Women-focused auto sales and service – A growth opportunity
While reading the news recently, I came across the following article: "Women-Focused Auto Shop a Reaction to Disdainful Mechanics." The article confirmed that at least some portion of the industry can see the growing impact women are having on the automotive industry and are not only just taking note, but are actually taking action to support this growing market. The article focuses on Mae de la Calzada, who opened LadyParts Auto Services, a full service auto shop in Redwood City, CA. The key here is that Mae was fed up with traditional male-focused auto shops that presented a dismissive attitude toward their female clientele.
So what is different about LadyParts Automotive Services? I would say it boils down to the sub-heading found on the company site, "Auto Repair Designed with a WOMAN in mind." The site goes on to mention, "...and we're nice to men too."
According to the article and my review of the company's website, it doesn't appear LadyParts Automotive is affiliated with a specific OEM or brand. So my challenge to the auto industry is as follows: Which OEM or brand will be the first to create a dealership focused on women and develop a service program on par with LadyParts Automotive?
The Top 5 brands for women, based on market share, according to Polk's 2011 New Vehicle Registrations data (year-to-date through October) are as follows: Toyota (13.1%), Honda (11.9%), Ford (10.7%), Chevrolet (10.0%) and Nissan (9.2%).
My first thought is that one of the Top 5 women's brands listed above should step up to this challenge and produce a national program to ensure female clients feel comfortable and welcome. My second thought is that one of the brands ranked six through 10 including: Hyundai, Kia, Jeep, Dodge and Nissan would implement this program to help them move into the Top 5 brands for women. This is my sixth blog on the growing female automotive market. The LadyParts Automotive article supports my theory that the traditional "one size fits all" approach appears in need of tweaking for the growing female market as well.
These are my thoughts on this topic. I look forward to receiving your thoughts, comments and suggestions on the female automotive market and what changes the industry should make to better serve this automotive buyer segment.
Marc Bland, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Polk
Posted 4 January 2012
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