Tag Archives: car dealerships

A Ladies First female friendly dealership concept

nissan_ladies_firstEarlier this year Frost & Sullivan research confirmed that women drivers will soon outnumber men on UK roads as they have done in the USA. It’s a simple case of demographics and the fact that younger women expect to drive cars for the rest of their lives, compared to older pre Baby Boomer females who were rarely expected to drive or never got round to it.

Their new research tells us what women are looking for from our cars and how different manufacturers are addressing this gender opportunity.

Apparently women want intuitive vehicle controls, automatic assist features, integrated technology and a quiet, comfortable and plush cabin.

In response, the 2014 Mercedes S Class features a host of female-oriented options including a perfume atomiser, an ionising air system and an absence of plastic. The new Porsche Macan – aimed at women – has almost endless options for personalisation.

Ford’s automatic boot opener and its advert portraying a woman using her stiletto to activate this was such a success it resulted in high sales of the Ford Kuga and apparently BMW then copied the feature and the advert (which I clearly missed…).

Female friendly car dealerships


But now the gender battleground is shifting to car dealerships. Nissan has come out as the first car company that plans to revamp 300 of their dealerships in Japan, tailoring them to women.

Called the “Ladies First” project, Nissan has opened a pilot in the Tokyo suburb of Fuchu. Managed by women and manned by women, it aims to make the car shopping experience much more female friendly.

These dealerships will be modern, serene and with a team of female concierges providing child care during appointments. Female mechanics will avoid unnecessary techno-speak and Nissan wants to see a minimum of 50 percent of sales and retail teams across the globe to be women.

Their research confirms that 80 percent of women going to a car dealer want to have a woman sales person. As the saying goes (more in Japan than the UK I think), “Happy wife, happy life…”

Those of you familiar with the FOXY formula will know of our FOXY Lady Approved female friendly garage and car dealer network doing a similar job but monitoring dealership performance as an independent brand.

Whereas efforts towards this sort of workforce diversity will take many years to come to fruition, Ghosn has established a system called “fJury” (female jury), where a panel of women provide feedback and approve every stage of any new vehicle design process.

From Germanic macho to mumsy…

At long last BMW has been forced to look at their largely successful “ultimate driving machine” marketing slogan. They realised it worked with mostly male piston heads, but something far more sophisticated was needed to capture a new female consumer. So the “Joy” campaign was born??? Going from taglines such as “Fasterpiece” to “Joy is Maternal” is supposed to bring a different feel to the brand.

As a 5’3” female driving a BMW that was clearly designed for a taller man (and who is unlikely to buy another one) I think they need to build cars for females first, not just give their campaigns frilly monnikers.

Female staff in the motor industry

Major auto makers are now putting women at the head of vehicle design and roll out in these key future markets. For example, Lamborghini’s trim and colour assembly team is 75 percent female, and BMW has an all-female team of engineers working on product development for the BMWi user interface.

For the auto industry the female consumer has thrown the innovation race wide open and there are many yet to come to the party. The question is will manufacturers develop and launch vehicles specifically designed for women, or will they customize cars for both sexes.

The female business case should make that an easy answer.



This blog came out of an interesting article published by Forbes and written by Olivia Price Walker, Senior Consultant and author of Frost & Sullivan’s “Women in Cars; Changing Auto Industry Dynamics.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/sarwantsingh/2014/08/28/will-cars-of-the-future-be-designed-for-women-only/

Seven things the dealership should include with your next car

This GUEST BLOG is written by Steph Colinswood, the Marketing Manager of ‘Safe and Sound.’

If you’re in the process of changing your car, you want to be sure you’re buying from a dealer you can trust. One that isn’t going to patronise you just because you’re a female, right?

Females often draw the short straw when it comes to customer service at dealerships. Possibly because some staff think we don’t know what we’re talking about when it comes to buying cars. Sadly some dealerships still try to hoodwink us or sell us a vehicle that may not be what it seems.

The truth is that if you are buying a car, you need to make sure that the dealer includes the Significant Seven – seven extremely important elements that will help you pick the bangers from the bargains AND provide the ultimate peace of mind to you as a motorist.

So without further ado, here they are:

1 A full background check
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects. Without the background check being done, you won’t know whether the vehicle has an outstanding finance arrangement, has been stolen previously, was written off and then given a new identity, or whether there are discrepancies with the number plates or VIN/chassis number. The background check (often referred to as a provenance check) is the ONLY way to guarantee that the vehicle is exactly what you would expect it to be and if anything is flagged as unusual, DON’T BUY IT no matter how good a deal it is.

2 A safety inspection
A safety inspection is the only way to rule out any accident causing defects, which could put you and other road users in serious danger. Typically, dealers carrying out safety inspections will check all the items covered during an MOT, including but not limited to whether there is sufficient tread on the tyres, the operation of the headlights, oil levels, seatbelt operation and checks for windscreen damage and worn brakes. It is the only way to make sure your new car is actually safe to drive in the first place.

3 A comprehensive warranty
Sudden mechanical and electrical failures cause financial difficulty for many people as it’s often hard to have a contingency motoring budget in place when the cost of living is so high. If you purchase a vehicle that doesn’t come with a warranty, then you will be at risk of facing repair bills which could run into thousands of pounds – a typical engine replacement will set you back over £2,000 alone! Remember to ask the dealer what level of warranty cover is included, the duration and claim limit, and make sure that it covers as a bare minimum the engine, gearbox, timing belts and ECU (electronic control unit) as these are the most costly to repair.

4 Recovery breakdown
A comprehensive level of breakdown cover should at minimum cover you for home and roadside repairs and assistance, and an onward destination service. If you have a warranty in place then you could claim for the tow-in charges and car hire as part of your claim liability, but always ensure that you get this authorised first of all by the warranty company. If you are planning to take the vehicle abroad, remember to check how many days of EU cover are included, and whether you will need to pay an excess if you make a callout.

5 A mileage verification
A mileage verification goes hand-in-hand with the background check and many dealers will automatically include it so remember to clarify this with them once they’ve completed said background check. If the mileage on the odometer doesn’t match that in the V5 document, then it may have been ‘clocked’ (mileage reset or wound back) to give the appearance that the vehicle has travelled less than it actually has, cloned or it could have a hidden past.

6 An independent price
Unless you happen to carry around a car valuation retail price guide, then you are unlikely to know what is determined a ‘fair’ price for the vehicle you are about to buy. To make sure that you are not paying over the top, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the dealer and use a valuation website such as www.usedcarexpert.co.uk before you visit the dealership who will provide three independent valuations based on the make, model, age, mileage and even geographical location of the vehicle you are intending to buy.

7 A dealer buy-back promise
Most dealers will take your vehicle as part-exchange when you come to change it again as they want you to come back, but there are some that won’t. Make sure you get a written guarantee that the dealer will purchase the vehicle back from you regardless of its age, mileage and condition which can be used as part-payment for your next vehicle.

If you buy your next vehicle from a ‘Safe and Sound’ dealership then you’ll automatically receive these seven elements (worth £500) FREE OF CHARGE for your ultimate peace of mind.

For more information please visit www.safeandsound.co.uk.

‘Safe and Sound’ is endorsed by motor racing legend Sir Stirling Moss OBE, who says “If you buy a Safe car, you’re going to make a Sound investment. I am pleased to have my name associated with ‘Safe and Sound’; it is a winning product for motorists in the UK.”

West Sussex Women in Gear

Jacquie Davis showed us how to cope with the unexpected...
Last week I attended a garage evening for women in Goring, West Sussex, organised by Birchwood Motor Group. I went with a Club member who wanted some company!

The evening split into three parts starting with a speaker about road rage followed by a session in the garage and rounded up with a talk about self defence, just in case.

The first speaker was a former Chief Police Inspector turned behaviour expert. He explained how most of us have preconceived ideas about motorists which are all too often groundless.

Anyone who drives too fast, too slow, who tailgates us or doesn’t indicate when we think they should may be immediately said to be too old, too young, male wearing a hat (!) or female… Needless to say, these perceptions can put us in a really bad mood when driving. But women shouldn’t be intimidated by the road rage they encounter. The perpetrators are just bullies (usually male in our case) and we shouldn’t let them make us feel like victims either or be tempted to inflame a situation by our body language.

If you have made a mistake say sorry, don’t smile, stay calm throughout, drive confidently at all times and carry on regardless…

The next session took us past the latest Suzuki and Skoda models into the garage area where we were then split into groups and shown by patient technicians how to change a wheel, check our tyres and top up oils and fluid levels. I overheard one lady admitting she hadn’t realised that different cars needed different oils and we were all able to ask motoring-related questions in a fairly jargon free environment.

At this stage we were all treated to a surprise supper including fresh sandwiches, pastries and hot and cold drinks.

The highlight of the evening for me was a quite remarkable lady called Jacquie Davis who then talked to us about self protection; she had been a personal bodyguard and mentioned some really hairy assignments. My initial reaction was that I didn’t want to think about having to defend myself for real but in a group of 80 females we all had a good laugh at imagining how we might. I can still see Jackie fending off her (smaller technician) ‘attacker’ as well as her novel uses for an umbrella and any innocent pen that might come in handy if someone chose to invade her personal space…

Jackie’s advice was to trust your instincts – if you think you are in danger you probably are so get ready to run or fight. You can charge your adrenaline levels by pumping (ie opening and closing) your fists several times. This does work she says although I’ve not needed it to yet… Put handbags under seats not on passenger seats; lock all doors in cities; go round not through parks at night; don’t stop the car in a dark place even if it seems to be police doing the asking – if it’s genuine they’ll understand if you drive to a lit up forecourt or the nearest police station before getting out. In a nutshell don’t take unnecessary risks and do put as much distance between him and you as possible…

All in all a great evening and all credit to Birchwood Motor Group’s staff. Most of them were male of course but I did spot a female Service Manager which is a rare and wonderful thing. The attitude of the Dealer Principal was particularly refreshing – ‘We are here to serve you’ he said and the whole team did exactly that including offering to park our cars on arrival bringing them up to the door for us when we left (with a goody bag to remind us of the night).

Well done Birchwood Motor Group for providing evenings like this for women drivers in Sussex. And to the AVF Communications team for organising the Women In Gear programme on their behalf.


If you are looking for a female friendly garage or dealership like this one, near you, check out the FOXY Choice website. It identifies all measurable signs of quality which is oh so important because few motorists realise that UK garages don’t have to be licensed or mechanics qualified. And we’re talking about your personal safety here.

Are they having a larf?

How much did you say?

A number of garages expect me to start the buying process before they tell me how much my car servicing is likely to cost. But I’m foxy, remember; I’m used to comparing prices first and I have no intention of being fobbed off in this way.

If I pick something off a supermarket shelf or High Street clothes rack, for example, I expect to see the price before I buy it.

If it’s more than I want to pay I can keep looking or go elsewhere. Whether it’s a tin of beans, a car service or a fitted kitchen…

And I don’t expect to be asked for my personal details before I’m given a price. That’s enough to send me packing elsewhere…

So when my car needs servicing or repairs I want to know what my choices are and to be able to compare, like for like, what it’s going to cost for my car and model. Because otherwise it’s nigh on impossible to judge what’s best value for money for me, the car and the occasion.

As things stand…some garages publish car servicing tariffs online and others don’t.

Most dealerships and leading independent garages include car collection services whereas few national chain garages and fast-fits do…

And some garage brokers publish a price tariff and collect your car but don’t tell you which garage will be doing the work. This worries me because a low price can be a function of quality workmanship and this is an industry where garages aren’t regulated and mechanics do not have to be accredited as fit for purpose...

Yet many garage and main dealership websites expect motorists to book car servicing and MOTs via their website without confirming a price or giving an estimate for starters. And one assumes people trust them sufficiently to do this…

Well, knowing what I do about the UK’s garage industry I wouldn’t buy expensive garage services without knowing
1     who the garage is
2    whether it’s up to the job ie what are their credentials
3    what my local choices are and
4    that the price is a fair one in my circumstances (from a value for money point of view).

So my advice to all foxy lady drivers is to check the garage in question for measurable signs of quality (like ATA, BSI and OFT logos), look for a tariff (or ask for an estimate in advance) and shop around. And my advice to garages is to publish some sort of estimate before they go to someone else who does.

It’s a very competitive world when it comes to buying car servicing and/or vehicle repairs and this means that independents, dealerships, fastfits and bodyshops must each set out their wares to attract the right customer and car. Prices, customer services and amenities – not just the work they do.

Having said that, it is rarely in any motorist’s best interest to buy a used car or garage service on price alone and no-one should be fooled into buying any garage service or repair without getting a quote in advance…

Sadly too many foxy lady drivers are paying more than they need without realising this until afterwards.

To find out about your choice of garage solutions and signs of garage quality to look for, see FOXY’s Good Garage Guide. And if it’s female friendly garages you’re after, visit FOXY Choice’s website and email selected businesses direct to compare their prices and service levels first.

Finally let us know how you get on and, whilst this offer stands, we’ll thank women who give us garage feedback with a free gift of membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club worth £23. Where we share the word about the best businesses to benefit foxy lady members and their families…


Garages compete for the female purse

Car servicing is very valuable business for independent garages, fastfits and franchised car dealerships. By keeping in touch with local women drivers who have been or might become future customers garages are more likely to see us more often, for women drivers to trust them and for us to recommend them to our family and friends.

Whilst it has been true and easy of old to say that independent garages are much cheaper than dealerships, the recession has to a certain degree bridged this value gap with more offers, discounts and services than ever before. Certainly this is what FOXY Choice is finding across the UK (that dealerships are getting more competitive in the search for more business).

Our advice to female motorists is to always start with an open mind and by doing your garage services shopping homework online, you’ll be better prepared in terms of knowing the local experts each occasion plus measurable quality factors and probable prices before simply going to the same old garage as before…

In terms of customer loyalty levels when it comes to car servicing I read that Honda drivers are most likely to revisit their franchised car dealerships (39.5% business retained for cars of all ages for servicing in 2009 BUT how do they know this after the car is sold I wonder? ) whereas the likes of Rover and MG, Nissan and Fiat languish towards the bottom of this Trend Tracker 2008 loyalty league survey (which surprises me about Nissan).

No surprises about MG Rover picking up after the XPart network took on that motoring responsibility.

All in all, across all brands and ages of cars surveyed, independent garages accounted for c38.4% of all services carried out. The future therefore brings interesting times ahead with the likes of Toyota leading the field (who will follow) by lengthening their warranty to 5 years in an obvious move to keep dealership contact with their customers for longer.

Providing female friendly marketing services to garages FOXY Choice’s experience is that some independents are doing brilliantly and others are struggling to stay alive. With little in between. The difference seems to be location (near competition vs niche wealthy area), perceived quality (and dare I say a commitment to female friendly standards as a minimum…) and therefore perceived value for money.

Most of us know that ‘too cheap’ is bad news in the garage industry but you have to know that garages aren’t licensed and too many mechanics aren’t qualified to understand why this could reflect in your being ripped off; or worse, left with an unsafe car. Few of our younger drivers understand this and I think the UK motor industry could do more to get this message across.

You also need to know which garages/fastfits/dealerships will sell you products you don’t need because they are encouraged to do so to earn commission as part of their income. More than we realise I suspect…

It’s a competitive world and the best and ethical garages need to stand out in a crowd of sometime mediocrity. Have a look at the FOXY Choice website to read which are the genuinely good and best garages near you in our FOXY Good Garage Guide. Then search for ‘female friendly garages’ and your nearest postal town to see which businesses have signed the female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need’. Imho this simple promise matters to women much more than the industry seems to appreciate.

And whilst this is early days for our reasonably new female friendly marketing service for garages, it’s telling to see those that can and can’t sign the FOXY Promise.

Find out about female friendly garages near you…


Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs