Joining me and the many bloggers at the Detroit Auto Show this week was Julie March of www.coolmompicks.com.
This was Julie's first experience at an auto show, and I was interested
in her background and just listening to her pure and non-jaded view on
the Detroit Auto Show and the automotive industry as it related to
women car buyers in general.
Julie is a hip young mom living in Colorado who met her husband serving in the armed forces where she served as a communications officer. She is a native of Ohio and moved around the country quite a bit including a stint living in New York City before settling down in Parker, Colorado. Julie is now a full-time Mom with her husband and two kids. Julie blogs for Cool Mom Picks a site that features slightly edgy reviews on mom related products.
Julie loves driving her Chrysler Pacifica and really wouldn't change vehicles based on her review of the vehicles she perused so far during the show. However, in another life some of the sports cars like the Saturn Sky would be fun to drive , as she "reminisced" about a Mazda Miata love affair she once had.
Julie's Detroit Auto Show 2007 top picks in each category, plus a concept vehicle pick:
Mid-size - absolutely the Malibu. As much as I like the Saturn Aura, I have to admit that the uniqueness of the Malibu is really attractive. So much bling, inside and out, without compromising safety or other practical features. And the price for the whole package is amazing.
SUV - the 2008 Saturn VUE. I'm fickle about cars. If the exterior design doesn't attract me, I don't even want to hear about crash tests and low MSRP's. The design of the VUE in previous years simply didn't look good to me, but the new one is right up my alley.
Minivan - the Chrysler Town and Country. I'm still not about to buy a minivan, and I'd love to see the "mommyvan" stereotype vanish, but I have to admit that this vehicle is really cool. The table in the back and the swiveling captain's chairs make me want to be a kid again.
Concept - the Volvo XC60. I dream about getting a Volvo someday, and this concept car is more fodder for my cool mom dreams. The center console and instrument panel are incredibly sleek and modern, but absolutely within reach of the near future.
Be sure to read her recent post on her personal blog Goosie, Mousie, Daddy and Me at http://www.mothergoosemouse.com, as it really sums it all up for her about her experience at the Detroit Auto Show.
"The car industry can be likened to the military in that it’s dominated by men, and that what few women you find may or may not be friendly. You can be seen by men as an impostor, and by women as a unwelcome competitor for attention and respect.
While in many ways it was apparent that men had a primary role in the design and execution of this show - the stark lighting aged me by at least ten years - I was pleased to meet a wide range of women who are passionate about their various roles in the industry and who cater to the long-overlooked female consumer in this market.
I’ll be honest: I like cars, but I hate going to car dealerships. I feel as if I’m prey, no matter how well I’ve educated myself. And I resent the fact that I have to remain on my guard with salespeople, when I should be able to tap into their expertise and trust their guidance.
This morning, GM revealed the new Chevy Malibu. It’s a beautiful car, with details inside and out that will appeal to women, and I’ll write more about it very soon on Cool Mom Picks. But when I spoke to Chevrolet’s Marketing Director, Cheryl Catton, I asked how dealers would be educated to guide women and families to GM’s latest offering.
Many of us make the assumption that once Baby #2 is on the way, we need a minivan or an SUV. We believe that sedans can’t accommodate the car seats, especially the rear-facing ones. And in the spirit of educating ourselves, we walk into a dealership dead-set on buying a minivan or an SUV, steeling ourselves against attempts to re-direct our attention.
Meanwhile, even if we were willing to listen to the salespeople, it’s not in their best interest to steer us away from the bigger, more expensive vehicles. The Malibu has an impressively economical price tag. Why would a salesperson voluntarily surrender hundreds of dollars out of their commission in an effort to do right by us - or at least to be sure that we’re aware of all the options available before making a decision?
Therefore, it seems to me that the marketing has to start well before women get to the dealership, including some means of breaking down the minivan/SUV stereotype to which we subject ourselves.
I hope that GM’s marketing efforts will be geared toward women with families - moms whose practicality is tempered by a desire for style - and show the Malibu with car seats installed, kids climbing in and out, groceries being unloaded, and other aspects of our daily grind. And I hope that women will watch and realize that even if the Malibu isn’t the car for them, they aren’t necessarily bound to minivans and SUVs.
Because, let’s face it ladies - we’re all about the options". Julie Marsh
Be sure to read the comments to her blog post here.
Julie personal blog is blog Goosie, Mousie, Daddy and Me at http://www.mothergoosemouse.com or you can find her writing on www.coolmompicks.com
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