Tag Archives: car dealers

Our FOXY Lady Approved video partner is Radar Video


We are launching our new partnership with FOXY Lady Approved Radar Video who specialise in car dealer videos and automotive videos.

All franchised and independent car dealers that are part of our FOXY Lady Approved networks can use our logo within their Radar Videos to confirm their commitment to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell anything women don’t need’.

That’s a powerful and reassuring statement for those women drivers who find the car buying and showroom experience an intimidating one. That’s women drivers who influence some 80% of all cars bought, remember.

You’ll be seeing more of these videos in future, because they’ll be posted at our FOXY Lady Drivers Club You Tube channel on a regular basis.

Video sells cars


“In my mind and in my car,
we can’t rewind,
we’ve gone too far…”

The Buggles, 1980

As these famous lyrics remind us, when it comes to car videos, there’s no turning back!

Video is what busy women car buyers expect to see, to help them narrow their car shopping choices, before they buy.

FOXY has dabbled in this area beforehand if only to prove this, but now we need to ramp up the quality of our car-related videos, and the following is a good example of how FOXY can do this, promoting similar affinity Suzuki deals to the WI one featured.

In future, branded automotive videos of this quality will help Club members and their family decide on the best car dealers out there and the most suitable car models.

About Radar Video

Radar Video creates TV-quality, interactive car videos branded to represent franchised and independent car dealers. These videos support and encourage leads, sales enquiries and test drive requests from women drivers and will be increasingly used at FOXY’s social media channels.

Video solutions include ones for new cars, approved used, Motability, ex-demo vehicles, pre-registered stock and special car servicing offers. If needed these can be bespoke videos to showcase business strengths, facilities and/or special events.

When done correctly, videos SELL cars. Any dealership yet to embrace video is likely missing out on countless sales opportunities.

In particular Radar Video works with UK car dealers to deliver powerful video solutions that sell cars and maximise ROI – for a fraction of the cost of the traditional advertising portals. After choosing their required marque(s) from some 400 current makes and models, they will transform that choice into a mini-TV ad that’s fully branded and ready to be promoted on social media.

Each video costs £325 plus VAT and contains:

+ A business logo throughout
+ Professional voice-over
+ Background music
+ Special offers
+ Finance illustrations
+ Full contact details including website link

Video packs of six cost £1,500 + VAT.

Once created, Radar Video helps car dealers promote their videos to thousands of potential local buyers using the world’s leading social networks – all for a small advertising budget starting from as little as £1 per day!

Visit: www.radarvideo.co.uk
Email: Steph Colinswood at steph@radarvideo.co.uk
Call: 0800 998 9848

A Professional Licence to Skills in the motor industry


I wish I wasn’t surprised to read that “Car dashboard warning lights are beyond the grasp of 98% of British drivers” but I’m not.

It’s another reminder of the realities of life.

Car manuals that aren’t easy to navigate, read or understand. And instead of our asking professionals for advice here, many of us don’t do this, for fear of being sold things we don’t need.

Presumably they either Google for the warning light, simply drive on regardless, or find out what this means at MOT/car service time or when their car lets them down?

Heaven forbid it’s a safety-related warning light.

The perception of women drivers

Perceptions are very powerful influencers of behaviour. When it comes to the motor industry few women (and probably men too) perceive garages or car showrooms to be trustworthy or welcoming places to visit.

For example, last month I spoke at a WI event in Sussex about motoring matters in general, and tyre safety in particular.

Once again I heard that all too familiar intake of breath when I tell females that the UK motor industry isn’t regulated when it comes to car servicing, mechanical repairs and used car sales. Few realise or want to consider that anyone could be fixing their brakes, selling them tyres they don’t need or shiny cars that aren’t safe or reliable. Yet most women ‘perceive’ this to be true from the tales they share about bad garage, car and tyre sales experiences either they or their friends have had…

As I see it there is a clear parallel between the absence of minimum quality standards (as in industry regulation or compulsory licensing of all staff) and the subsequent level of complaints about shoddy garage services and used cars, leading to an unacceptable number of unsafe cars on our roads today.

So I then talk to women about ways to find out who the measurably better guys (and a very few gals) are and how to find them locally…

Motor industry regulation

“9 out of 10 motorists prefer to deal with an accredited professional” IMI-conducted/independent survey 2014


Thankfully MOT’s are regulated by the DVSA so we can be as sure as we reasonably can be that they are conducted to strict rules and regulations.

Of course when you visit franchised dealerships, you know that any garage service work has been carried out to car manufacturer standards. That’s not entirely true in all cases of course because many are expected to repair non franchised makes but aren’t trained here. That’s what the ATA (Automotive Training Accreditation) scheme is all about…

Sadly none of this training means that mistakes aren’t made, but if you aren’t happy at least you have a clear chain of complaint, taking you through the business and then involving the manufacturer during the new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process operated by Motor Codes.

But if you want to find an accredited professional in an independent garage, bodyshop, car showroom or fast fit repair centre in your area, you need to know where to look, as things stand. And that means looking for more than just membership of unfamiliar trade association names (unfamiliar for motorists that is) or testimonials about garages having friendly staff. Important yes, I think it’s more important to check that the workmanship is being done professionally as well.

So, this is how you can check who’s licensed as more professional than the rest. Oh that there were more individuals and businesses on the list.

Best practice motor industry schemes

FOXY is the only business to look for measurable signs of quality workmanship before awarding our FOXY Lady Approved status. Our minimum measurable quality standards include Chartered Trading Standards Code of Practice schemes (there are three competing service & repair schemes, one new car code and a warranty products scheme), Publicly Available Standards (PAS) for accident repairs alongside ISO and leading tyre auditing schemes.

But the problem with all industry self-regulation schemes like the CTSI ones is that the cowboys don’t have to join them, and clearly don’t. And the other criticism I have of them is that they don’t require staff to be licensed, which is a huge disappointment.

So the one standard that sits above them all, as I see it, is the industry’s Professional Register, operated by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). And which could so easily become the minimum industry standard aka regulation by any other name.

And in case you haven’t heard of it before, the IMI is THE professional association for all individuals working within it, whether in technical-related, management, customer facing, car sales and consultancy roles. The IMI Professional Register is therefore the only one where listed professionals have committed to ethical standards and undergo a process of accreditation akin to licensing.

Sadly not all IMI members are on the Register. Those that choose to, apply to go through a vetting process, commit to topping up their skills and knowledge through the collection of customary CPD (Continuous Professional Development) points and their registration is reviewed every three years.

But because this process isn’t compulsory, many individuals choose not to bother. But they would have to if their license to earn depended on it…

I think this is the direction this industry needs to be heading in. Especially now we’re driving electric cars and whatever the future brings…

How to search the IMI Professional Register


The IMI Professional Register allows motorists to search for the best local specialist, based on their car sales, garage services or accident repair needs at the time.

Rather than lumping all car services into the category of ‘garage’ it makes good sense to check who, nearest to our postcode, has gone that extra mile to be one of the very best choices in the following technical and mechanical categories.

1/ Accident/bodywork repairs
2/ Air conditioning
3/ Brakes
4/ Car servicing
5/ Diagnostics
6/ Digital/in car technology
7/ Electric cars
8/ Exhausts
9/ Mechanical repairs
10/ MOT’s
11/ Tyres
12/ Windscreen/glass work

There is also a section in the Register showing individuals that are licensed in Car Sales (we need more in this category please…) and there are specialists for Breakdown, HGV, Motorcycles & Electric vehicle services.

NB: Where you come across a Master Technician, he/she is one of the very best in their discipline.

Motor Industry Professional Pride

I am a Fellow of the IMI (FIMI) and proud to be on the IMI Register to demonstrate my superior experience and qualifications within the trade. I am listed as a motor industry marketing consultant (not a mechanic) by the way. This puts me on a par with others at the top of the marketing profession and I an required to top up my skills with CPD points to have this status renewed after three years. As I have to do to retain my Chartered Marketer status too.

So I cannot understand why other seemingly career-oriented individuals do not seem to share this pride or want to be seen at the pinnacle of their career? Maybe this is a question of cost and their time? Or could it be the knowledge that they might not look as good as others on paper? Well, isn’t that the point of the Register and future training? To show a willingness to improve standards and our individual professional competence?

More information

This is how to search the IMI Professional Register
a/ Decide which job you need an expert for.
b/ Enter your postcode.
c/ Compare your choices.

The IMI blog includes automotive tips to help you care for your vehicle and to give you confidence when visiting garages.

For details of all signs of measurable quality in UK garages.


Join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to be sure of FOXY Lady Approved businesses and standards in future!

A motoring club for women – what’s that about?

Members-OnlyWe are often asked why women need a motoring club of their own. Usually by men who don’t get the point that women are equal but different and don’t necessarily share their appreciation of blokey garages with grubby loos and smarmy car salesmen. What’s not to understand?

If anyone thinks these things don’t happen in today’s motor industry they should have heard the tales I did on our stand at the Sussex Woman’s Show in Brighton last weekend…

These things certainly happen in the female mind.

When it’s a woman who’s asking the question we then explain that UK garages aren’t licensed and their mechanics don’t have to be qualified to service or repair our cars. Most women are as shocked as I was when I first learned this some 10 years ago…

Can motoring services get any worse?

If that isn’t reason enough for most women to want to know who the really good garages are in their area we then add that things are even worse when it comes to buying used cars!

That’s because there isn’t a minimum ethical standard in the UK motor industry to stop the customer from buying gleaming used cars with major mechanical faults you can’t see. Not only that but many dodgy dealers also try to restrict customer rights by imposing their shorter warranty to protect them when things inevitably go wrong very soon after money has changed hands.

These are two unregulated areas in the motor industry where motorists need to be genuinely foxy. A ridiculously cheap MOT can be a come on for expensive (& occasionally unnecessary) remedial work and a good looking secondhand car can quickly turn into a mechanical nightmare.

Ways to identify the good guys in the motor industry

To do something about all this we started with garages by introducing a network of genuinely female friendly ones which we identify by their measurable quality, then promote to women and monitor through member feedback. Next we added a network of FOXY Lady Approved repairers at the request of Ageas Insurance for their accident repairers called Solutions Centres.

Later this year we’ll be launching a new FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly network for car dealers, to help women (and their husbands/partners of course) do their car buying homework and, hopefully, spot the dodgy cars and dealers before it’s too late.

Those that break all the rules and clearly don’t give a monkeys about the customer can expect to feel the impact of our criticism when we spread the word within the Club, behind Club doors, so local women know not to use their services in future. We want to make sure that other females don’t suffer the same fate.

These are but a few reasons why women need a club of their own and one they can trust.

This is also why it makes sense to remind your family and friends to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club. And before we put our rates up in 2014.


One in 5 car dealers unhelpful

I’ve just heard a spokesman for the OFT on the Radio 4 Today programme telling us that one in 5 used car sales result in a complaint (plus the ones that are browbeaten into submission) and how many of the complaints are about ‘unhelpful’ dealers when things go wrong. You bet!

I find that few women drivers realise that they have a period of six months in law to take a car back when it has developed an ‘unreasonable’ fault. ‘Unreasonable’ in terms of the price paid, the age and mileage and, of course, the sales proposition (and often the make of car itself…).

Few women drivers are as fussy as they should be and too many trust that the person, usually a man, who sells them a car that looks good on the forecourt is telling them all they need to know. And they don’t always tell the truth of course.

Very often the car was bought at an auction elsewhere in the country (usually where the prices are cheaper), transported (usually where the prices are higher ie the South of England) to be sold at a higher price and far from the original owner.

My industry experience makes me cynical here. If a car is not as good as it should be then the customer should know her rights. The dealer should be required to sell a car with a finance and a prescriptive pre-sale car fitness check. This is not the case unless you buy from a main dealer Approved Car scheme which I prefer to recommend. Where there are potential problems, these should either be rectified and declared or be documented on a caveat emptor basis and the price adjusted accordingly. Simple. And if an unexpected falut occurs the dealer should see this as an opportunity to demonstrate his superior customer care so she is so delighted she tells her friends…

That’s the theory at least!

Instead, the situation remains much the same over many years… there are too many modern day Arthur Daley’s and Swiss Toni’s out there who see a customer with a car fault as an opportunity to sell her repairs, claiming that a one or three month warranty was all she was entitled to. They have no scruples and tell a mosy convincing tale to the gullible.

I hope the OFT tightens this up and deals with unscrupulous dealers accordingly…

At present the law is too lightweight in this area which I would describe as car fraud or the auto-equivalent of passing off.


Women drivers can search for good and female friendly car dealers at FOXY Choice.

All FOXY Choice garages, fastfits and dealers sign the female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want.’

How car dealers offend women (part 1 of many)

I am often asked how FOXY can tell a female friendly car manufacturer, dealer or main dealership from the way they market to and then treat women.

Clearly that’s a big story but let’s start by looking at the ones that aren’t female friendly because they are easy to spot with Swiss Toni and/or Arthur Daley tendencies to overcharge, patronise and sell us services we don’t need or want.

I usually start by reminding he who asks (it’s usually a he and often a manufacturer/dealership wanting to pick our brains for free, thinking they can then do ‘female friendly’ for themselves)  that the lack of respect for women starts at the very top of the European motor industry as exampled by manufacturers and Motor Show organisers that seem to think that scantily clad girls draped over new (and F1 racing) cars are needed to ingratiate a male audience :-).

Wake up guys – this isn’t where you should be spending your money in future. There’s a huge female business audience to talk to too.

They clearly don’t know who is buying their cars nowadays otherwise they wouldn’t set out to insult and patronise women in this way (and surely bimbos are so very deja vu).

I then add some of the common and usually current stories we collect via the helpdesk at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

A regular, repeated to me last Thursday evening at a Marketing event organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Sussex, is where the new or used car salesman asks the female, doing her car shopping, to bring her husband in to finalise the buying finances.

Red alert guys – wrong approach here. You will know this because hopefully she’ll walk out the door and go elsewhere or buy online.

I can only imagine that he who says this sort of thing doesn’t have a female to organise his life; most men do of course so there’s no excuse for them to imagine we couldn’t get ‘our pretty little heads’ round a series of different payment options.

Perhaps it is for that very reason that he wants to re-assert himself  in ‘his’ often all-male work emporium? Or perhaps that he simply can’t manipulate women who know what we want, as he might a man, talking that ‘mate to mate’ jargon that few females understand?

Please don’t get me wrong – you do not have to be female to be female friendly and many men are extremely female friendly in the right way. You just have to understand how to talk to us and this starts with RESPECT.

Either way – the future requires motor businesses to be female friendly to stay alive in future and those that are will and those that don’t get it will struggle.

If you run a business and are reading this post, click here to see FOXY’s female friendly Promise at the FOXY Choice website and ways to promote your business to women drivers, ahead of those that aren’t up to this challenge.

Rest assured there are those that can’t,however hard they try, sign up to our voluntary code without knowing they’ll get found out and reprimanded by us.  And, of course, there are a few that aren’t welcome to sign up, on the basis of feedback we receive within the Club.

When we have had to tackle an organisation that has got things wrong for a female (and it isn’t always their fault I hasten to add) we’ve either had a quick and apologetic response or an arrogant ‘we know better’ reply.

Whatever, it always speaks volumes about a business culture and the latter businesses then get their card marked by FOXY so that local women are informed about this, where necessary. It’s highly unlikely that they’d then qualify for a FOXY Choice listing as a female friendly business unless they’d undergone a personality transformation or rehabilitation programme in the meantime!!

Get it right for women drivers and we spread the word = more sales, referrals and profit.

Get it wrong for women drivers and we go elsewhere (and chances are we don’t say goodbye) = less sales, ongoing female dissatisfaction, smiling competitors and a lack of understanding why…

The future requires you to be female friendly; get your business strategy, culture, staff training and communications right so you can take advantage of this ahead of others.


“If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different and be just.”
Dame Anita Roddick, Body Shop Founder, 1942-2007