Tag Archives: dealers

Why blogging matters to small businesses

We’ll soon be merging this blog with the News and Information section of our website. Our various blog topics have all grown like Topsy but from 2018 FOXY Lady Blogs will be posted HERE, to make it easier for our readers.

FOXY Lady blog is critical to getting our message across. In our new Blog Section you’ll find a blog post explaining why we write what we do and how our blog reflects our strategic business plans. It’s all part of our ‘drive’ (pardon the pun) to get what we do to a wider audience as part of an affordable and measurable PR plan.

To raise awareness about the Club, I started the FOXY Lady blog in March 2008, writing for and about women drivers.

It’s not a sexy read and I doubt it’ll make it to the top of a busy female’s ‘must read’ blog list but if women want to know about motoring they stand a chance of finding useful insider information here, with their best interests at heart, when they need it most. Or decide to join the Club for 1:1 support of course.

Writing about motoring for women is certainly a perilous path to tread (some prefer simple and lightweight content whereas others find that approach patronising…) but I do this to amplify the Club’s key messages and for a whole raft of good business reasons.


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Female friendly approved UK garages and car dealers

Steph-garage-250I am often asked if our network is different from others that sound impressive but that any Tom, Dick or Harry garage can join. I can honestly answer ‘yes we’re different’.

We have to be different because a bad garage, or one that pretends to be good but is, at best, mediocre, can compromise our motoring safety. Not just for women but also for men I hasten to add which is why we have many male fans and followers because they realise that our standards are higher than most others….

So, when you choose a FOXY Lady Approved female friendly garage you can be sure that it’s been vetted and endorsed by regular female feedback even if we approve a range of garages. As I see it, there’s no point in sending an out of warranty car and its owner into a franchised dealership and paying over the odds if there’s an approved good independent garage alternative. Unless the dealer is competing with them of course…

Our network is run by FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s sister organisation, FOXY Choice. Approved garages pay us an annual subscription to be identified, promoted and monitored as a female friendly garage or car dealer. I am comfortable with this relationship because it’s their money that funds our not for profit club and if the motor industry was as good as it should be, there’d be no need for the Club or for the good guys to have to be seen to out-perform the cowboys.

But there is a need, because, other than MOT’s, this isn’t a licensed industry. One where anyone can tinker with our cars because service and repair mechanics don’t have to be licensed or trained re the latest technology. An industry where she who knows when, where and how much to haggle will usually pay less for a new car than a more trusting neighbour who might venure into a showroom on her innocent own. Where used cars glint as does the salesman’s eye when he sees a gullible prospect to sell a used car to that he knows is about to blow a metaphorical gasket, just outside a mythical warranty he’s sold you. And where you can buy part worn (aka part safe) tyres or buy a car with part worn tyres without your knowledge. Or get your car repaired using cheap and not authentically original car parts. And so on. You get my drift – scratch any surface in this industry and you’ll find standards that aren’t good enough and that let the genuinely good garages and dealers down.

Clearly Rome wasn’t built in a day but FOXY has always started with minimum quality standards. We like to see businesses (garages and dealers) that have invested in training staff, listed on the IMI Professional Register. We also like to see manufacturer approved businesses because, if things go wrong, you can at least escalate problems through the dealer to the manufacturer…

A second standard is the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) schemes run by Motor Codes (backed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders ie SMMT hence the emphasis of franchised dealerships), another me-too scheme run by Trust My Garage (backed by the Retail Motor Industry Federation ie RMIF hence the emphasis on independents more than franchised dealers) or the identical code-scheme operated by the Bosch Car Service network – mainly independents at the high end of the quality spectrum. Amazingly none of these Code of Practice schemes require staff to be licensed but Motor Codes is an Alternative Dispute Resolution services so at least you have somewhere to go if any of their members (and non members) behave badly.

We also expect businesses to sign the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need’ which is sadly the image that too many women have in their heads. A huge number of women dread the garage experience meaning they don’t go as often as they should for this reason and, in too many cases, delegate the actual MOT, car servicing and often new car test drive to their (male) partner.

Shame on this industry for making us feel intimidated and without a means to fight back. We who are about to outnumber male drivers and who want more for our money. Those who are members of FOXY, can fight back of course, as we will always support them, assuming they’re in the right of course.

My personal bete noir is cleanliness and toilets in garages. These are mainly areas run by men so perhaps cleanliness isn’t as important to them as it would be to us. So where loos are pristine and impressive I heave a huge sigh of relief and want to shout this from the rooftops when inspecting washrooms as customer facilities.

Finally, even garages and dealers with all the quality ratings can be rude. In fact I have encountered some of the rudest men and women in customer facing business roles ever when phoning garages and/or dealers who are clearly oblivious to the way potential customers are treated.

So that’s about it really. A commitment to the FOXY Promise, minimum quality standards, any indication of investment in being better than others in the industry, value for money (I don’t mean cheap here), cleanliness and a warm welcome is what we look for before we award FOXY Lady Approved status. Then minimum supplies of female feedback to make sure they’re keeping their side of the bargain.

PROVISO – Not all FOXY Lady Approved garages tick all these boxes because this has to include a FOXY (as in female) Choice and clearly the more you expect (vehicle collection/courtesy car/italian coffee, WiFi etc) the more the business overheads are but at least you’ll know the garages are doing a good job for women. And that if they get this wrong, they have us to answer to, as per our Terms and Conditions.

My final advice is, don’t buy garage services on price alone. Make sure you know if they are good enough to do the job. Just like a cheap used car, there’ll be a reason for this and it won’t be because the business wants to do you a personal favour.

Trust me – this is the motor industry and it just isn’t good enough yet.

Here’s where to find our FOXY Lady Approved female friendly garages and dealers

Please tell us about your latest garage experiences here

Finally for just £24 you can join FOXY Lady Drivers Club and get a lifetime subscription in 2016 opening the door to cheap car insurance, car deals and VIP garage services we’ve vetted so women (and men in many cases) can trust too.

If you’re a member please tell your friends and help spread the word that women drivers have a female choice.


Car Buying Advice from FOXY Lady Drivers’ Club

Does this sound like you?

Sophie Mum-200You fancy a ‘new’ car and you’ve decided that 2016 is the year to do the deal. But it’s complicated. You have a sad-looking car to either sell yourself or trade in, your finances are stretched and you can’t afford to end up with a used car disaster like some people you know did…

You want to look good in it of course so a brand new car would be most impressive but what about the depreciation? What makes are best and how far should you haggle? Maybe you’d be best taking a man with you to sort this out for you?

Clearly you are in need of some down to earth car buying advice before you embark on one of your most expensive shopping sprees for years… so here are a few FOXY DO’S and DON’TS to help you enjoy the experience without needing a man to tell you what to do or pay of course.


Let’s start with the good news… women are just as good at buying cars as we are holidays and kitchens. It’s just that many of us lack the same insight or confidence so here are a few insider tips to add to your natural shopping ability.

DO plan ahead – if you buy a brand new car in a franchised dealership at the end of a sales quarter (ie March, June, September & December) you’ll likely do better than at other times because of sales and commission targets.

DO stick to ‘must have’ features before you go car shopping like size of car, number of doors, running costs (mpg, insurance, VED), gearbox preference, fuel and any essential features such as satnav and reverse parking sensors…

DO find out about ‘leasing’ a car (often called Personal Car Purchase PCP plans) for a ridiculously low monthly rate compared to using cash or HP. A growing number of motorists do this, it is the modern way, so why not you?

DO know how much your ‘old’ car is worth by using an online valuation service before discussing a trade in value with the dealer (which will be easier to organise/coordinate with a new car arrival).

DO compare car warranties – the longer the better of course. Check if the policy is part of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Approved Vehicle Warranty Products Code for advice and conciliation in future, should things go wrong.

DO insist on an HPI check or equivalent, before buying any used car (in case of insurance write off/remaining financial debts) and study any previous MOT and servicing history for imminent problems.

DO take a friend with you on a test drive and ask her to fill in a back seat checklist for you whilst you concentrate on driving…

Finally, be sure to check EVERYTHING works (including onboard gizmos) when taking delivery of your new car. If you can’t do this on D (delivery) Day, write this on the handover sheet and be sure to check your car asap.


We’ve all heard about things going seriously wrong with used cars, usually just outside their warranty. So, no matter how shiny the car is, remember that the dealer probably knows more about the credentials of the car you are looking at than you do. So if he’s willing to give you a dramatic discount at whim, it mightn’t be to do with your personal charm or negotiating power…

Even so, women CAN negotiate as good a deal as most men providing they are pre-armed with inside knowledge, a lot of homework and the time to plan this properly. So here are some wise words, based on experience, to hopefully help you buy a great value for money car that’s safe, reliable and economic to run.

DON’T think you can buy a new car in a week. Yes you probably can, but if you cut corners in your selection you’ll likely end up living with a second-rate car for a long time before you can afford to go car shopping again.

DON’T assume that cash will always get you the best brand new car deal. Dealer finance can be VERY attractive – always check this option before rejecting it and see what the finance cancellation clauses are in case you change your mind early on.

DON’T assume you can’t get car finance simply because a manufacturer bank says no. Oh yes you can, when you know where to go.

DON’T admit you’ve fallen in love with a particular car – this weakens your negotiating hand in a showroom.

DON’T buy any car that performs badly in a Top 100 car survey – unless you want to find out why of course.

DON’T delegate the test drive to a partner – if it’s to be YOUR car it must be right for YOU! Check for your visibility and seat comfort above all. Many cars just seem to be designed for taller people – which is fine if you are one, of course…

NB: It’s totally understandable to be nervous about test-driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar area with an unfamiliar man!! Why not ask for the car to be delivered to your home instead for 24 hours? Or for a cheerful female member of staff to go with you if preferred?

Finally DON’T put up with second rate customer service at any shopping stage. If the car sales person can’t give you what you want or seems disinterested, ask to talk to the Dealer Principal (that’s the title of the equivalent of a Managing Director in auto speak) and if that fails – walk out and shop elsewhere. Your time is too precious…


There are personal car shopper services to do all this for you for a fee, if you prefer.

But if you decide to DIY and want your hand holding through the car buying process, you’d do well to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club and benefit from our shared experiences, support services and this sort of independent advice about all motoring-related matters.

And you can always search through our FOXY Lady Approved dealer network for a personal service that won’t dare overcharge, patronise or sell you something you don’t need.’

Or choose one of our new car discount schemes


Welcome to our female friendly motoring world

Screenshot-19Here are the latest UK car dealers, garages and repairers to sign the FOXY Lady Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need’. They also meet our FOXY Lady Approved standards re quality, value for money, cleanliness and customer service.

All we now ask of Club members and women drivers reading this is that you provide recent female feedback to prove these businesses are genuinely getting service levels right, on the spot.

After checking you are a bona fide customer, you will then receive a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club (from current subscribers listed) to thank you for providing this vital feedback.

Here’s where to check the full details of all FOXY Lady Approved local car dealers and garages not just the ones below.

We welcome female feedback re these subscribers as well as other local car dealers and garages.

FOXY Lady Female Friendly Approved NEW CAR DEALERSHIPS

ALDERSHOT Charters Citroen
EPSOM Shelly Motors (Kia, Subaru, Isuzu)
LEICESTER Anstey Sturgess Motor Group (Fiat, Hyundai)
LEICESTER Narborough Road Sturgess Motor Group (LandRover, Jaguar)
LEICESTER Almond Road Sturgess Motor Group (Volvo, Alfa Romeo)
LEICESTER Aylestone Road Sturgess Motor Group (Fiat, Hyundai, Suzuki)
LONDON City Alan Day Volkswagen
LONDON Hampstead Alan Day Volkswagen
LONDON Kensington London Morgan
LONDON New Southgate Alan Day Volkswagen
LONDON Bellamys Ltd (Citroen)
PEEBLES David Harrison Ltd (Ford)
REDHILL Vines of Redhill (BMW & MINI)

FOXY Lady Female Friendly Approved USED CAR DEALERS

AYLESBURY Gatehouse Car Sales (as in the Channel 4 Mary Portas Secret Shopper March 2015 episode)
BOLNEY A1 Car Search Ltd
EPSOM Shelly Motors
FLEET Imperial Car Supermarkets Fleet
HASSOCKS Silverbrookes
IPSWICH Simon Shield Cars Ltd
LEICESTER Anstey Sturgess Motor Group, Anstey
LEICESTER Narborough Road Sturgess Motor Group
LEICESTER Almond Road Sturgess Motor Group
LEICESTER Aylestone Road Sturgess Motor Group
LONDON Kensington Monaco VW
PEEBLES David Harrison Ltd
POOLE Norman Motors
PORTSMOUTH Imperial Car Supermarkets
REDHILL Vines of Redhill BMW & MINI
REDRUTH Powells Garage
SALE Freedom Cars Ltd
SOUTHAMPTON We Sell Small Cars
SOUTHAMPTON Imperial Car Supermarkets
YEOVIL West Country Cars

The Latest FOXY Lady Female Friendly Approved GARAGES

EPSOM Shelly Motors
GRANTHAM Gainsborough Corner Garage
PETERBOROUGH Woodston Motorist Centre
SOUTHPORT Karwowski Motors

The Latest FOXY Lady Female Friendly Approved Accident (and cosmetic) REPAIRERS

ISLE OF WIGHT Smart Technique
LONDON N18 Supreme Motors

NB: Some subscribers demonstrate excellent quality standards but can still fail FOXY’s compliance process, usually as a result of insufficient female feedback. We recommend that all women drivers check in advance to see which businesses are current subscribers of FOXY Choice AND always supply feedback about them afterwards to prove their female friendly credentials.

As at 3 March 2015.