Tag Archives: Japan

Then along come three buses…

three-london-busesYou know the transport analogy about famine and feast in that you can wait for ages for a bus then three trundle into eyesight together…

Such seems to be the case for FOXY this month. After months of typically spasmodic PR, March is to bring us three potentially big events (as in buses…) that all look likely to land at about the same time…

Here’s what I am talking about.

1 ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Industry’ Award

The first of these was my receiving the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Industry’ on 12 March which was presented at the IMI Annual Dinner in London.

This matters because it has been awarded by The (industry) Professionals – the body of individuals who support the case for licensing, invest in training and collect qualifications to demonstrate their commitment for ongoing improvement. Those industry luminaries that perhaps didn’t know of my work in the past are likely to want to know more about me and what I do.

This makes me feel very proud and of course it endorses my work and is likely to get me in through doors that might previously have been closed to me. Which will be good for the industry, says she!

I received this award on account of of my work to raise awareness of measurable quality standards to do with garages, repairers and car dealers among women drivers – this means they can enjoy better services than they might on their own. We do this from within the Club’s membership of 12,000+, by identifying and promoting genuinely female friendly businesses/services and ultimately by encouraging more women to consider a motoring career.

And after years of being a lone campaigning female voice in these areas I feel encouraged, supported and revitalised…

2 The Mary Portas Secret Shopper TV series

Back in October I was invited to appear on the Mary Portas Secret Shopper Channel 4 TV series which will air on 17 March at 8pm. This features a used car dealership in Aylesbury and whilst the episode has yet to appear I understand that this business was a long way short of being female friendly at the outset.

I was then involved in a wacky car park setting at Silverstone where, together with three equally foxy female driving instructors, we told the car dealer team what we all knew women wanted when they went new car shopping. But was the business getting service levels right for us? We weren’t convinced at this stage.

Forward three weeks and we then met at the used car dealer for the big female friendly reveal… Then time to forget all about this afterwards because it has taken nearly six months to reach our TV screens.

You’ll have to see what it looked like on the night and make your own mind up. Did the dealer do enough to get the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly sign of approval – and certificate on the wall? I can’t possibly say.

3 Come In Japan…

The third (bus) came out of the blue when I was invited for an interview by The Yomiuri Shimbun. No I didn’t know it was Japan’s largest and most influential daily broadsheet newspaper either. Or that it had a circulation of more than 10 million making it the biggest newspaper in the world!

Interview mission accomplished in the FOXY Lady Approved London Morgan car showroom in Kensington last month, we now await publication on 24 March of what was a very comprehensive review of the FOXY business, Club, garages and insurance, as well as our ethos and ambition.

Who knows what further opportunities this might bring other than a clear impression to anyone interested that what we are doing is something the paper thinks their female readers will be interested in and might want a similar model made available there perhaps?

So that’s what’s happening behind the scenes for us this month. The opportunity to advance the FOXY cause in the UK for starters then who knows! Bring it on for summer I say…


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/