When buying cars, women get the deals, data says - East Valley Tribune: Business

When buying cars, women get the deals, data says

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Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 9:14 am | Updated: 9:53 am, Wed Feb 29, 2012.

Do women get better deals on cars? In what seems contrary to popular belief and stereotypes, women ask more questions, more thorough questions and more frequently ask for an independent inspection, according to data collected about customer transactions by LeaseTrader.

According to the data collected, women were 13 percent more likely to ask for a third party inspection.

“We found that with internet availability, more information and research were available about cars and women tend to do more research than men,” said John Sternal, vice president of communications at LeaseTrader.

“Car dealers, as a profession, aren’t trusted and women want to do their own research, especially pre-owned vehicles,” said Laurie McClellan, who works at Earnhardt Ford in Chandler.

McClellan became the first Earnhardt Ford salesperson to sell the most vehicles in 2010 in what is considered the Greater Phoenix area – a region that, in terms of this particular honor, encompasses parts of five states.

“In the last month, the only people that I sold vehicles to who had outside inspections of pre-owned vehicles were women,” McClellan said.

Women generally do research and ask questions in areas that are most important to them, usually about warrantee, car history and safety features and ratings.

“Women are more research-oriented, and they do the background before going in to buy a car,” said Sue Beyer, an American Family Insurance agent who often goes to the dealership with female clients to buy cars.

Women tend to factor in resale value and car insurance price, Beyer said.

With the advent of the internet, women have found a great source of information and empowerment.

Traditionally, women had a hard time buying cars if they came to the lot by themselves, Beyer said.

“I remember 20 years ago, when I first moved to Phoenix, I was looking to replace our two cars,” she said. “One salesman even said, ‘Come back and talk to me when your husband is available.’ Men put me off as not the decision maker in the family and that’s just not the case anymore.”

If that’s the case now, women tend to leave without buying, she said.

“If you don’t respect them, they’ll leave,” McClellan said.

Women also communicate differently than men, she said. They not only ask better questions, but she finds they actively listen to the answers.

“One of the downfalls of sales, is the sales person doesn’t pay attention to the women, they talk to the man,” McClellan said. “It really does alienate the women, since they’re one who makes the decision about their own car.”

Or in other cases, they answer a question with a question instead of directly answering, she said.

“Are safety features important to you?” she imitated.

Most sales start on the internet and customers usually have a model picked out before even moving to the lot, McClellan said.

“80 percent of the cars I sell are negotiated (online) before they even come to the lot,” said McClellan, who works online sales, as well as traditional sales.

Men have a presumed knowledge of cars and, often times, that puts them in a less advantageous negotiation position, Sternal said. They feel they need to keep that presumption with the salesperson to keep their negotiation position.

Women generally know what kind of car they want, the safety features they are looking for and often times even have a maximum price or payment they know they won’t go over, Beyer said.

According to the data collected, women between the ages of 21 and 30 asked for an independent inspection from a third party over 78 percent of the time, while their male counter parts only asked for an inspection about 43 percent of the time.

“Men in that age group – and they’re going to hate me for saying this – tend to be more lazy then women are,” Sternal said. “Women in that age group tend to make informed decisions.”

The toys, additional features and upgrades are usually bought by men, Sternal said.

Men also tend to pick status symbols and be more emotional buyers, McClellan said.

Those things can translate to higher payments, higher rates of insurance and purchases made on more of a whim than a sound purchase, Beyer said.

Buying a similar car, but less of a status symbol could mean a difference of $15 each month, or $180 each year more in car insurance, Beyer said.

“They call me to get a quote and say, ‘It’s going to cost me how much to insure?’” she joked.

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