Tag Archives: car dealership

Pushy car salesmen are a female turn off

female new car shoppingDidn’t the automotive industry see us women coming? That’s the gender buying the cars of course as in influencing between 80-90% of all new cars bought? And if not, why not?

I’d suggest this is because few women are as happy as they should be with the traditional car shopping haggling experience in dealerships.

This is what car buying compare and contrast service CarWow found after carrying out a recent survey.

1/ 77% of women are put off by a pushy salesperson.
2/ 33% of women are put off by long waiting times for car delivery in a dealership.
3/ 36% of women were annoyed by the lack of knowledge displayed by too many showroom staff.


These are all the reasons why we introduced our FOXY Lady Approved new car network. To identify the businesses that are getting service levels right for women drivers versus those that simply think they should treat men and women the same.

But these findings confirm that treating men and women the same is not good enough guys. Clearly we expect more. Hadn’t you realised women are different? Just spend some time thinking who does the shopping in your family and how he or she goes about this compared to you…

It’s also the case that women working in the UK car industry are rarely like women that aren’t because they’ve got used to cars, working in a masculine environment and jumping into/driving new cars without a second thought.

But without wanting to be seen to patronise the growing number of women who know more about cars and their workings than many men, most of us are happy to admit we know little about cars and garage services. Which is why we need and rely on professionals getting things right for us – we expect to be understood and treated with respect as a minimum. And because we’re increasingly spening our money or influencing where he spends his…

And if you think this is a one-off gender attention-seeking survey think again. Check out the recent Good Housekeeping survey re car dealerships perhaps. Or talk to us at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

This is not what women should be thinking after a recent car shopping experience. But, looking on the bright side, this does mark a BIG opportunity for those genuinely female friendly businesses to promote their female friendly services to women thus stealing a lead over lesser and complacent others.

Thank you for this CarWow.


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.


A female friendly dealership day out in Croydon

I always say I can sense a female friendly dealership the moment I walk in. Yes of course they all should be, but believe me, a lot aren’t. By female friendly I mean a business that’s evidently well organised and clean with staff who’re genuinely interested in me and where there’s something on offer with women in mind.

One such dealership is Motor Village, a Fiat owned dealership in Croydon that also sells Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Chrysler models.

I called in there recently during a Family Day called ‘Safe and Secure’ and met their friendly reception, sales and service staff.

Female friendly dealership staff

Miriam_fiatStaff don’t need to be female to be female friendly of course but finding women on the car sales floor is a particular bonus for me.

One such lady is Miriam Spalla who perfectly represents the Italian brand in my mind when it comes to style and flair.

Not only is she evidently Italian but she also lives and breathes engines as a result of her father’s passion for cars. She explained to me that she has a very brief window opportunity to impress male car buyers with her technical knowledge; before meeting Miriam, many think a man is more likely to know the performance facts they are interested in.

She will do well.

img_0006During the course of the day The AA put on car maintenance displays, there was plenty on offer to entertain the children, the coffee was particularly good and for those of us with a love for older cars, there were some fabulous and highly stylish Fiat classics on show.

There were holiday-like candyfloss and popcorn stalls and the business was clearly doing well in terms of car servicing bookings on the day as well as more than just a passing interest in new car models on the showroom floor.

All in all, this was called a ‘family day’ but I have no doubt that the actual target audience was really women.

img_0003Motor Village is a FOXY Lady Approved garage and their female customers are entitled to claim a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club via their reception team.

Do call in and collect yours – you’ll be made to feel as welcome as I was I’m sure.


Vauxhall Women in the Driving Seat event in Kent

Last week a car confidence evening for women was organised by FG Barnes, a Vauxhall retailer in Kent. This included DIY car mechanics, personal self-protection techniques and tips to help cope with any road rage.

Ladies headed for the car dealership’s workshops where volunteers were encouraged to change a car’s wheel under the supervision of the Vauxhall dealership’s service technicians and were given practical advice including dealing with roadside emergencies, routine car maintenance and checking oil and fluid levels.

Karate instructor and self-protection specialist Grant Hicks then made the subject of defending yourself from a would-be mugger entertaining and instructive.

He developed the personal safety theme and demonstrated a quick-fire method of foiling a would-be assailant, which involved disarming him – or her – in three easy moves with the aid of everyday objects such as a torch or a pen.

“Women are perceived as being more vulnerable than men and are seen as an easy target when it comes to road rage,” said Grant.

“Also, other people can be too scared to get involved, even if they see it’s a woman being attacked, so you have to be able to defend yourself.”

The final ingredient on the night was to do with the psychology behind dangerous and aggressive driving behaviour and dealing with behind-the-wheel bullies.

This was explored by ex-Police Chief Inspector Vic Botterill, who gave his audience advice about avoiding the need to use one of Grant’s techniques when faced with road rage. “Mouthing sorry can stop a minor incident turning into road rage,” he said. “If you know you’re wrong, just say it. If it’s gone beyond that and you’re dealing with a violent man, keep your distance – invading his personal space isn’t going to make the situation better. Speak calmly and never, ever, smile. That will only pour petrol onto what is an emotional bonfire.” emphasised Vic.

As well as FOXY Lady Drivers Club attending, Max and Val Power and Margaret Robertson from the Mid Kent Group of Advanced Motorists were on hand to discuss their organisation’s various advanced driving courses.

Daniella Smith, a talking therapist for the Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Trust commented: “I didn’t know very much about my car or what I should do if my car broke down by the roadside until tonight, but now I feel I could cope with most situations. I don’t think women can afford any longer to ignore the dangers on our roads,” she confessed. “Tonight’s Women in the Driving Seat evening was well organised and great fun too. I feel that I have learned something useful about my car today.”

Philippa Nelson-Gracie, Mayoress of Maidstone, agreed that the practical approach was best. “In my opinion, car care and maintenance are areas where many women feel they don’t know enough.”

“We were put at our ease tonight and not made to feel stupid in any way when asking questions. Events like this can only be beneficial and I think other car retailers should be following suit” she added.

For further information about Women in the Driving Seat evenings at FG Barnes please contact Ann Gibbs on tel 01622 755 531.

Hands up every foxy lady who can change a tyre?!

I recently went to a special evening called Women in Gear held at the Kia dealership showroom in Washington, West Sussex.

More than 80 eager women and a couple of token chaps were there, keen to hear more about how to change a tyre, what to do if we’re confronted by road rage and how to defend ourselves.

I was there with my FOXY stand, promoting FOXY Lady Drivers Club (in the photo) with my bright red jumper matching our mascot Sophie’s little red sports car.

Everyone loved self-protection guru Grant Hicks who made the subject of defending yourself fun and practical. He gave us great tips about how to foil muggers or thieves in and around our cars – like what to do if someone attacks us from behind and how to disarm them in three easy moves with the aid of everyday objects.

We heard about the psychology behind road rage and how to deal with behind-the-wheel bullies from ex-Police Chief Inspector Vic Botterill, who explained useful techniques like recognising how close people can stand next to you before it becomes intimidating, and what to do when that happens.

Everyone’s thoughts and emotions form our attitudes at a given time, and our feelings can alter our perception of a situation.

We learned that aggressive and therefore potentially dangerous driving usually starts with something small like a flash of headlights or a beep, which can quickly escalate to verbal abuse. The next thing you know there’s a confrontation or worse. Vic told us if we’re being followed, never drive home but go to a friend’s house or even better, directly to the nearest police station.

This might seem common sense but when we’re in a panic situation, it’s easy to forget the obvious and default to a less safe option.

Some of us were surprised to find we were the aggressors ourselves, as we were asked what we’d do in certain situations. Of course, it wasn’t me, guv!

We were then taken to Kia’s pristine and shiny workshops where we split into groups and were shown what’s under the bonnet. There are surprisingly few parts we need to know about these days compared with older motors, but even so we should all be able to top up our oil and water, and know what the battery looks like.

All of us came away with some really useful tips and techniques, and those I spoke to were certainly glad they’d gone.


Women in Gear run free courses from time to time across Sussex.