Women’s Web Site Takes Mystery Out of Car Buying
By Andrea Nobile-Westfall
Macomb Daily Staff Writer
Web sites created to empower women on consumer issues have certainly been part of the Internet landscape for years (think ivillage.com or bejane.com), so it’s surprising that possibly one of the first sites solely dedicated to automotive advice for the female crowd just launched last summer. After all, female buyers make up 50 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States each year.
AskPatty.com is an interactive, question-and-answer community all about buying, selling, repairs, maintenance and more, created by a small staff. Its president is Jody DeVere, a mom, wife and grandmother, and current president of the Woman’s Automotive Association International.
The site also is part blog, with regular postings from De-Vere and an advisory panel that includes NASCAR’s Deborah Renshaw. There’s also content on car care, financing and even a section called “girls and their cars,” where staffers and visitors may share stories about their first or favorite cars.
The Web site is the place to find certified “female-friendly” dealerships, those that have gone through the AskPatty.com training and pass regular monthly checkups. The goal is to find a dealership that offers a safe and comfortable car-buying process for women, without worrying about bringing a brother, husband or neighbor with them.
Currently the only certified dealer in Michigan is here in Macomb County — Mike Dorian Ford in Clinton Township.
“I want a gal to come in without their neighbor or friend or brother,” said Carolyn Dorian, operations manager.
(AskPatty.com is a relatively new site, so requests to start the certification program are always being accepted).
“What they’re trying to do is educate the person,” added Steve Rajnert, Dorian’s Internet sales manager who first found AskPatty. com’s certification program.
“It’s totally different than anything I’m used to,” he said of the site. “The women’s market is huge.”
Through training, he and the rest of the staff learned what’s important to female buyers and what makes them different than male buyers.