The UK's first female friendly approved car dealer network to provide a choice of retailers "committed to making car shopping more enjoyable for women drivers" has been launched.
The Foxy Lady Drivers Club network operates from the Foxy Choice website (www.foxychoice.com).
Founder Steph Savill said: "Women influence some 80% of all car sales and, as expert family shoppers, we are good at comparing products, service levels and prices.
"We know what we want and if we don't get it it's easy to take our business elsewhere and tell our friends and family why.
"Most car showrooms still retain an overly masculine aura and I think it's time to address this alongside the needs and expectations of the gender of their future customers.”
To become 'Foxy Lady Approved', subscribing businesses have to agree to 'never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don't need' and meet the scheme's ongoing compliance process.
Foxy looks for and promotes measurable quality standards such as Motor Codes schemes, customer service awards and individuals listed on the Institute of the Motor Industry Professional Register.
All used car dealers are required to provide a full MoT and a minimum six month warranty with the car purchased, but dealers are encouraged to offer more, such as a longer warranty, free breakdown or takeaway insurance.
And features such as female car sales staff, car reviews written by women, the option of a test drive with a female member of staff, dedicated evenings for women and recent female feedback are encouraged.
Savill said: "Car showrooms with male only staff are often missing out on a trick because many women, especially those shopping on their own, would likely choose a female thinking she may better understand their new car needs and perspective.
“I'd like to see more women getting excited about shopping for a new car. Instead of losing more female business to internet-based dealers we should be encouraging more women to shop locally by making the showroom experience more fun. If I'm going to spend £20,000 upwards next month I expect to be courted, feted and treated with respect not worried about being patronised or paying over the odds.”
The registered number of female car owners has increased by 72% since 1994 and will soon exceed the number of male drivers.
"Yet despite their wealth and financial independence, few women enjoy shopping for a new car and some even admit to taking a man with them for fear they'll be overcharged during the process.
"Being seen to get service levels right ahead of others is undoubtedly a sales opportunity for the best car dealers so when Foxy's network is promoted to women in September they'll be able to search for female friendly approved used car dealers and new car dealerships for the first time."
> Foxy website testimonials.