Tag Archives: SMMT

We Need More ‘Great British Women in the Car Industry’

The Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry event is set to return this year so we’re inviting your recommendations for the most promising Rising Stars for 2017.

The AutoCar Awards event was held at the SMMT offices in 2016

How To Recommend a Rising Female Automotive Star in 2017

We’re looking for nominations in these categories
+ apprentices
+ design
+ executive
+ manufacturing
+ marketing/communications
+ motorsport
+ purchasing
+ retail
+ vehicle development

There is no limit on the number (or the age for that matter) of females that friends, family or employers can nominate but they must be registered by Monday 3 April 2017 via an email of introduction to Autocar’s editorial director, Jim Holder, via jim.holder@haymarket.com.

Shortlisted winners will be chosen based on their present (and likely future) influence on both the automotive industry and within their company. Needless to say, an evident dedication to a career in the automotive industry is expected by these role models – this event has considerable potential to inspire other women to join our industry.

The Top 100 Female Rising Stars will be announced on June 21 at Twickenham Stadium thanks to this Autocar-instigated initiative in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and backed by Direct Line Group, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.

FOXY is supporting this initiative

This is all music to our ears and we’re especially delighted to see the genuine enthusiasm that Haymarket Media Group’s automotive Brand Director Rachael Prasher has in this area.

It is very pleasing to move the focus towards recognising the rising talent with a view to the many rewarding careers in the automotive industry.” she explained. “We plan to put the spotlight on its brightest female stars working across a wide variety of roles and, through our event at Twickenham Stadium, to offer insight and debate around some of the topics associated with this area of the industry.”

This is yet more welcome evidence that the industry is actively reaching out to, recognising and promoting, talented women of all ages not just young apprentices and graduates.

Please help FOXY put the spotlight on MORE of the hardworking and clever female employees in this industry who deserve further recognition and maybe an encouraging nudge up the promotion ladder. This matters massively because the UK Automotive industry is woefully short of the female talent it needs to benefit from all the advantages of a better gender balance. A happier workforce for starters plus better representation of female customers’ needs, a female insight to complement the male one and demonstrable evidence of a healthier balance sheet.

Thank you for this help.


PS: Can I help any automotive businesses improve their female friendly image or show them how to market to women? For ideas of how to do this ahead of others, please see my specialist automotive consultancy services.

Are women victims in car showrooms?

different_spinMaybe the automotive industry will read and react to the biggest survey so far into women’s perceptions of the car buying experience. But they haven’t got the message yet, hence this blog to help nudge this message further home.

Based on Mumsnet and Reevoo female customer data, this survey (by Good Rebels acting as Different-Spin.com) tells us what previous surveys have told us for ages – that women are critical customers for the automotive industry yet few manufacturers, dealer groups, garages or accident repairers are doing things well enough for us.

According to Good Rebels we are disenfranchised in this area. Yes, perhaps, but it’s an optional state of mind and if we want to do something about this we need to stand up for ourselves and be counted.

Which is what the not for profit FOXY Lady Drivers Club is all about of course, sharing feedback and handing out Red Cards as a last resort. I hate the very thought of women being victims here – or needing men to sort motoring matters out for us (which no woman does of course…).

Good Rebels research findings re women drivers

This research found..

+ 90 per cent of the women questioned would not visit a car dealership without a man in tow.
+ 56 per cent felt patronised by car advertising
+ 34 per cent felt that no car brand understands women

Looking for some good news, it seems that a few brands are deemed more female friendly than others but, in my experience, this doesn’t always carry itself into the dealership experience. Especially used car showrooms.

Hence the Good Rebels’ conclusions.

1/ It is time for the industry to start innovating.

2/ It is time for a consumer experience revolution in automotive.

Bring it on I say.

I’d then add

3/ It’s time to banish unfair haggling re car prices.

4/ It’s time for the industry to come together at the top to heal the bad image PR (like this and the perpetual proliferation of the male supremacy in all motoring and motortrade journalism) that makes women feel totally alienated from this shopping arena.

More women needed in the motor industry

But with an eye-watering statement at the IMI website over the weekend that only 2% of the motor industry workforce is female (even I was taken aback by this – can this possibly be true?) how can the motor industry in general be seen to represent its current and future VIP customers. And does it or the automotive press understand how they are making this worse by actively shoring up this boys car club?

When will the automotive industry start to heal itself here from the masculine Boardroom floors down?

I am writing this blog in my capacity as a consultant in this specialist area.

Steph Savill

PS: I remain, as ever, resolutely enthusiastic about the future of the motor industry from a female perspective (it’s not as hard as it seems to remedy this) because benchmarking the genuinely female friendly businesses will surely lift the complacent laggards off the entry level floor. Or they’ll get left too far behind. And, trust me, there are many truly female friendly businesses out there, it’s just that they are not marketing themselves as the female choice.

PPS: If you’ve got this far, automotive businesses can buy this research. Let’s hope they do. And women can join FOXY Lady Drivers Club and help us get them (and more women) a better motoring deal in future.

Janet awarded MBE for motoring services

Janet-Wilkinson-MBE-SMMTWe are delighted to see that Janet Wilkinson of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has been awarded an MBE for services to the Motor Industry and Charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.

Janet joined the SMMT in 1974 and has spent most of her career in communications and public relations for the sector.

She has been responsible for the media centres at some of the industry’s most high-profile events including the British International Motor Show, the Commercial Vehicle Show and SMMT Test Days. Such events promote the corporate reputation of the UK industry and showcase UK companies’ products and technology to thousands of media and the public at home and abroad.

Janet is also a Trustee of the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Benevolent Fund and Chair of the charity Women on the Move Against Cancer (WOMAC) raising funds and awareness for a variety of cancer charities.

She has also mentored dozens of young people who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the industry.

Speaking on her award, Janet said

“I am thrilled to receive such an award. I never thought the work I did would merit recognition but to have been honoured in this way is a tribute to all the support and encouragement I have received from colleagues in the industry. The automotive sector is a great industry with fantastic, committed people and a hugely professional and passionate automotive media.”

We’d add that Janet is an excellent role model for young women following in her wake and who might wonder how far their marketing talents might take them in the motor industry. If they are good enough, they will be rewarded, appreciated and acknowledged. For sure the automotive industry will be the richer for more Janets in it.


Have you driven without a valid MOT?

guestblogThis is a guest post from Roy Chapman Ltd in Berkhamsted who were involved in a survey suggesting that many motorists are driving without a valid MOT not realising the risks they are running here.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) surveyed 1,000 UK motorists and found that a third of motorists have driven a car knowing it has no MOT.

Of those, 67% admitted driving for up to a week before having it tested, 24% drove without an MOT for up to a month, 7% for up to six months and 2% for more than six months.

What these motorists failed to appreciate is that they run the real risk of invalidating their motor insurance when they need it most. For example, we know of insurers that instantly refuse a motor claim on that basis. And if this isn’t bad enough, this also counts as a serious driving offence carrying between six to eight penalty points.

definitely a female friendly garage...As it seems, men are more likely to offend than women, motorists in London & the South East are more ‘forgetful’ than others and younger motorists are worst at remembering the test date.

The most diligent motorists were 45-54 year-olds we’re told.

To help motorists remember to have their car tested each year; Roy Chapman Ltd is urging motorists to use the free MOT service reminder launched by garage network, Motor Codes. Available at www.passmymot.co.uk, the service sends motorists a reminder before their car’s annual MOT is due.

In addition, some 5,500 main dealerships are committed to carry out a free 10-point pre-MOT visual inspection to help the vehicle avoid failing its test due to simple-to-fix issues. The full ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist includes checks of headlights, tyres, windscreen wipers and fluid levels.

You can find out which of these garages and dealerships are FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly at the FOXY Choice website. We then use the Motor Codes logo and state which ones are dealerships operating the ‘Minute or Two’ MOT checklist scheme.

About Roy Chapman Ltd

Roy Chapman Ltd in Berkhamsted is a manufacturer dealer recommended by Ford and Mazda although they MOT and service all other makes as well. All MOT and service work is carried out by technicians trained by these two manufacturers using high quality diagnostic equipment and fully-approved parts appropriate to each specific vehicle.

Dear Mr Publisher…

Dear Mr/Mrs Publisher.

Why aren’t there any dedicated motoring magazines for women?

See the typical magazine titles if you don’t believe me; look at the colours, the cover cars and the headings… they’re SO obviously for men.

And yes I realise that most female magazines don’t carry much about motoring either which is surely another reason to think about this surely… They don’t include cars or other motoring matters for women, presumably because most of us prefer to read about beauty, health, celebrities, cooking and so on.

I also realise that it’s a gender thing. Traditional men are more likely to be petrolheads than us (with some notable exceptions, no offence intended) and they are more turned on by performance cars, gadgets and mechanical matters.

Whereas traditional women are more likely to look at practicalities like whether the car is fit for purpose, its safety and reliability record as well as how much it costs to buy and run, the onboard space and its environmental credentials. Then there’s the brand, looks, colour and accessories of course. This is a big homework job to do before you can be sure you’ve bought the right car. Remember that you immediately narrow your choices when you step into a new car showroom; good sales staff will do all they can to sell you a car they’ve got, not suggest one they don’t have but which might be better for you.

But the most important fact is that 80% of all consumer goods decisions involve women nowadays and we instigate some 60% of car sales and probably influence other ones our family and friends buy. AND we’re getting wealthier, more independent and definitely more discerning.

So if women want to buy cars AND it’s clearly a tough job to choose the right one let alone negotiate a fair deal AND most magazines are writing about cars from a male perspective AND ordinary women like me can write about cars and motoring matters without having to be racing drivers or Top Gear fashion accessories … what’s the real problem here Mr/Mrs Publisher?

Knowing the business case, wouldn’t a magazine or motoring section for women be supported by the likes of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and likely to attract manufacturer advertising? Many car companies are using Mumsnet and similar hi-density female websites yet Mumsnet readers aren’t there to buy a new car, nor are they daft enough to say ‘A new Ford, what a good idea, I must buy one now.’

Surely females considering their next big item new or used car purchase would buy a Magazine that was dedicated to helping them choose a car that was right for them. A Magazine with down to earth reviews and feedback from females rather than macho technospeak? And couldn’t they be interested in other motoring matters too, such as how to negotiate the best deal, find a female friendly car dealership or measurably good garage and compare the best insurance deals for women. And perhaps this could include content about what to do with your car in terms of days out, leisure and travel activities?

If this exists already Mr/Mrs Publisher, please tell me and I’ll subscribe to it. If it doesn’t, I think you are missing a trick here and women drivers are the worse off for it.