Women, cars, dealerships, stigma.

I’m officially car shopping. My mom-van finally died. I’ve been driving it for just about 10 years and it’s served me and the family well, it’s provided us with many dramatic drives. So…..it finally kicked the bucket. Our second car, also needed servicing at the same time- of course. Because when it rains, it pours. So I’ve got this sweet ride for about a week, but sadly have to give it back…..I don’t wanna.

I’ve been in and out of dealerships this week, trying to navigate the car buying process for myself. I have some experience in the automotive industry, I was selling automotive marketing for a while and running private sales- so I have seen the inner workings of the dealerships. I know the “trade secrets” and what discussions happen at management level. I know the stigma of women in dealerships- I almost took up car sales because I was so disgusted by the lack of females in a powerful role in automotive. I was going to push and become GM….then reality hit and I realized how inflexible the schedule is for car sales- and seeing as I am the parent who does the sick days and the p.a days. The school holidays, and I’m the one who gets the phone calls for suspected lice or pink eye or forgotten mittens or homework- and I knew that wasn’t going to change.

Oops , I did it again- totally distracted. Ok so: I’ve been in and out of dealerships this week, and I still cannot believe how little respect I get as a female going into a dealership and looking at cars, on her own. Guys….I’m not even kidding. ZERO respect. They don’t think I’m a serious buyer, they give me the runaround about my questions, not giving me the full info of what I’m looking for, not wanting to give me a test drive (oh but he was going to let me LOOK INSIDE the vehicle guys….). I pulled out my knowledge. My jargon. Looked him dead in the eye and told him not to give me any bullshit……”oh, you….you know car sales?” – I know more than car sales, buddy. Yes I know the industry, and I’m not going to be pushed around because I’m not in here with a man. I’ve given up with sales people- I’m just going directly to the dealer principles and general managers now, and the ones I’m reaching out to- know me personally so it helps, a little ;).

My advice to women shopping for cars- go in on your own. Check out the vehicles, get test drives, and experience the car for yourself before you add in the spouse piece. Get acquainted with the car before you work out financials- because in the end you need to love the car you buy. Not just the price.

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