Anki Kervinen (left) and Louise Long (right) check out the new Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Anki Kervinen (left) and Louise Long (right) check out the new Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Maureen McCall looks up the specs on various vehicles at the Vancouver International Auto Show (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Maureen McCall looks up the specs on various vehicles at the Vancouver International Auto Show (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Tracy Graham looks at a VW as a potential candidate for a spot on her driveway (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Tracy Graham looks at a VW as a potential candidate for a spot on her driveway (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Anki Kervinen chats with Auto Show representatives about purchasing a new vehicle (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Anki Kervinen chats with Auto Show representatives about purchasing a new vehicle (Photo: Alexandra Straub)

Women are a huge driving force (pardon the pun) in the car-buying world.

Studies show that around 60 per cent of new vehicles purchases are made by women. Further to that, matriarchs heavily influence decisions on car buying within the family, too – perhaps as much as 85 per cent of all purchases.

While many hubbies would love a hot, little sports car, perhaps it’s not always ideal for, you know, life.

Buying a vehicle is considered to be the second biggest purchase someone can make. The first is your home. So when someone says it’s not that big of a deal, it kind of is.

Not only is it a long-term decision, but a financially significant one as well. It can also bring up many emotions: excitement, stress, anxiety and more.

Leading up to the 2013 Vancouver International Auto Show, I had the privilege of assisting six women with their new car purchases. They gave me a budget and a list of “needs and wants” and then we went to the drawing board.

The experience opened my eyes to a few things. Though each of the women were looking for something different from each other, there were common threads that presented themselves. Here are a few of the top things I observed.

Price

Budgets are very important to everyone. And sticking to it was even more important for the women I worked with. Yes, there are always temptations to get a few extra bells and whistles, and if you can work it into your bottom line, that’s ideal. But the navigation package or premium sound system wasn’t a must-have.

Warranties

Additional warranties were paramount. For those not leasing and swapping vehicles every four years, having the extra bit of protection from wear and tear was something they wanted to accommodate in their budgets, especially those who drive frequently.

Safety

Looks are great but it is the safety features women are after. There’s a lot of technology out there. Sometimes it is even overwhelming. But things like airbags, ABS, traction control and even backup cameras (for the larger vehicles) were high on the priority list.

Interior capacity/hatch

Cargo volume is subjective in the sense where not everyone needs as much as the other. But when it was in the top three of “needs” sometimes thinking outside of the box was necessary. Sacrificing looks for functionality, again, is something that often happens. That said, it is not always the case, and with designs of vehicles these days, it is getting easier to have your cake and eat it too.

Comfort in the car buying process

The dealership experience plays a huge role in having that brand new vehicle sparkling on your driveway. In fact, you can’t really avoid it unless you’re buying through a private sale.

There’s still a stigma associated with car salespeople. Some say that as a woman, walking into a dealership has an automatic disadvantage. That’s changing. Most dealerships have female sales staff on the floor in case you’re more comfortable in that environment.

No matter how good the product, if there’s discomfort or pressure in the buying process, can sour the sale.

If that’s the case, there are always other options.

The product is the same regardless of where you buy it from, it’s really the human element that can make or break the deal. Though, the women I worked with all had wonderful experiences.

The Verdict

Ladies, if you’re looking at buying a new vehicle and would like some suggestions/assistance, email me and you could be featured in Driveway.

Include your name, email address where best to be reached, a little bit about yourself, what you’re looking for and  in what price range you need to work.

Contact:

Email: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Twitter: @CarGirlsGarage

One thought on “What Women Want When Car Shopping

    Tanya says:

    Hello Alexandra,

    I myself sell vehicles in Smiths Falls Ontario, about 40 mins outside of Ottawa. I am considering doing something very similar to what you are, hence why I landed on your site.
    If you don’t mind answering a few questions, how has it been working for you? How long have you had this site? Do you get men needing assistance as well?
    I appreciate your time. Happy Holidays!

    Tanya Sweeney

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