Tag Archives: garages

Home Secretary Theresa May visits PK Automotive in Lincoln

PK_Theresa May1

When you are one of the best businesses in the motor industry, like PK Automotive Solutions (PK) in Lincoln, doing all the right things and with professional staff and smart premises to be proud of, you can expect the likes of politicians to come knocking at your door.

So it probably wasn’t much of a surprise when PK was chosen as a prime business to visit by Home Secretary Theresa May.

She was visiting Lincoln at the invitation of Conservative MP (March 2015) Karl McCartney who explained how this came about.

“Theresa May and I go back 20 years to my early years in the party and I was really keen to invite her to Lincoln to see a real success story in PK. They also look after a number of Lincolnshire Police vehicles.” Karl McCartney JP (and Lincoln MP in March 2015).

The business case for apprentices

With four apprentices taken on in as many years, PK encourages further vocational development through a combination of on-the-job learning, external education and practical hands-on experience. The business knows from its practical experience that offering training and ongoing support to new technicians and people entering the motor trade is essential to both maintain their interest and loyalty as well as to improve and fine-tune their skills.

Coming from a training background himself, Paul Killingsworth (PK’s owner) puts this experience into practice on a daily basis, often training the apprentices himself.

Ashley Maclaughlin, PK’s latest apprentice, was surprised and then delighted to meet Theresa May on his first day. He discussed his new career path and aspirations with her adding afterwards “She’s very nice and easy for me to talk to.”

Well done PK Automotive!

It’s not every day that the Home Secretary pays a visit to meet and talk to and about apprentices. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that such an influential figure has taken time out to listen to the viewpoint about industry standards on behalf of other quality independent garages.

It’s worth reminding blog readers that PK has recently been awarded the IMI Employer Recognition Award; this is further proof of their professionalism and a guarantee of the highest quality of service, knowledge and skills within the automotive sector.
PK is also the only FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly independent garage in Lincoln recruited on the basis of these standards. As such they maintain an exclusive 5 mile area within our network of garages for local women drivers.

Licensing in the motor industry

This is a subject dear to FOXY’s heart too. Whilst research suggests that over 70% of consumers think it is a legal requirement for technicians and anybody carrying out repairs on your car to hold a licence to practice, this is not the case.

Many technicians, garages and industry leaders including PK Automotive Solutions (and FOXY Lady Drivers Club) are backing the move for licensing so that only The Professionals can work on your car.

This matters because, if you get your car repaired by somebody who is not qualified to do the job and doesn’t have the right skills or know how, this could be VERY expensive AND dangerous.


Cutting the cost of motoring

During the recession we all scrimped where we could which was understandable. But there are some false economies relating to cutting back on car maintenance and other areas where you can probably save more money today, as follows.

1 Tyres


Common-sense tells us that tyre safety is critical.

We know that tyre tread levels should be a minimum of 1.6mm but did you know that at 3mm your tyres are approximately 78% worn?

This is when we recommend you go tyre shopping for as good a tyre deal as you can negotiate for the best tyre you can then afford.

When it comes to your personal safety and that of other motorists and pedestrians there are some economies that simply aren’t worth risking lives for.

To be precise:

+ Cheap tyres are likely to wear out quicker and can therefore be more expensive in the end than premium brands.

+ Never buy part worn tyres – you don’t know where they have been or why they are for sale.

+ Never fit different types or sizes of tyres on the same axle.

+ Use the tyres specified in the handbook for safe road grip, controlled steering, balanced suspension and ride quality.

Please see our new Female Friendly Tyre Services Register for details of businesses that have signed the FOXY Lady Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’

2 Car Servicing

car-repairs-at-rip-off-garagesSome motorists seem able to ignore the depreciation of a new car (c60% of typical costs in 3 years) and not worry too much about car maintenance in those early years.

They prefer to rely on regular dealership servicing to keep their car street legal.

That’s their choice of course but, where you are cost conscious and footing the bill yourself, you can easily end up spending more on car servicing than you need to.

It’s important to relate all this to your annual mileage of course, and to understand why investing in regular car maintenance and car servicing WILL make sound financial sense in the end.

+ Unsurprisingly high mileage cars deserve a full service every year and providing they get this, high motorway mileage is kinder on engines than short local journeys when the engine rarely gets warm.

+ At the opposite end of the scale, assuming an annual mileage of c5000 miles or less, if you can keep a cherished family car running for longer this is definitely going to be your cheapest motoring choice, providing you change the engine oil and filters once a year as a minimum, interspersing an interim and full car service every other year.

3 Why clean oils matter

oilpressuregauge192x177Dirty oil and filters mean that bits of metal swarf/shavings will be circulating around your car engine, doing unforeseen and always expensive damage by wearing parts out so they need replacing sooner than they would do if lubricated by clean oils. Best to get into a habit of changing the oil regularly…

Always use the oil that is recommended in your car’s handbook. When you know what your car needs, shop around to see where it’s cheapest. If you want a local garage to use your oil make sure you specify this ahead of the car service.
The FOXY jury is out when it comes to engine flushing oils. The likes of Forte Oils and garages that are members of the Good Garage Scheme will sell you these as an extra at each oil change. Some garages swear by them, claiming better engine performance, whereas other experts say that this can be particularly risky when it’s an old engine in case the actual ‘flushing’ process dislodges more than it was intended to. Few motorists realise they can say ‘no’ to recommended engine flushing oils here.

4 Choosing a franchised dealer or independent garage

Screenshot-19It used to be said that independent garages were the better servicing choice because they are likely to be cheaper than franchised dealers but that is rarely the full story.

Our experience is that you should still shop around as some franchised dealers are extremely competitive in terms of attracting servicing business for older models and too many independent garages employ unlicensed mechanics to repair cars – you can check this at the IMI’s Professional Register.

To be precise…

+ New cars don’t have to be serviced by a franchised dealer during the manufacturer’s warranty period but it must always be serviced according to their recommended schedule and criteria, using only manufacturer approved parts. NB: Check insurance-backed extended warranties offered by dealers for different conditions.

+ If you get the car serviced by an independent you must make sure it’s done to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule and criteria using approved parts. You must also keep records so you can demonstrate to the manufacturer, if necessary, that servicing WAS undertaken to their requirements.

+ We recommend that manufacturer warranty work is undertaken by the nearest franchised dealer as it will be easier for them to deal directly with the manufacturer on your behalf.

Please see our new Female Friendly FOXY Lady Approved network of independent and franchised garages that have signed the FOXY Lady Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’ We look for measurable signs of quality before they sign up and we then measure their performance through a compliance process including regular feedback from women drivers including Club members.

5 Buying car insurance for women

We are determined to cut the cost of car insurance for women drivers at FOXY Lady Insurance by doing this within FOXY Lady Drivers Club. All you have to do is register for a quote now and we’ll contact you at renewal time to see if we can beat your best quote.

In this way we are reinstating the previous premium advantage most women drivers enjoyed on the basis of statistical evidence of their safer driving prior to the Gender Directive in 2012.

As a result of this ability to ring fence an insurance service for Club members who are also safer drivers we expect to reduce insurance premiums for an estimated 9 out of 10 female members based on the experience of our insurance broker, Cornmarket Insurance Services, gained whilst looking after the IAM scheme.

NB: Women who are not members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club will receive a special one-off gift membership (worth £20) when they buy FOXY Lady Insurance in 2015.

6 Miscellany

It makes sense to go along to a local ladies garage evening to find out what car maintenance you can do for yourself – this should include oil and water top up, tyre checks and lights as a minimum.

As sure as summer follows spring, expensive bills are likely to follow misfuelling (and driving afterwards, regardless), failing to replace a cambelt in time (always check this before buying a used car) and when your catalytic converter packs up. So keep your eyes open in these instances.

If you can get into the habit of checking your tyres regularly and looking out for any signs of punctures, rim/alloy or kerb damage you will be able to get your expensive tyres repaired and keep them going/safer for longer.

And when it comes to your air conditioning system, it’s best to have this serviced/re-gassed every 30,000 miles or so to ensure its efficiency when you need it most.

Sadly changing light bulbs can be expensive costing c£90 (mainly labour charges) on certain models where the individual motorist can’t do this for themselves. Ridiculous but true.

If you’d like help in any of these areas, it makes sense to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club for just £2 per month to have us handy when you need advice and support.


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.

FOXY’s Female Motoring Manifesto for 2015

everyoneshouldtrytodobetterIn today’s society perceptions are what matter, right or wrong.

The motor industry is perceived to be too blokey therefore it is…

Women are perceived to be bad drivers therefore we must be?

Women are perceived to know or care less about motoring safety and car maintenance than men, therefore that’s true too…

Clearly much of this is total nonsense and a large pinch of reasonableness is needed to sweeten the gender pill. Much better surely to say ‘some motoring businesses can be more female friendly’, ‘some men are better drivers than some women’ and ‘some women delegate their motoring safety to men… who may well know as little about this as they do‘.

Undoubtedy there is much work still to be done to identify the genuinely female friendly motoring businesses and to encourage women to visit these garages more often, to do with their personal safety. Or for them to feel confident enough to go forth and buy a new car, without the perceived need to take an honorary male with them for moral support.

So, based on a better knowledge of female (largely unimpressed) motoring perceptions than most, here is FOXY’s Female Motoring Manifesto for 2015 in the hope that we can encourage important changes through some shared resolutions to make a difference in future with women in mind.


There are lots of fast women racers who cannot show off their talents because available sponsorship money goes first to young men. But who might have anticipated that women could play football, cricket and rugby to rival the men’s game or fight on the front line perhaps, as well as men. So why shouldn’t some females be capable of driving as fast as some men in future? And have dedicated races to prove this?

I predict they’d be a PR scoop, whatever.

NB: If any business is thinking of sponsoring a female driver and would like an introduction to an up and coming girl racer, ask us for an introduction.


The motor industry is slow to recognise the business case for more females in UK automotive boardrooms. There is a real need for female executive directors who are tasked to ensure the business is genuinely a female friendly employer and to be role models for the future talent pipeline.

Never mind quotas – just do it! Make sure women are on the candidate selection list then choose the best for the job. Women will rise to the challenge once this discipline is in place. Give women a chance.

NB: The right internal candidate is likely better placed to do this than an external Non Executive Director who has less experience of the business culture.


There are sound business reasons for having more females selling cars. They don’t come with an Arthur Daley reputation, they understand what females want and they may well be more honest/better informed than some male salesmen. Give women a try.

NB: Businesses may need to be more flexible to appeal to the right women, especially those looking for evenings and weekend work.


Many women would like to know more about their car care and by organising regular ladies evenings this is an excellent way for local businesses to demonstrate their community spirit and establish a relationship of trust with local ladies.

NB: Contact us to promote any ladies evenings at the Club website.


There is no excuse for dirty garages today whether these are independently owned or franchised. As a minimum customers should be able to rely on a clean washroom that is regularly inspected/cleaned, not one that is all too evidently shared with mechanics or used as a kitchen facility by staff.


The industry has a poor image. All motorists should be able to rely on their car being repaired by a licensed technician. All customers buying a new or used car should be able to rely on professional advice and ethical behaviour. Whilst there may be more than one accredited route to that licensing goal, the end result should be that all staff are listed on one industry ie the IMI Professional Register.


This is a wake up call for women who either think that a nearly new car doesn’t need maintaining before its first MOT or that the condition of the car they drive is up to their husband, partner or Dad. When the Police stop her because her car has no tax or MOT, she gets the fine, the points and the higher insurance premium. If her car causes an accident and is then proven to be unroadworthy through negligence, she is to blame – nobody else.


It is patently unfair that she/he who knows when to haggle gets a better new car deal than she/he who doesn’t know to haggle. Or that she thinks a man can negotiate a better deal. It’s time for more honesty, ethics and transparency in car showrooms and less ‘smoke and mirror’ sales tactics designed to confuse the vulnerable with part exchange and car finance permutations.


If she wants to be a mechanic give her a chance. Make her welcome… Consider mechanically-minded Mums as future MOT testers. Encourage female apprentices via your local school. Young females are outperforming young males in Science and Maths at GCSE levels, women can use diagnostic tools too, many are more conscientious completing task schedules and are often better organised.


Too many females delegate test drives to men. Too many females buy the same car make again simply because of the familiarity of the drive. Too many solo women lack the confidence to take a test drive with a solo man and too many Mums are distracted by children…

As a result, too many cars are sold that aren’t necessarily the best buy for her. A fun test drive, with children catered for where appropriate and a female member of staff tasked to make sure this is the right car for her, should be a key part of a female friendly car buying experience.

Those businesses that, hand on heart, tick all these boxes deserve recognition for getting this right. But the reality is, very few businesses will be able to tick all the boxes that COULD apply to them.

Nonetheless it’s important to have measurable goals and hopefully FOXY’s Manifesto will encourage more businesses in the motor industry to look at their strategic gender agenda with a view to becoming a more female friendly business and employer in 2015.

Because, with more independent, wealthy and influential women drivers, who are rarely as impressed by local motoring services as they should be, this is a real opportunity for genuinely female friendly garages and dealers to see this as a means of stealing competitive advantage in the female mind.

Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2015.


More Optimism Please David


Dear David (Cameron)

“Please could you keep your maudlin thoughts to yourself about the UK economy? Either we’re affected by a struggling EU or we aren’t. According to George we aren’t, so let’s all sing from the same hymn sheet and be upbeat about things. Regardless of any future non-association with the EU. And all the trading barriers this may then entail…

“I understand that we are being softened up for a tough Election ahead and of course Rochester is listening. After all this is a great opportunity to reassure us all that the UK economy is in safer hands with the Tories than it would be with an alternative UKIP, Labour or SNP ‘perm any combination’ Government next year.

“I’ll go with that logic….

“But optimism matters a lot to me, running a small business, because when we launched our female friendly garage network in 2008 it nearly had a very short business life… I had picked the 8th of August as our ‘opening date’ because this was supposed to be a truly auspicious Chinese date. Apart from in 2008. Within days or a month at the most we were all feeling the chilling effect (yes even in August) of the recession that was to clobber the UK garage industry for some 5 years.

“As ever, those that know about adversity also know that it usually comes with opportunities for the brave. So some garages were the First Movers and have done well out of us since. The Ostriches buried their head in the sand as ever and the Takers took whatever we gave for free… for as long as we were daft enough to offer it.


“Two months ago we launched our new FOXY Lady Approved female friendly car dealer network (for used and new car sales) and this is where we are concentrating our recruitment efforts now.

“So we don’t need or agree with your economic pessimism David because we know that women buy half the new cars sold in the UK and influence as many as 80%. That’s HUGE business for the UK.

“This makes us THE gender spenders, who are to be encouraged surely, not deterred from car shopping to shore up such a vital industry.

“And because many distrust car dealers, we exist to give women the reassurance they need and so they know they have a female choice.

“So no more negativity please David. And be sure to tell Samantha she has a female friendly car shopping choice in future.”

All the very best (although it’s not looking good) for Rochester on Thursday…


To see which garages, accident repairers and car dealers are part of our female friendly network now, just enter your postcode in the relevant SEARCH box at the FOXY Choice website.

To recommend (or not) a genuinely female friendly garage, accident repairer or car dealer please let us have your female feedback here.