MEN

This is a wake up call for women who either think that a nearly new car doesn’t need maintaining before its first MOT or that the condition of the car they drive is up to their husband, partner or Dad. When the Police stop her because her car has no tax or MOT, she gets the fine, the points and the higher insurance premium. If her car causes an accident and is then proven to be unroadworthy through negligence, she is to blame – nobody else.

8. HAGGLE FREE NEW CAR PRICES

It is patently unfair that she/he who knows when to haggle gets a better new car deal than she/he who doesn’t know to haggle. Or that she thinks a man can negotiate a better deal. It’s time for more honesty, ethics and transparency in car showrooms and less ‘smoke and mirror’ sales tactics designed to confuse the vulnerable with part exchange and car finance permutations.

9. MORE WOMEN IN WORKSHOPS

If she wants to be a mechanic give her a chance. Make her welcome… Consider mechanically-minded Mums as future MOT testers. Encourage female apprentices via your local school. Young females are outperforming young males in Science and Maths at GCSE levels, women can use diagnostic tools too, many are more conscientious completing task schedules and are often better organised.

10. MAKE TEST DRIVES MORE FUN

Too many females delegate test drives to men. Too many females buy the same car make again simply because of the familiarity of the drive. Too many solo women lack the confidence to take a test drive with a solo man and too many Mums are distracted by children…

As a result, too many cars are sold that aren’t necessarily the best buy for her. A fun test drive, with children catered for where appropriate and a female member of staff tasked to make sure this is the right car for her, should be a key part of a female friendly car buying experience.
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Those businesses that, hand on heart, tick all these boxes deserve recognition for getting this right. But the reality is, very few businesses will be able to tick all the boxes that COULD apply to them.

Nonetheless it’s important to have measurable goals and hopefully FOXY’s Manifesto will encourage more businesses in the motor industry to look at their strategic gender agenda with a view to becoming a more female friendly business and employer in 2015.

Because, with more independent, wealthy and influential women drivers, who are rarely as impressed by local motoring services as they should be, this is a real opportunity for genuinely female friendly garages and dealers to see this as a means of stealing competitive advantage in the female mind.

Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2015.

FOXY

Inspirational Nicole wins her dream career

nicoleCoventry University graduate, Nicole Agba, has won the prestigious Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award for her innovative biometric steering wheel concept. NB: She is the only female in the photo.

Nicole’s ‘Steer Right’ system employs a Smart Fabrics Interactive Textile on the steering wheel of the car, using sensors that monitor the driver’s heart and respiration rates, fatigue, anger or nervousness.

If put into production, the steering wheel would even detect alcohol in the driver’s system, immobilising the vehicle if they are over the limit.

Announced as winner at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) dinner in November 2014, Nicole will now embark on a five-month work experience tour of Award sponsors Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Peugeot, Skoda and Toyota. She also wins a cash prize of £7,500.

Nicole, 23, from Rainham in Kent, said:

“I’m ecstatic to have won! It’s such a unique experience; I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. Not only am I thrilled to be the first female recipient of the Award, I hope my success inspires others who might ever have been told they cannot do something, to look at my example and not be afraid to chase their dreams. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

Agba, who graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Transport Design in May, was one of three finalists who made it to the SMMT dinner; the other two were fellow students Freddie Lee and Serge Kaldany, whose entries were an app which alerts drivers to the presence of cyclists in the blind spot and a gaming console-inspired control system.

Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, also the chairman of the judging panel, said:

“Once again we have been bowled over by the calibre of the entries received for this year’s competition, making Nicole an all the more deserved winner.

“The judging process has once again been fascinating and I’ve learnt that you can’t make assumptions about people. Sometimes you see an idea on paper and think you’ve got the person pegged but then they bring their idea to life and you realise you didn’t have them worked out at all.

“This award was set up with the hope of finding and nurturing bright new talent and it has now touched thousands of people. I’d like to think that, from next year, we can expand on what the Award does and open it up to more people still, but how we do that has not yet been decided.”

Courland International Chief Operating Officer, Adam Pumfrey, said:

“Despite operating predominantly at board level for the automotive industry, it has become clear to us for some time that we’ve struggled to attract younger candidates. We support this Award because its focus is on uncovering fresh young talent and highlights the fantastic range of careers open to those with a passion for automotive business.”
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I’d like to add FOXY’s ongoing support for this Award because it is now reaching the right young females who will start to motivate others to consider the many wonderful career opportunities in the UK automotive industry.

An industry that needs many more Nicoles with a view to the future!

Congratulations Nicole – this is a remarkable and well deserved accolade made all the more sweet for me because you are the first female to win this highly competitive Award.

FOXY

PS: Applications for the 2015 Autocar Courland Next Generation Award will open early next year. For more information, visit Autocar Next Generation Award.