Web site really clicks with women
Coggin, Frank Griffin dealerships certified as 'female friendly'
to the Internet, savvy automotive shoppers never set foot in a showroom
without doing their homework on new-vehicle pricing, trade-in values
By CLARK PIERCE, Special to the Times-Union
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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
"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.
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.