A third of women believed garages had overcharged them for servicing and repair work done to their car – purely because they are female writes Geraldine Herbert
A third of women drivers say they have been ‘ripped off’ by a garage because of their gender, a new report by motoreasy.com reveals. Younger women drivers (20-25 year olds) feel most vulnerable, with over a third (33.8%) feeling that a technician has charged them over the odds, but even a quarter of the most experienced drivers (56-70 year olds) have the same fear
Similarly a survey last year of some 48,000 women in the UK suggested that the car industry is still geared towards men and doesn’t get women who feel “disfranchised” by manufacturers; staggering 90% of the women surveyed said they would not visit a car dealership without a man.
The motor industry still falls short by failing to realise just how many of its consumers are women and that these consumers are not just “soccer moms” but are as varied as the cars that they buy.
Women buy nearly half the vehicles sold and may influence up to 80% of the purchasing decisions in the global car market each year, so why are we still treated as passengers, not purchasers?
For years the car industry has only featured women in advertisements as adornments. Even today you would struggle to recall a car advert that features a woman driving, particularly an executive or luxury model.
Current car advertising does not resonate on an emotional level with women. While the cosmetic industry convinces young girls, before they can even read, that their idea of beauty is the only accepted option, the car industry has already alienated these same young girls. The strong female in designer wear and smeared with lip-gloss on billboards, magazines and television seems to exist in a car-free world. When carmakers do appeal directly to women they are preoccupied with minor design details such as colour and cup holders whereas Kia designer Peter Schreyer, who also designed the Audi TT, says that he has never designed a car for women – instead he designs cars that have an emotional appeal. He wants a car that resonates with people. “You want to be in that car – whether you’re a man or a woman.”
A significant outcome of the study is that far from being swayed by frivolous details, women buy first and foremost on price, then reliability followed by fuel economy. And it’s not only women who are disillusioned – millennials are also not buying cars. Maybe its time for a serious rethink in the car industry particularly in the way we showcase and sell cars.
For women who love shopping, why is it that we feel so uncomfortable shopping for cars? The way to endear women to the motor industry is to wake up to the fact that women want advertising, marketing and selling efforts to match the consumer base and not just token gestures.
The corporate landscape of the automotive industry must reflect gender diversity and the current retail model needs to move to one where women don’t equate buying a car with going to the dentist.
The car industry needs to realise that selling cars to women has little, if anything, to do with pastel shades and handbag hooks.
To ensure you can confidently stride into a car showroom, we have 9 tips for women on getting the best car deal.
- Do your Research.
The first step when preparing to buy a car is taking the time to thoroughly research your options and needs. Sales people love to persuade buyers, especially women, that they really need the optional surround sound system for £1,200, the electronic logbook for £600 or the voice control system for a mere £400.
Understand what extras are available and what features are standard on the trim line that suits your budget, work out what you need in advance and you can resist their persuasive offers.
- Leave the Man at Home.
If you need a second opinion bring a female friend. I have lost count of the number of times that women tell me once inside a dealership, if they are with a male they are far more likely to be ignored.
- Focus on Price, not payments.
When it comes to buying always negotiate the total price rather than a monthly repayment. Often monthly or weekly repayments can conceal an expensive deal. Also you’ll need to factor in running costs, insurance cover, warranties and breakdown cover – so don’t overstretch yourself and ask the dealer about any hidden fees or costs.
- Keep your options open.
Always give the impression that you are still undecided. Find a similar car and price to the car you are interested in and tell the dealer you will be checking out the price and extras offered on that one at another dealership nearby.
- Think about colour.
Car colour may be all some salespeople believe that women care about but it is an important consideration. When you come to sell the vehicle on, bright yellow isn’t as easily sold as silver so your choice of colour will have an impact on it’s resale capability.
Don’t be afraid to haggle before making any car purchase and agreeing on a finance deal. Obviously the more money you are spending on the car the greater the scope for manoeuvring. If you can’t secure a discount then don’t under estimate the value of some free optional extras instead.
- Ask the right questions.
You may want to consider a service package when purchasing a new car, but you need to be sure that you will get full value from it and be aware of the miles and age parameters that may apply.
- Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal.
Women regularly recount stories of being ignored in dealerships, from failing to get the information they’ve asked for or simply not feeling comfortable that they are getting a good deal. If this is your experience then walk away.
5th January, 2017