AskPatty Certified Female Friendly Logo

Coggin and Frank Griffin Dealerships Featured in Jacksonville Times Union

Published May 31st 2007, 12:54am by

Web site really clicks with women

Coggin, Frank Griffin dealerships certified as 'female friendly'
By CLARK PIERCE, Special to the Times-Union

Thanks to the Internet, savvy automotive shoppers never set foot in a showroom without doing their homework on new-vehicle pricing, trade-in values and financing.

Knowledge builds confidence, but research shows that a large percentage of women continue to feel disadvantaged in the process of buying or servicing a vehicle. The 2006 national survey by Capital One Auto Finance found that 77 percent of women likely will bring a man along for their next vehicle purchase to manage the financial aspects of the transaction.

That mindset could be changing, however, at several dealerships in Northeast Florida with the help of an upstart Web site.

AskPatty.com is designed to improve the female perspective on automotive issues by providing online expert automotive advice for women, by women. Ask Patty also trains dealership sales and service staff to provide female customers with a "safe and comfortable buying experience."

Coggin Automotive Group is Florida's largest dealer organization to embrace the new female-friendly program. Sales and service staff at 10 Coggin car stores on the First Coast are certified to create the most pleasurable buying experience for all customers, particularly women.

"We take great pride in our reputation for customer satisfaction," said Sharon Ellis, business development manager at Coggin Pontiac GMC Buick of Orange Park. "Now, with the Ask Patty program, we're taking our customer relationships to the next level."

Along with Ellis, John Boudreau is one of the dealership's first sales executives to be certified by Ask Patty.

"It's a convenient online resource for sales and service advice before you go shopping,'' Boudreau said. "You can check out vehicle features and options that matter most to you ... or create a side-by-side comparison of, say, a GMC Yukon Denali and a Toyota Land Cruiser."

"AskPatty.com is not only changing how women shop for new and used cars, it also gives them more confidence when they bring a vehicle to the service department," Ellis said.

Ask Patty is a free Web site. Click on the extensive FAQ section for automotive topics that include understanding the purchase process, the advantages of scheduled maintenance, increasing fuel mileage, evaluating child seats and promoting safe teen driving.

Do you have a specific question or area of interest? Click on "Get Advice" to submit your question via e-mail to "Ask an Expert," the Web site's advisory panel of female automotive professionals. You'll typically receive an expert's answer in 24 hours or less.

At the Ask Patty "Blog," you can be part of more than 24 interactive discussion groups, as well as review posts of the latest automotive news, views and trends.

For even more expert advice, click on "Womanars" (a seminar on estrogen?) for a helpful lineup of monthly podcasts on topics such as:

- How to buy a great used car

- Make sure to get a pre-purchase inspection

- Financing, insurance and warranties

- Taking charge of the car-buying experience

At the "My Car Page," you can register your vehicle (make, model and year) to maintain your car's service history, receive automatic e-mail service reminders, view any recall notices, and access special offers or discount coupons.

"The Coggin Automotive Group has already received good reviews from husbands and boyfriends for how well Ask Patty explains technical issues in laywomen's terms," Ellis said. "Ask Patty cuts through all the automotive jargon. It's an excellent place to go for an expert second opinion."

Frank Griffin Chrysler Jeep in Orange Park also is an Ask Patty certified dealer.

"Helping ladies feel secure in choosing our dealership for sales and service has always been part of our marketing," said Parts and Service Director Debbie DuBosar. "Achieving certification by Ask Patty makes a positive difference because it educates buyers about automotive issues through a woman's perspective.

"One of our customers recently queried Ask Patty about a recommendation by one of our service advisors. When Ask Patty confirmed our recommendation, it was an important trust-building moment in our relationship with her. Ask Patty is a tool for our customers to confirm that our business is consistent with fair practices."

DuBosar accepted an invitation to join Ask Patty's "Ask the Experts" panel.

"I'm honored to be involved with Ask Patty," she said. "I plan to increase awareness of the program by taking the Ask Patty message into our community through speaking engagements at women's organizations."

Ellis confirmed that the Coggin Automotive Group is also in the process selecting knowledgeable staffers to join the Ask the Experts panel.

"Since women purchase more than half of the vehicles sold in America each year, our sales and service people are enthusiastic about sharpening their interpersonal skills through training and certification by Ask Patty," Ellis said.

AskPatty.com, Inc. is a privately held company with offices in Sarasota and Southern California. The company, a division of CarsMagazine.com, was created by CEO Peter Martin in May of 2006.


CLARK PIERCE/SpecialCoggin Automotive Group is Florida's largest dealer organization to embrace Ask Patty's female-friendly program. Sales and service staff at 10 Coggin stores on the First Coast are certified to create the most pleasurable buying experience for all customers, particularly women. Proud of this relationship with Ask Patty are Sharon Ellis, business development manager at Coggin Pontiac GMC Buick of Orange Park, and John Boudreau, one of the dealership's first sales executives to be certified.

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