Tag Archives: car shopping

Will pension freedom create British car buying bonanza?

jaguar_rally_c1761211_1371_453People aged 55 and over can now do what they like with their retirement savings rather than have to buy an annuity to get a guaranteed monthly income for life.

This will affect an estimated c500,000 individuals with many likely to cash in their pension pots to buy a new car, creating a potential car sales bonanza for car dealers.

And wouldn’t it be nice if this could benefit UK based car manufacturers and contribute the entire price paid directly into the UK economy? Rather than shoring up rival German, French and non British manufacturers and economies perhaps?

Clearly car dealerships selling these European cars employ UK staff, pay taxes and contribute to the UK economy in this way but for those who would prefer to ‘Buy British’ what are your choices?

Only three are wholly British owned and expensive with it, but happily there are still cars that are made ie assembled in Britain, providing important manufacturing jobs, as follows.

BRITISH OWNED

+ Caterham Cars Ltd

+ McLaren Automotive

+ Morgan Motor Company Ltd

MADE IN BRITAIN

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The following companies build cars in Britain, but are not UK owned.

Aston Martin is owned by two Kuwaiti companies (Investment Dar and Adeem Investments) and builds the DB9, Rapide, Virage and DBS in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Bentley Motors is owned by Volkswagen and builds the Continental, Flying Spur and Mulsanne models in Crewe, Cheshire.

Honda is Japanese owned and builds the Civic, CRV and Jazz in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Jaguar/Land Rover cars are built in the West Midlands and Liverpool and owned by Tata Motor Company of India.

Lotus is Malaysian owned and builds the Elise, Evora and Exige in Norfolk.

MG Motors builds the MG3 and MG6 in Birmingham, owned by SAIC of China.

MINI builds in Cowley, Oxford and is owned by BMW in Germany.

Nissan is Japanese owned and builds the Juke, Qashqai, Note and LEAF in Sunderland.

Toyota is Japanese owned and builds the Auris and Avensis in Derbyshire.

Rolls Royce is owned by BMW and builds the Ghost, Phantom and Wraith in West Sussex.

Vauxhall Motors are part of US General Motors and build Astras at Ellesmere Port and the Vivaro van in Luton

In case you wonder why there is no mention of Ford, they no longer produce cars in the UK but still manufacture engines in Bridgend & Dagenham as well as transmissions in Halewood.

And for those that might think I have forgotten the iconic three wheeled Robin Reliant, this was transferred to a company called B&N Plastics in Suffolk that still supplies car parts but sadly there are no production plans for new Robins at the moment…

FOXY

PS: If I have missed anything or got this wrong in any way please email me at info@foxyladydrivers.com to update this.

Mary Portas makes over female friendly used car dealer

mary portas comingBack in October I was invited to be part of the Mary Portas Secret Shopper series because we now identify, vet and approve used car dealers, not just garages, with women in mind.

And tonight (Tuesday 17 March, Channel Four, Secret Shopper, 8pm) we’ll see what Mary makes of all this, including behind the scene events I haven’t seen but that will likely make compelling TV for women drivers and not entirely comfortable viewing for many used car dealers in the motor industry.

The first filming session I got involved in was at Silverstone when I met up with three lovely female driving instructors (more about them in my next blog) who had similarly strident views about what women want. And as you might expect, women telling men what to do doesn’t always go down well although whether that bit will be filmed, we’ll have to wait and see…

The second bit was at the car dealer itself, Gatehouse Cars in Aylesbury, where Mary had done her magic to spruce up the car sales setting. On what was a cold and grey day in an industrial looking environment…

I’ll be interested to see how this all comes together.

My main delight was to hear Mary saying what I’ve been saying for years now ie that this dealer (and many others like them in the motor industry) needs to up their customer service levels to get them right for demanding women because women expect MORE than those men who have got used to the way motoring things are in overly masculine garages and car dealers. And of course, higher standards benefit men too.

mary nails certificateAnd because, with a bit of luck, she’ll be pinning one of our FOXY Lady Approved certificates on the Gatehouse Cars wall so women can see that they have a female friendly car shopping choice if they use one of our dealers.

And that we welcome all feedback from females about their car shopping experiences afterwards. To keep them on their toes and so we are happy to promote them to members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

What women think of car dealers

women expect moreThe female friendly business case is a simple one in the masculine motor industry. We expect higher standards than those that men seem resigned to and we want them NOW…

This matters because the number of women drivers will soon overtake men on UK roads and busy females are increasingly looking for service levels that recognise their needs and exceed their expectations. Sadly this is not happening in many cases today.

For the time being, female perceptions seem at an all time low when it comes to car shopping, as confirmed in a recent (2014) survey of c2600 women drivers carried out by Good Housekeeping. This revealed that:

+ The majority of women think car dealerships can be more female friendly

+ 70 per cent of women had experienced car salesmen ignoring them in favour of a male companion

+ the final car buying decision about a family is usually a joint gender decision for 53 per cent

+ 43 per cent of women made the car buying decision alone

+ 49 per cent find car sales staff patronising

+ 36 per cent felt vulnerable and lacked confidence visiting car dealerships

+ Some 25% felt that the tone used by car salesmen was disrespectful

+ Only 18 per cent of women felt that the car sales staff communicated all the details they required in language they understood

Clearly the only way is up for this industry which is why the genuinely female friendly car dealers need to join forces via us to get the message out that there is a female choice of used and new car dealers where this doesn’t happen.

Genuinely female friendly dealers that meet our standards can apply to become FOXY Lady Approved and together we will help restore female trust levels. But if any dealer joins us thinking we’ll simply turn on a tap of foxy ladies they’ll be mistaken because the business needs to meet our compliance standards ie demonstrate their female friendly dealer credentials before we can reassure local women about them.

Luckily for the good guys (yes they are usually male) we are a unique and highly professional marketing service, used to marketing to women (so that’s a good start) and together we can drive up standards by sharing feedback among the willing to learn (shameless sales plug over…).

HOW FEMALES SEE DEALERS WHEN CAR SHOPPING

It’s time the industry had a good look at itself, warts and all, as female customers see them. Here are a few clues…

+ We don’t want to haggle.

+ We don’t want to read about innocent car buyers being overcharged because they walk into a new car dealership at the wrong time of the month/year and pay a higher price than they might do otherwise.

+ We don’t want to be sold extras we don’t need.

+ We don’t want to read about cheap cars being sold without service histories or handbooks (when surprise, surprise they go wrong).

+ We’re fed up with ‘holier than thou’ promises re car warranties that offer less protection than the Sale of Goods Act.

And we want competitive financial products too…
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What an industry! Let’s get some licensing safeguards in here as soon as possible.

Time for MotorCodes to look at the New Car Code of Practice; to make licensing compulsory for car sales staff as per the IMI’s Professional Register; to up the minimum used car sales/warranty standards to meet fussy female needs (and delight fed up beleaguered male motorists in the process).

Getting service levels right for women means upping standards for all in this industry. The time is right for doing this and I want to be involved in creating the more female friendly motor industry that women clearly want and deserve.

Rant over for now…

FOXY

Audis I have known and loved

I’ve driven two Audis to date, an Audi 80 in the 80s and a very stylish S2 coupe in the early 90s when my corporate career justified this. And I continue to very nearly buy an Audi TT and I probably will one day.

So you can see I have a soft spot for the brand and know from past experience that Audis make ideal company cars.

Particularly for high mileage female business executives looking for that all important combination of safety, economy and motoring style as they ply our busy motorways today.

The best Audi engines are usually diesels where high mileage is involved and whilst the SE trim is likely to be more saleable than the basic entry level I can’t really justify spending more than that (for me) unless you need 4 wheel drive of course. I mention this because there are some 47 models, including saloon/hatchback/estate and cabriolet variations of which 21 were petrol and 26 diesel when I last looked…

Yes it’s true that you may have to pay extra for cruise control (if you insist…) but you do get 6 airbags and stability control as standard features and the interior is stylish and uber-comfortable as you might expect from a manufacturer from the Volkswagen stable of car manufacturers.

Looking at other car review websites I see that an ancient evecars.com mention picks up on ‘fiddly buttons to navigate’ and ‘watch out for the bumpy ride’ on their negative list but that JD Power’s most recent survey points out its low depreciation (which is good news when you come to sell or trade it in), a bigger than average boot and impressive running costs to balance the debate.

Either way, we’d happily recommend Audi’s A4 to women drivers for business use in particular, pointing out the reasonable 13% benefits in kind employee contribution tax involved.

FOXY

Inevitably this is a brief and not very comprehensive review of the Audi A4. Being a naturally foxy lady you will do your own and very detailed new car shopping homework well in advance to determine the practicality and required features for your next new car.

If you’d welcome a second and independent opinion of your shortlist, where to go to buy it, or some handholding through the entire car buying process, why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to benefit from our motoring support services and some helpful female feedback here?

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