Do we need an Honest Joanna motoring website?

Do we need an Honest Joanna motoring website?

Don’t car manufacturers know that 12 million UK women own their own car and influence the majority of new family car sales?

So why do so many automotive marketing campaigns seem to ignore them? Synchronised Audi’s in swimming pools? ‘Lucky, lucky men’ with attractive wives/families? Cars giving in to aggressive animals on country roads? Where is their female appeal?

Are Men Happy With Motoring Services?

And therein lies a bigger question. Do automotive adverts have male appeal or might some men feel the same as so many women do? In some recent research, Auto Trader found that 87 per cent of Brits feel increasingly disconnected from car marketing.

I can identify with this because when I explain to men why a FOXY Lady Approved garage matters to women (so we’re not patronised or overcharged) it’s clear that many feel this happens to them too. It’s just they have become so used to the blokey motoring treatment that they aren’t prepared to challenge this after decades of macho role playing in garages and car dealers.

Man Up Motoring Advice

This weekend Honest John (Saturday Telegraph) told a Dad whose daughter had been ignored when she went to buy a new car in a manufacturer’s dealership that she should ‘assert herself’. This made me angry. Why should she have to ‘man up’ to get the female friendly customer service she wants when she has some £15,000 to spend? And why was her Dad asking another man for alternative advice for his daughter after she’d bought elsewhere? Which is what I’d have done too – end of.

Yes I’d have hoped HJ would be more sympathetic or give the industry some criticism here. But I was unsurprised by his ‘we treat everyone the same’ follow up comment to me. As if women want to be treated like men in garages and car showrooms! If we did we wouldn’t keep on complaining about being overcharged, patronised and sold services we don’t need. But of course you wouldn’t have a woman writing as Honest John so HJ is clearly entitled to his male and status quo opinions.

The Need For Female Motoring Correspondents

Maybe we need an Honest Joanna motoring column – especially now that the number of female car owners is rising faster than male ones?

When I ask female Editors in leading women’s magazines why they don’t have a female motoring correspondent, they usually refer me to an occasional car review but little more. I’m told this is because women prefer to read about health, fashion, family and travel topics ahead of motoring.

That’s true for me too if I’m honest but I still need to know what I don’t know about keeping me, my family and my car safe – and about my best motoring choices.

Poor Automotive Communications

All this may explain why many women

  • put up with bad (but conveniently located) garages because they don’t know they aren’t regulated or how to check that the work done in a car service was a) necessary and b) done properly.
  • pay inflated insurance premiums that contribute to the expense of too many accidents caused by boy racers. When they don’t have to.
  • walk out of dealer A to go to dealer B having been ignored or patronised.
  • take a man with them in the first place to negotiate a price for their next car.

All this is simply wrong. The industry is at fault in all these instances, not the customer.

In my experience, women aren’t getting the independent information they should through the normal communications channels so they can make an informed car or garage services buying decision. They’re being served the same old ‘male’ detail in car manuals and motoring papers/magazines/websites despite publishers knowing that women aren’t reading or understanding them.

In a nutshell, we need better motoring communications and car reviews for all – including new style ones written by and for women. Let’s cut out the formulaic stuff that men (and women in their likeness) write and let’s write our own, to suit our lifestyle.

If women have anything good or bad to say about their local garages, or car dealers, or family car please write to me here – in confidence if need be. Where appropriate, I’ll happily use FOXY’s many motoring channels to get the female friendly motoring message out to more women drivers. And to make sure that more of them know the safety risks they run by being poorly informed about motoring matters.

However I see this, it is not women’s fault, but female motorists run more of a risk of being ripped off and misled than their male counterparts. We know this and it stops us from visiting garages as often as we should with obvious safety and mediou term cost implications.

FOXY Steph (in the photo – looking serious)

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