Sarah A. Webster | Saturday, June 2, 2007 at 12:30 am
DETROIT - Women flat-out decide or in some way influence most of the car and truck purchases in the United States - more than 80 percent, according to some estimates.
talk to women candidly about their auto-buying experiences, and you'll
find that many aren't thrilled with the experience in showrooms. Auto
salesmen are still from Mars, and women car buyers are still from
Venus, it seems.
"When are you going to bring your husband in? When are you going to bring your dad in?"
Women still report being asked those types of disrespectful questions, said Fara Warner, author of the 2005 book "Power of the Purse."
So what's a male-dominated industry like the car business to do?
Enter AskPatty.com, started by a couple of entrepreneurs who thought they could make some money straightening out the problem.
Data from J.D. Power and Associates
shows the situation isn't as bad as some anecdotes suggest. Men pay a
little more for their new vehicles than women, and women are a little
less satisfied than men with the maintenance and repair process at
Many dealerships already have installed
child-friendly areas, with toys and child videos, and dealerships
report doing their best to attract female sales people and to treat all
customers with respect.
But AskPatty.com, a New York-based Web site, aims to go a step further and help improve the communication between female customers and auto sellers.
site educates women about all things automotive, with a staff of female
automotive experts who write articles and answer questions on repair,
maintenance and car buying.
The site even featured Stephanie Esterline, a 17-year-old from Grosse Ile, Mich., for her book, "This Girl's First Car," on how teen girls should care for their vehicles.
also provides a unique service: certifying dealerships as
female-friendly after they've passed a course on how to communicate
with women, which continues to pose a challenge to many salesmen.
Forty-nine percent of the nation's dealerships don't have even one female salesperson, according to a 2006 survey by the National Auto Dealers Association.
The number of women selling cars and trucks in showrooms declined this
year to about 8 percent of the 231,400 auto salespeople nationwide.
"I'm not a screaming feminist waving my finger at auto dealers," said Jody DeVere, president of AskPatty.com. "I'm a businessperson, and I saw an opportunity."
be certified, members of a dealership's sales team must read a book on
how to communicate with women, titled "How to Get Rich Selling Cars and
Trucks to Women," and take a training course. Then they must pass a
134-question test, which takes about an hour to complete.
"We're teaching them how to attract, sell and increase loyalty with women," said DeVere, who also has two male partners in the AskPatty.com enterprise.
AskPatty.com gets about 20,000 visitors each month. About 50 dealerships have signed on for certification services.
Dealerships pay $225 per person for 12 months of training and $795 a month for the dealership certification.
dealerships get a link on the AskPatty.com site that will direct
visitors to a female-friendly dealership in their area. The Web site
also provides the dealerships with a complete marketing and advertising
program where the name of the dealership is co-branded with
What's more, AskPatty.com visitors can dial a phone
number that directs them to dealerships. Each phone conversation is
recorded for training and quality control.
AskPatty.com is partnered with Maddox Smye, a Naples, Fla.-based company that specializes in training salespeople about dealing with women.
Have you ever felt any problems with your car?
Want to know the best resale value of your car? Need to know when is
the best time to service your car? Looking for a dream car? Looking for
fellow women drivers? Want to know the latest in the automotive world?
Look no further. Go straight on the AskPatty.com for loads of
automotive advice. You can read about the latest automotive news, or
compare cars to find out which car is suitable for you. No matter you
are a soccer mom or a housewife, if you need to buy a car or learn how
to maintain a car, AskPatty.com provides everything you need.
Reprinted from CarCare.org
at the pump are becoming more and more of a problem these days for gas
stations everywhere. High gas prices will do that to a person; surely
you can sympathize.
Perhaps Sunoco could hook up a discount for
avid NASCAR fans? Until then, and before you go breaking any laws, stop
and do your research on how to be more fuel efficient and get better
CarCare.org called on Mike Metcalf, the catch can man for the No. 83
Team Red Bull Toyota Camry driven by Brian Vickers for help. Of
course, during a race, Metcalf flies through an abundance of fuel
because his teams car is averaging 190 mph. But when driving his
personal vehicle, Metcalf always observes the speed limit.
may go 200 mph on the track, but I always keep it under 70 mph on the
highway," said Metcalf. As a rule of thumb, Metcalf said you can
assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an
additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.