Tag Archives: women drivers

Foxy motorists need more not less choice

I see that the Brighton Argus has picked up on this long standing industry concern – that in 2010  car manufacturers might be able to use EU legislation to actively prevent independent garages from access to the technical information that is readily available to franchised dealerships, under the guise of ‘safety reasons’.

This is important because independent garages would be unable to compete effectively and they charge less than main dealers. Whilst everyone should have the choice to pick which ever garage solution suits them best at MOT, car servicing or repair time, motorists including women drivers (FOXY’s main interest) deserve to save c £30 per hour on labour rates alone, where they can.

I am a great believer in competition as the customer is the winner in the end. But I am unhappy at the thought that one type of garage or dealership might fare better than another in this way, unless that favour is based on quality standards or female friendly credentials.

FOXY supports the Right to Repair campaign and has written about this and similarly bizarre industry discrepancies in a Garage Services Guide.

Some time ago there was a furore about the possibility that our annual MOT regime might become an every other year regime. This didn’t happen, despite the fact that many motorists might have supported this idea for cost reasons – it didn’t happen for safety consequences, of course, as well as the economic multiplier effect concerning the survival of so many motoring businesses.

Interestingly, there is a fairly new Motor Industry Code for garages and dealerships but many more dealerships are subscribers to it than independent garages (because the manufacturers insisted their dealers signed up) so the garage choice for UK motorists is skewed here, to the more expensive solution.  Thankfully this is an OFT supervised scheme whic is yet to be approved so we can be sure that the need for consumer choice will be addressed, particularly when many garage industry complaints are about being ripped off and charged for services that weren’t wanted or needed.

I’ll be interested to see how the Right To Repair campaign proceeds in similar territory and where the strategic might and foresight of the manufacturers is far greater than the voice of the independents.

FOXY will be quick to lobby if we see any signs of this initiative reducing customer choice and the opportunity to choose a good quality value for money garage solution to suit the car or budget in question. If I am very honest I can’t see this happening but I’d hate to do nothing and be proved wrong!

FOXY

“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”  Edmund Burke

Women car buyers get a better deal

I am not surprised that the nice people at  Parker’s are finding that most car buyers know they can negotiate a better deal outside the new car scrappage scheme than from within its confines.  We’ve known for ages that women drivers can get much better new car deals when they know what prices to aim for.

I think this is because the industry has talked up an industry rescue package, imagining that what has worked in Germany will work here, but without doing sufficient elementary customer research to find out who is buying and what they need or want.

Isn’t that a bit patronising, to imagine that they know better than us?

Yes it sounds exciting for showroom staff in new car dealerships with few sales to celebrate for the moment. It’s also human nature for ambitious perpetrators to want to see their names in lights in trade and business news pages but this scheme wasn’t road tested on motorists first and we aren’t daft, whatever they might think!

My anecdotal evidence for this is based on a Homer Simpson-like conclusion of some simplicity –  anyone trading in an old car worth iro £2k in a recession is much more likely to be a used car not a new car or even a nearly new car buyer.

If members of  FOXY Lady Drivers Club can read the Which? car Spring 09 magazine and know to look for the likes of 28% off a new Ford Focus, for example, pre any trade in, why would they be bothered with the scrappage scheme – this promotion isn’t talking to them.

Just imagine the amount of wasted time taken by all the top industry jollies talking this one up, plus trade publication editors and our politicians.

No point sitting on the fence any longer – this hasn’t been looked at from the motorists point of view.

However I fear that some trusting female motorists might settle for a lesser deal in their local car dealerships than they could have negotiated if they had known better.

I can almost hear the salesman telling the woman driver…. ‘I know you aren’t eligible but we will discount the trade-in deal to the tune of £2k and match the scappage deal’ when there is a better discount to be had.

Unless she picks a female friendly new car dealership that has signed the FOXY Promise, chances are she’ll be none the wiser about whether she got a good enough deal or that foxy ladies like her knew how to do better.

FOXY

How car dealers offend women (part 1 of many)

I am often asked how FOXY can tell a female friendly car manufacturer, dealer or main dealership from the way they market to and then treat women.

Clearly that’s a big story but let’s start by looking at the ones that aren’t female friendly because they are easy to spot with Swiss Toni and/or Arthur Daley tendencies to overcharge, patronise and sell us services we don’t need or want.

I usually start by reminding he who asks (it’s usually a he and often a manufacturer/dealership wanting to pick our brains for free, thinking they can then do ‘female friendly’ for themselves)  that the lack of respect for women starts at the very top of the European motor industry as exampled by manufacturers and Motor Show organisers that seem to think that scantily clad girls draped over new (and F1 racing) cars are needed to ingratiate a male audience :-).

Wake up guys – this isn’t where you should be spending your money in future. There’s a huge female business audience to talk to too.

They clearly don’t know who is buying their cars nowadays otherwise they wouldn’t set out to insult and patronise women in this way (and surely bimbos are so very deja vu).

I then add some of the common and usually current stories we collect via the helpdesk at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

A regular, repeated to me last Thursday evening at a Marketing event organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Sussex, is where the new or used car salesman asks the female, doing her car shopping, to bring her husband in to finalise the buying finances.

Red alert guys – wrong approach here. You will know this because hopefully she’ll walk out the door and go elsewhere or buy online.

I can only imagine that he who says this sort of thing doesn’t have a female to organise his life; most men do of course so there’s no excuse for them to imagine we couldn’t get ‘our pretty little heads’ round a series of different payment options.

Perhaps it is for that very reason that he wants to re-assert himself  in ‘his’ often all-male work emporium? Or perhaps that he simply can’t manipulate women who know what we want, as he might a man, talking that ‘mate to mate’ jargon that few females understand?

Please don’t get me wrong – you do not have to be female to be female friendly and many men are extremely female friendly in the right way. You just have to understand how to talk to us and this starts with RESPECT.

Either way – the future requires motor businesses to be female friendly to stay alive in future and those that are will and those that don’t get it will struggle.

If you run a business and are reading this post, click here to see FOXY’s female friendly Promise at the FOXY Choice website and ways to promote your business to women drivers, ahead of those that aren’t up to this challenge.

Rest assured there are those that can’t,however hard they try, sign up to our voluntary code without knowing they’ll get found out and reprimanded by us.  And, of course, there are a few that aren’t welcome to sign up, on the basis of feedback we receive within the Club.

When we have had to tackle an organisation that has got things wrong for a female (and it isn’t always their fault I hasten to add) we’ve either had a quick and apologetic response or an arrogant ‘we know better’ reply.

Whatever, it always speaks volumes about a business culture and the latter businesses then get their card marked by FOXY so that local women are informed about this, where necessary. It’s highly unlikely that they’d then qualify for a FOXY Choice listing as a female friendly business unless they’d undergone a personality transformation or rehabilitation programme in the meantime!!

Get it right for women drivers and we spread the word = more sales, referrals and profit.

Get it wrong for women drivers and we go elsewhere (and chances are we don’t say goodbye) = less sales, ongoing female dissatisfaction, smiling competitors and a lack of understanding why…

The future requires you to be female friendly; get your business strategy, culture, staff training and communications right so you can take advantage of this ahead of others.

FOXY

“If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different and be just.”
Dame Anita Roddick, Body Shop Founder, 1942-2007

BBC Watchdog recommends Mini car checks

I have caught the BBC Watchdog programme a couple of times now and was surprised to see Mini in the docks both times. So many women drivers love this car and have paid a premium price to buy it. There is now a serious safety concern so they need to get their car checked to see if there are problems with the power steering system.

The problem affects petrol-engined Minis produced between 2001-07 although a modification was made in January 2005 which they claim has ‘virtually eradicated the problem’ but not completely I see.

BBC Watchdog showed driving examples of how the power assisted steering (PAS) could fail and how heavy the car steering would be afterwards. Yes I can vouch for that – I once owned a Porsche 924S without PAS and it was heavy to drive but by no means impossible or unsafe for that matter.

But the more worrying incident was if that same PAS system then overheated and caused a fire as several had done. It’ll be interesting to see how widespread this problem is as word spreads and more women drivers contact the Watchdog team.

If you have concerns as a result of reading this OR you have experienced a problem to do with your Mini’s steering OR have paid for a replacement power steering pump, you should contact Mini’s Customer Service line on 0800 777129.

Worryingly many motorists may then be told to pay to have their car checked. If that means main dealers rates that could be quite expensive and probably close to £100. Alternatively, you could join FOXY Lady Drivers Club for £20 per annum and claim free quarterly Car Fitness Checks carried out by some of the best and female friendly UK garages; this will allow you to keep an eye on this instance alongside other safety related items and your car’s CO2 motoring emissions.

No matter – get your car checked if you have a petrol Mini registered between 2001 to 2007 – what price your peace of mind.

FOXY

Cars women drivers like

Why re-invent the wheel so to speak. I came across this article at a website called Auto Parts Online which you can either read here or there!

“I was reading an article today about women drivers and the top ten cars that they drive and was interested to read that women often tend to be much better ‘car buyers’ than men. I was intrigued to find out what this meant and apparently men are said to buy the car that they want whereas a women will buy a car that they need!

On the whole they tend to go for a car that is affordable, practical and economical. It has to be versatile with lots of storage space for family use.  Here is a list of suggestions that they came up with;

Volkswagen Jetta

This compact individual car is ideal for the independent woman. It is roomy enough for a growing family and has the engine capacity of a VW GTI. There is also a diesel Jetta which has great fuel economy. It is also clean and also very quiet. It easily has space for two adults and three children.

Mercedes Benz E class

This is a prestige car. It is big enough for the family to fit comfortably but also compact enough to for easy parking. It has that touch of luxury. The interior has plush dashboards and steering wheel which features soft touch buttons. It has a fantastic engine which runs extremely smoothly and is very powerful. Altogether well worth its price.

Mazda MX 5

This would be a great car for a woman with no family or an excellent second car. It is a really fun car and economical too. The room in the boot is pretty limited but enough for the single woman. The integrated roll bars which are behind each seat add practical safety benefits. The only downside with this car is don’t even think about it if you are over 6ft which I suppose is another reason its more of a ladies car.

Another Mazda but this time a four or five door version. The five door is recommended for its practicality and there is more space for a growing family. The body shell is rigid and the suspension has been adapted for better steering and sharper handling. One important change is the addition of electronic stability control which helps the driver from losing sudden panic manoeuvre or over aggressive driving. This little car is a good reliable all rounder.

Subaru Forester

This is a real family car. For the woman that loves the outdoors and wants that extra little bit of room. Once again safety features are a strong point with antilock brakes and front seat airbags come as standard. One other feature is the all wheel drive system which gives ideal handling conditions in all weather conditions. One other feature is the all wheel drive system which gives great handling conditions in all weather conditions.

One other feature is the all wheel drive system which gives great handling conditions in all weather conditions.”

When I have more time I’ll add some foxy, mostly smaller, economic to run and greener choices,  to include Ford, Citroen, Smart, Honda, Peugeot, Mini, Vauxhall, VW and Toyota models.

FOXY