Tag Archives: buying a new car

Women are gender spenders for car finance

Most of us know that women are THE gender spenders who influence c80% of  all household purchases and are described as ‘instigators-in-chief’ when it comes to c60% of car sales (and presumably their garage care afterwards). We’re professional shoppers, we do our homework in advance, we know what we want and we’re not afraid of going somewhere else if we don’t get it.

But when it comes to comparing male and female shopping behaviour we know that men can do the job in hand quicker 😉 whereas we want to compare and contrast value and features before making our (better) informed decision. Take shopping for a pair of trousers for example. Casual or formal. He is more likely to buy the same style and the same colour as the last time and from the same shop before retiring to the pub for a liquid reward; happy because the job has been done efficiently and as painlessly as possible…

Whereas she might spend ages looking at what everybody else is wearing, comparing this season’s colour choices and then shopping online and on the High Street for the best deal… This has been known to take weeks in our household ;).

But it’s very important to take your time when it’s a big ticket item like a car or financing the deal for that matter. I’m sure we can all remember unhappy purchases we made in a hurry or when we’ve been seduced by a low price, only to experience the steep learning curve borne out of realising we’ve bought a lemon, wasted money and that we should have bought a different brand or product…

A recent survey from BMW Financial Services has been looking at men and women’s attitudes towards financing a car which reflect precisely these differences in our gender genes. Whilst the economy is struggling it seems that more of us are turning to dealer finance to fund the purchase of our dream cars than was the case in 2010.

This is probably because the car finance market is very competitive today and it’s so much more convenient to sort out the finance transaction alongside their new car and any part exchange paperwork.

According to BMW’s research, many males admitted rushing into an ill-judged car finance decision within just two hours whereas one third of women drivers take at least two days to make the choice. That’s the foxy way…

But apparently some consumers gave about as much thought to purchasing a car as they did to purchasing a sofa; not thinking through the implications of a longer finance deal for the more expensive vehicle transaction. Very costly I imagine.

BMW’s survey also confirmed that women are prepared to compromise when it comes to making joint decisions about which car or car finance package to buy whereas men prefer to choose entirely independently. Or put another way (assuming a gsoh)…
He thinks “This is motoring – this is a MAN’s department.”
She thinks “Oh for an easy life – let him think this is his decision but I’ll make sure he makes the right choice…”

This is in stark contrast to shopping for a new kitchen apparently which is more likely to be a joint decision. Or put another way (assuming the same gsoh)…
He thinks “ With a bit of luck she’ll be spending more time in it (cooking for me) than me so she really should have one she’s happy in (cooking for me…).
She thinks “If I am expected to do more cooking, washing, ironing and cleaning in the kitchen (than him) the least I expect is one that suits me best.”

Certainly attitudes to car ownership seem to have changed with women in particular spotting that buying a new or used car using car finance carries a number of advantages.

In fact Joe Pattinson at BMW Financial Services has detected a growing trend for women to sign up to ‘rent to own’ finance deals as he explains…
“Finance is the car purchasing model for women in future and we see this as a long term purchasing trend that is here to stay. A quarter of women (surveyed) say they are cutting back on all spending and changing their lifestyle considerably, and as these attitudes are applied to the concept of car ownership, (staggered car) finance will become the norm in the not too distant future.”

Joe continues: “Sadly many drivers are making greater compromises on the make, model and specification of their vehicle than they need to.”

Women need to know their foxy car finance choices perhaps?

FOXY

A foxy Santa wish

Dear Santa

All I want for Christmas is a new car I like…

I am not a difficult person to please but I’d like it to be foxy as in stylish, I no longer need a people carrier and it has to be a good deal.

By stylish I mean the likes of a VW Eos, Mazda MX5 or Audi TT. And I’m fed up with black and silver so perhaps it’s time for a metallic blue hue…

By a good deal I mean safe, reliable and an after sales glow of great value for money (relative to one’s budget of course…).

Being a foxy lady, good value for money means low depreciation and running costs (mpg, VED and tax) as well as good performance from NCAP and in the Reliability Index. On balance we’re probably talking about a small engined car with generous on board space…

Will this be the year for new car deals? It certainly will be for Club members.

I am looking forward to doing my car buying homework over the Xmas period.

Any female friendly cars you’d like to recommend?

FOXY

Which car dealers are ripping off women drivers?

According to Which? Car, franchised car dealers are taking male and female customers to the cleaners by not being clear about how much interest they’ll pay when they arrange car finance.

One assumes these dealerships aren’t FOXY Choice subscribers who have signed the female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want?’.

But who are they Which?

We look forward to reading which Audi, Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot and Vauxhall dealerships failed the Which? Car undercover investigation in January… and I predict that women fared worse than men, given a fair gender comparison.

Overall, the details of car finance deals weren’t properly explained to the potential buyers and on some occasions interest rates weren’t even mentioned!

Not one of the sales staff at the 15 dealerships verbally told researchers ie potential customers the total cost of the interest on a finance agreement. Two thirds failed to mention the APR and a third didn’t include it on their written quote, which contravenes the Consumer Credit Act, by the way.

How else can you work out how much interest you’ll be paying on a finance deal?

One salesman even refused to give a written quote at all, wrongly claiming that to do so would break the law. Was his name Tim I wonder?

On a typical car such as a £13k Fiat Bravo hatchback 1.4T Jet 120 Active 5 dr the quote was for a £300-£350 monthly repayment, and an initial deposit of £1,000. At that time a bank loan would cost a customer £15,319 whereas hire purchase with payment protection insurance would cost them £18,433 – a staggering difference of more than £3,000.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Chief Executive, Which?, says:
“When you take out a mortgage, the bank or building society has to clearly state APR rates up front, and explain terms and conditions fully. We think car finance deals should be conducted in the same way. We urge car buyers to avoid showroom finance deals if they think dealers haven’t given them all the necessary information.”

FOXY wholeheartedly agrees but wishes we could name and shame in these situations – even if only within FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

Having reported its findings to the OFT, the response was that ‘it was disappointed some dealers didn’t appear to be aware of their obligations, or are simply refusing to comply’. However the OFT promised to take enforcement action where necessary.

Yes, it’s necessary.

Members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club can ask us for a second opinion when shopping for car finance deals – here’s a simple bit of foxy advice for all women drivers for starters; don’t imagine that the car salesman has quoted the best car finance deal out there. Sad but true.

FOXY

For advice about buying and negotiating a new car deal, including car finance, women drivers can read FOXY’s Top Ten Tips about buying a new car

BE ON YOUR GUARD.

Can car dealers do better for women?

I have spent a lot of today looking at the findings of a survey we carried out in December last. It was to analyse member satisfaction levels with FOXY Lady Drivers Club but gave us the chance to ask what women drivers want when they go to buy a new car.

Almost half our sample took someone with them when they went to buy a new or used car in a car showroom and a significant number had felt patronised during the transaction.

I know it can be hard to get the balance right of providing enough but not too much information here. Sometimes I think that FOXY Lady Drivers Club doesn’t get this right for everyone when we hear from women who are expert DIY mechanics and can change their own tyres (whereas we take the view that the professionals are the better and safer choice) but I must admit to being surprised to find that very few females indeed wanted to see more females employed on the showroom floor.

I had imagined that, in the UK’s male dominated retail motor industry with a poor reputation for getting it right for women drivers, the thought of dealing with a female might have been reassuring. It seems not, certainly in this instance.

The trouble with research is that it always leaves me with a few ‘I wonder’ questions afterwards (I feel another survey coming on…).

For example,

I WONDER IF some women are so liberated that they want to be treated as honorary blokes in the motor industry, much as many of us try to be in our careers.

I WONDER IF some women realise that what matters most is the best person for the job and fear the token female, to be seen to please.

I WONDER IF the true beneficiaries of more females in the showroom (assuming they are among the brightest on the floor)might be the men who, we are told, feel happier buying from a female because they don’t have to pretend that they knew all the answers (which they just might have pretended to a male sales person).

But what I am absolutely convinced about is that the principles of honesty, fairness, open-ness and transparency are needed in car showrooms today in the same way as we need them in our garages when women shop for the likes of MOTs and car servicing.

Why should a motorist who buys a car at the end of a sales quarter or month get a better price than a motorist who paid her money a week earlier?

For example,

WHY should ‘she who shouts loudest’ get a better discount than she who didn’t dare do this?

WHY should a part exchange deal be so shrouded in secrecy so you can’t unpick the true cost of the car you bought?

WHY should motorists who take up a finance deal do better than she who wants to pay cash?

WHY do so few used car dealers give a full year’s warranty on the car they are selling?

So many more questions but I may be losing the plot and it has been a long day…

What the FOXY research taught me was that many foxy ladies are aware of this unfairness and are shopping for the best new car deal online before EITHER going to their nearest car dealer/dealership OR cutting out the middle man and buying from a discount car supermarket or website.

Yet the dealers have so many female friendly services to promote, over and above what should be the natural appeal of a local business and a genuinely warm welcome.

But they need to get this right – no more patronising or overcharging females – tell us the truth, give us a fair price and don’t try to baffle us or pretend you know more than we do.

The survey put price at the top of the critical shopping factors, as you’d expect in this recession, followed by running costs and then safety. But what women really want is a clear offer – a fixed price from the outset including clearly defined benefits.

Then there’d be less dissonance post sale and less stress if we leave the showroom in the hope he’ll phone back later and do a deal.  No Arthur Daley or Swiss Toni tactics either. Tell us the truth, spell out the finances, make more of the local convenience factor and make her feel special, never a muppet.

I think it’s easy to be a female friendly car dealer providing the business wants to be one. All you have to do is live up to the female friendly FOXY Promise and you’re half way there. That and do a competitive analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.

You might be surprised to find what your competitive marketing advantages when you look at promoting your business to women drivers online.

Some businesses do it brilliantly already – is yours listed by FOXY Choice – that’s a good start?

Happy to help guys.

FOXY