Tag Archives: car shopping

Is this a female friendly car dealership record?


Bassetts Nissan in Bridgend is laying down a female gauntlet claiming to be the most female friendly car dealership in Wales because of the number of female staff they employ.

Here are the six women in their team – Jo Thomas, Sales Controller, Mags Button, Sales Executive, Abby Pedersen, Sales Admin, Amy Crothers, Service Manager, Natalie Edwards, Service Advisor and Sarah Parsons, Receptionist.

Now we are great fans of Nissan in Japan with their concierge and creche services to enhance the car shopping experience for women but we think this MIGHT well be the first instance of a female takeover in a UK showroom anywhere…

Unless of course, you know different?


PS: As a FOXY Lady Approved dealership within the same Bassetts family, Bassetts of Swansea might have something to say here. And they’re offering members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club an extra 10% affinity car shopping discount off brand new Citroens, just to make us females feel more at home in a dealership than ever before.

PPS: To find a female friendly garage or car dealer near you, search the FOXYChoice.com website for your local quality choices.

Is this how we’ll car shop in future?

Hyundai Rockar in Bluewater Shopping Centre
Hyundai store in Bluewater
I have always thought that the concept of a travel agent, for travel and destination advice followed up by holiday delivery, would work well for those of us shopping for a new car.

An independent and personal service with transparent charges to make sure customers were aware of the measurably best car choices in their particular search category even if they then decided to buy another.

At least they’d have known their choices.

And knowing the female influence here and what many women think of the car showroom experience, I’d want any such car shopping business model to include female sales staff as an obvious sign of a genuinely female friendly car dealership service.

The Rockar model

So Hyundai’s digital car buying service, badged as Rockar back in November 2014, seemed to be a step in this direction, with a physical store at Bluewater shopping centre off the M25. Apparently 54% of car buyers here have been women and their average age is 39. Rockar also reports that 60% of buying customers completed their car shopping purchase online and later.

Clearly this made financial sense because Hyundai then opened a second Rockar-branded store in Westfield Stratford.

And now Jaguar Land Rover is following suit in October 2016 with the option for customers to buy their cars online or from the Rockar store at Stratford.

Car ‘angel’ experts

This is where car shoppers will be greeted by ‘angels,’ described as ‘non-selling product experts’ in response to changing needs and demands from JLR customers. Now I can’t see what gender these ‘angels’ are to be but I’d guess that there’ll be a significant female presence…

These ‘angels’ will offer advice (about Hyundai and JLR choices) as well as help customers with the in-store car configurators and show them around the display cars. Customers can then complete their purchase on the accompanying website, there and then, or afterwards at home.

The only part of the after sales service that isn’t clear (to me) as yet is how Rockar handles any new car delivery gremlins and/or the car’s future servicing and/or repairs. Inevitably the best solution for the customer is always a local one, with dealers who will surely want to be part of (or compete with) the Rockar model to win as much business as possible for themselves?

All this competition is great for customers of course. Unless local dealerships can’t afford to compete with the Rockar model? Because, as things stand, it looks as if some car manufacturers are competing with themselves to sell cheaper cars to the same audience.

Only time will tell if this catches on, with more brands joining in.

Steph Savill


This is a Top Ten Automotive blog 2016.

The critical importance of a thorough car check

pink_lady-showing-key-holding-hand-40899761Whenever it’s to do with motoring, men and women think and act differently at car shopping time.

Despite being the gender most likely to influence the final car shopping decision (in 80% of all cases in the UK), all too often women feel they are being ignored in manufacturer advertising and then intimidated and even overlooked in showrooms. This is often most apparent when she enters a showroom with a man. Too often the salesman ignores her, without finding out who the car is for, preferring to talk to a man during the car buying experience!

And knowing how dire the female feedback about the car shopping experience has been in recent surveys, such as the ones from Good Housekeeping and DifferentSpin.com I am always on the alert for new found knowledge that I can share with our FOXY Lady Approved car dealers and Club members.

Research from Experian’s AutoCheck confirms that one in ten cars they check has outstanding finance recorded and one in eight is listed as an insurance write-off. Think about it – the car you are considering buying from a dealer or privately could be reclaimed by a finance house and/or not owned by the person who is selling it.

Why a thorough car check matters

This is yet another worrying example of what can happen when you go car shopping for a used car in an unregulated industry where complaints are all too common.

Too many of us are too trusting having been seduced by the shiny look of a gleaming ‘new’ car that’s hiding mechanical problems. That’s mechanical problems usually borne out of neglected car care such as regular servicing and/or maintenance. If an elderly car has been neglected for a long period of its life, especially when it comes to regular oil and filter changes, it will likely have lost its reliability and, chances are, it’s waiting to prove this to you just after you’ve bought it or any warranty expires!

Negotiating the price of a used car

When it comes to finalising the price of a used car, the motor industry is in a league of its own due to so many potential smoke and mirrors tactics designed to confuse the car shopper. Whilst a cash transaction is easy most of us consider using finance and may need to part exchange a car. That’s when it gets more complicated and in many cases of used car sales it’s all too confusing by intent.

Sadly many women are too trusting that the advertised price of a used car is a fair one. Or they’ve picked a car that the salesman (it’s usually a male – we’d like to see more females doing this job…) is happy to discount when he knows the car’s background and you don’t. Too many bad cars are being sold as a ‘special price for you’ and it’s only when the ‘warranty’ expires that you start to learn why…

So the point of this blog is to remind all of us to get our cars checked before we buy them. Twice. Once via the likes of Experian’s AutoCheck to make sure the car in question is free of finance and hasn’t been in an accident or stolen.

And again (a different sort of check) to get a trusted mechanic or a dedicated service to give it the once over. Yes, you should be able to rely on the vehicle checks carried out by a car dealer promoting a well known named ‘Approved Car’ scheme but we know of instances where unscrupulous dealers have ticked all the multiple check boxes, actively disguising a missing car servicing history and MOT advisories that hadn’t been addressed pre sale. Clearly the price you pay is critical here, as is any advertising that suggests the car is in better shape than it turns out to be…

So that’s about it from me. When it comes to buying a car, women shouldn’t need to take a man with them and certainly members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club have no need to. Because they can either shop at a FOXY Lady Approved dealer that’s signed a promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’ Or they can ask us for advice and support before shopping elsewhere. And should things go wrong of course.

For example, if the dealer doesn’t get it right or put it right afterwards (most do), we’d then tell the members about this. That’s the FOXY way – fair and feminine by any name!

So if you’re planning on buying a new ie used car soon I recommend you join The Club BEFORE you need us, because we may well help you buy a better car deal than you’d end up with on your own!

And you’ll see we have a special Club offer with Experian’s AutoCheck too (subject to terms and availability) – one of many exclusive member benefits.


Car leasing versus outright purchase

couple_convertible_pinkWhen we get such favourable feedback from females about a local car leasing business, we have to find out more.

For example, this is what Club member Jen in Chichester has to say about Pinksauce Leasing.

Fantastic service! I can’t recommend Chris and Lyndsay enough. I went to them needing a new car for a new job which involved a long commute. Not having any idea what make or model I wanted. They did all the research for me on MPG, showed me a lot of pictures and advised on several suitable cars. They were friendly and approachable and didn’t make me feel silly for knowing next to zero about cars! Talking independently about the best car for me rather than pushing certain makes due to commission. Simply fantastic!

And this is what Club member Shelley in Basingstoke tells us about them.

I couldn’t recommend Pinksauce Leasing enough! Lyndsay was extremely helpful, offering great advice and service, backed up with sound knowledge, expertise and experience. The deal I was offered was of fantastic value and through every step she was honest, fair and informative with great communication. Top lady!

Why Car Leasing is so popular

Car leasing has boomed over the last few years and for good financial reason.

Of course you can still buy a new car using finance and/or cash but when you come to sell it, you will take a seriously heavy depreciation hit which is hard to calculate and therefore too often ignored at the car shopping stage.

Just to give you a clue about the figures, according to research by CAP Automotive, depreciation will cost the typical motorist three times as much as they spend at the petrol pump. That brings it home, a potential loss of some 15-35% in the first year and up to 50% or more over three years. Or, in hard cash terms, buy a medium sized family car and three years later it’s worth c£12k less.

Whereas leasing of sorts means you pay a fixed monthly amount over an agreed term then either walk away at the end of the contract, buy the car off, or choose another car and sign a new contract. It’s certainly more transparent and easier to budget for! No wonder so many younger drivers are opting for this method.

Either way, it’s important to choose the best car for the job in hand which is where FOXY can help Club members, of course, with their car shopping choices.

For example, Personal Contract Hire (or Business Contract Hire) is based on a fixed annual mileage agreed when you take out the contract. You need to decide how many miles you are likely to drive each year before quotations can be obtained. Once you say how many miles you drive in a year and the car you’d like, the leasing business can prepare a quotation for you and advise where necessary.

About Pink Sauce

Pink Sauce Leasing is based in Chichester and run by Mr and Mrs Pink. No it’s not just a case of colouring their website pink to give it girl appeal – the name is for real! That’s Chris (Dad) and Lyndsay (Mum), covering new car leasing requests for motorists across Sussex and Hampshire.

Chris worked for several manufacturers and leading car dealership groups for some 20 years before deciding to do something about the treadmill approach of many businesses to selling cars. This is why he and Lyndsay decided to go solo, explains Chris.

“Some customers mentioned their purchase experience felt like being on a corporate conveyor belt which upset me because any new car purchase, bearing in mind these are always high ticket ones, should make a customer feel very special and yet few do. Whereas we look after all the boring stuff which the car dealers and finance partners need to allow our customers to enjoy a stress free car shopping experience.”

We’re pleased to meet you on our patch, Chris and Lyndsay.

For More Information

You can find out more about Pink Sauce Leasing here.
Website: http://www.pinksauceleasing.co.uk
Tel: 01243 767121
Email: info@pinksauceleasing.co.uk

For advice and hand holding support throughout the car shopping experience you would do well to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club in advance.

Why Women Drivers Matter

mary_barra_changeOn International Women’s Day one’s thoughts can happily turn to our own gender, hopefully without someone feeling the need to tell me there’s no International Men’s Day.

Well there mightn’t be but so what? If I want to write about women, celebrate feminism, praise the achievements of my gender, the new Women’s Equality Party and/or remind everyone why women matter then so be it.

Men have been patting themselves on their backs for years and that’s fine by me. But today it’s our turn and sadly the gender news in the motor industry isn’t as self congratulatory as it might look to those that don’t know how to scratch the surface here.

But let’s take this step by step…

1) The economic importance of women drivers

As you know, my blog is about women and motoring (by and large) so you can expect me to confine my comments to this area. So it’s worth reminding ourselves that the number of women drivers on UK roads will soon overtake that of men on our roads. So that’s close to 50% of all car tax, insurance and fuel payments/taxation straight away. We were at 47% of license holders last year for your information…

Then let’s add in the fact that women buy about half of all ‘new’ cars in their own right, influencing as many as 80% of all cars bought*. By influence, that’s when ‘he’ chooses the car but says to the salesman ‘that’s what I want but my wife/partner needs to approve this before I pay’. In the US they say this female influence accounts for as many as 90% of car sales. And some car dealers put this at 100%, based on evident experience (and a wicked sense of down-trodden humour I suspect).

* estimated as two million brand new cars and some five million used cars.

2) The female motoring multiplier effect

The point of this massive consumer motoring influence is that this also represents jobs in manufacturing plants, jobs in UK car dealerships, in garages and automotive suppliers – as well as the spin off effect of the jobs created to serve the expenditure from these jobs and so on. So what women buy (or not?) influences jobs and the businesses that do best and so on.

At FOXY Lady Drivers Club we feel the female shopping effect particularly strongly when it comes to buying garage services today. Like the many cars women are increasingly buying online (rather than going to unfriendly garages/car dealerships) an increasing number of busy females are shopping for MOT’s, car servicing and both mechanical & bodywork repairs online, often at night, for the family fleet. Even if those women then delegate the test drive and/or garage visit to a male (that’s another story for another blog…).

3) Is our fantastic motor industry as good as it could be?

Let’s look at the key statistics taken from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) excellent Facts Guide (2015).

+ The UK automotive industry turnover was a cool £69.5 billion in 2015
+ There are more than 32 million cars on our roads
+ More than 1.5 million cars were built in the UK in 2014
+ 2.47 million new cars were first registered in 2014
+ Nearly 800,000 individuals are employed in the UK automotive industry
+ 7 out of 10 F1 teams are based in the UK
+ 80% of the world’s largest automotive suppliers are based in the UK

Impressive figures for sure but let’s remember – this is the industry that we women are paying our fair share towards and much as I’d love to carry on crowing about it, I can’t because it doesn’t represent our female needs. But it should.

In a nutshell this industry needs to be a lot more female friendly than it is. Too many women prefer visiting dentists than garages. Recent research** suggests 90% of a Mumsnet and Reevoo female sample would not go car shopping without a man and women are three times more likely to report an ‘awful’ than ‘excellent’ experience in a dealership.

How can this be good enough for such important customers I have to ask?

**See Different Spin research.

Don’t you think we women deserve better than this guys, when you see why we should matter so much more to you?

4) The missing female industry talent

Whilst it’s International Women’s Day and a chance to celebrate our female influence in the automotive industry I’m sad to end this blog on a negative note, although this can become a future positive given genuine intent.

In a recent film project involving ITN, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) suggests that a woeful 2% of jobs in this industry are occupied by women. I was horrified and have questioned this. Can it possibly be so low?

Accurate or not, diversity needs to be a top level strategic Board agenda objective and reported on annually by both the SMMT and the RMI (Retail Motor Industry Federation) about their respective memberships. We should surely benchmark best gender practice wherever we find it, to encourage the many laggards here to get their act together, once and for all, to represent female customers (and future employees) in the Boardroom. Only then will the ambitious female talent pipeline have somewhere appealing to head for in this industry rather than the many more female friendly career destinations we compete with.

5) Quotas are needed in the motor industry

I suggest we measure this gender outcome in future International Women’s Days to come. Quite frankly I’m not interested in Lord Davies’ token 25% gender targets now. We’re too far behind to follow his footsteps gently. We need an urgent and determined stride towards the only gender metric that really matters – 50:50. And we’re SO far away from this goal in the UK automotive industry that I can’t see us getting there without QUOTAS.

If I’m wrong, and I’d love to be, pray tell me how come waiting for the female creme de la creme to rise to the top of the automotive industry naturally hasn’t happened to date? And why it would do in future without benchmark quotas to meet? It certainly isn’t because we aren’t good enough.

If you are against quotas (as I was originally) please work out how long it’ll take to be fair to female employees and customers if we don’t impose female quotas? But don’t tell me you would only want to be chosen ‘for being the best’ because you aren’t even in the final selection process as is…

How can 2% of jobs allocated to women in any industry be fair enough or suggest that any women who were chosen in a future quota aren’t good enough (or even the best) to too many male Board members who clearly don’t want any sitting at their top table?

As I see it, the time is right for gender quotas in the automotive industry and not just in the UK one either. I don’t see the industry has a choice unless women continue to let it get away with this any longer.

By all means tell me what you think via Twitter @FOXYSteph or info@foxyladydrivers.com.

And if any automotive businesses would like my help to get on the female radar ahead of others, be sure to get in touch with me via my personal website.


NB: Our country earns a similar amount of motoring-related tax as it spends on defence, and twice as much as we spend on education it seems. I also wish more women voted hence my support for the Women’s Equality Party.