There’s no doubt just as many women as men will be attending October’s
Why? Because just as many (if not more) women as men buy cars or have a major say in the buying decision. In fact, in America, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from cars to health care. And get this: 91% of all new homes.
The stats might be less impressive in our little old neck of the woods, but one thing’s for sure: sisters the world over are indeed doing it for themselves. In the old days, the “man of the house” would do the selecting and buying of the new family car. Today, with most families having at least two cars, and with the swift leap up the corporate ladder by the fairer gender, women have become as adept at choosing and negotiating their own vehicle deals as men.
They know what they want, and why they want it. After all, they have to drive it. So the chance to get up close and personal with the incredible range of new models at the Johannesburg Motor Show, where they can drool over the new Lexus GS 350, for example, or gape at the huge Hino trucks, or exclaim over the range of cute scooters, or even experience the radical state-of-the-art Ranger simulator at the Ford stand, won’t be missed.
“I want to see every single car there, if it takes me all day to wander around,” said Claire Veitch, a sales rep. She’s never had any hesitation about buying a car she likes, be it for her or the family. She confessed she never takes advice from her husband. “But that’s because I have no interest in Lancias, beach buggies or clapped out old Landys,” she said.
She loves new cars, loves to read about them . . . and when she’s in the market for a new model, enjoys researching the vehicles, reading reports, asking around for friends’ opinions. “My idea of heaven is two days at the show just gawking at all the new machines,” she said frankly.
She’s not the exception, either.
Interestingly, women generally go with gut instinct first, and then worry about price and fuel efficiency, while men are more concerned with size and performance (what else is new!). And while numerous women are happy to negotiate the deals without a man around, it turns out many feel they’re not always afforded the respect they deserve from salesmen.
Donna Kane, PR for Hyundai Motors America, once described a meeting she had with a woman who’d gone into a dealership to buy a car, filled out the paperwork, and when she got home and re-read it; she found she’d actually leased the car.
Kane, who teaches empowerment workshops for women car buyers and owners through a Hyundai programme called Power of the Purse, explained that the customer wasn’t stupid, just totally misled.
Kim Duffy, a travel agent from Durban, said that although she felt perfectly comfortable deciding on the family car and her own car (they have three children, so her input is crucial on the family saloon!); she would be reluctant to sign the deal without a man present. “When I bought my last car my father-in-law squeezed the salesman for extra carpets and got a towbar thrown in. I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”
Sherelee Clarke, a photographer in New Zealand, has always bought her own cars. And negotiated the deal from start to finish. “However, I did ask my brother to take my latest car for a drive before I bought it. Even if he hadn’t liked it, I would have bought it anyway.” She said her brothers felt strongly that women shouldn’t be in charge of making the final decision on a family car. “They seem to think a woman is incapable of making the right choice,” she laughed.
Which seems to bear out a survey from Globalnews.ca: it said 99% of men agreed that women should not be in charge of making the final decision on a family car. But wait for it . . . women agreed.
A staggering 96% of women said they shouldn’t be the ones deciding on a new car: 51% of men and 40% of women said the man should make the decision, 48% of men and 56% of women said it should be a shared decision, and 1% of men and 4% of women said the women should make the choice.
Are they undecided or what? Regardless, however, of who makes the final choice, women will still have an absolute ball at the Johannesburg Motor Show. Don’t miss it, girls. Expo Centre, Nasrec, October 6-16.