WHAT BeJane.com is to home improvement, AskPatty.com
hopes to be for women and cars. While there are just two Janes, a whole
panel of expert automotive women are behind AskPatty, which gives women
a blog and a Web site to post questions about all aspects of automobile
transactions and maintenance.
The site, which has no advertising,
is rolling out an AskPatty Certified Dealership Program. Dealers that
complete it are deemed to be female friendly and are searchable by ZIP
code. The company has given its seal of approval to 25 dealerships and
says that hundreds more have inquired about joining the list.
Just who is Patty?
is a mom, daughter, wife, niece, grandmother and auntie,” the site
explains in part. “Patty is young, old, married, single, an experienced
driver, a new driver, a racecar driver, a hot rod driver, a classic car
driver, a minivan driver, a truck driver, a luxury car driver, an
S.U.V. driver, a disabled driver, a carpool driver.”
president of AskPatty, which was formed last summer, notes that women
buy more than 50 percent of the new cars and trucks sold in the United
States. In 2005, based on data from National Automobile Dealers
Association, that amounted to about $200 billion spent on about eight
million new vehicles. Although women also bought about half of new cars
and trucks a decade ago, Ms. DeVere said, their approach to those
decisions has changed.
“The main difference is that women are
beginning to understand their purchasing power,” she said. “They are
now beginning to demand better treatment and have gotten their voice.”
While there are some other valuable auto-buying sites for women, like Edmunds.com/women,
Ms. DeVere said, AskPatty is different in that “it is from women by
women, but more than that, AskPatty is heartfelt. It’s not just words
After spending hours on the Internet
researching a new car over several months, Beverly McMullen of Upland,
Calif., hit upon the AskPatty site. She has a physical disability and
needed specific auto modifications.
She visited the site before
and after her family bought a 2006 Saturn Vue. Ms. DeVere responded
personally to her questions, passing along useful information. Ms.
McMullen said she was hesitant about asking for help, but was glad that
“It seemed like I had a task force supporting me,” she
said in an e-mail exchange. “AskPatty really jump-started what had
seemed like a dead end for me.”