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Dealerships need to recruit more female staff in order to gain the trust of women buyers.

Female car buyer

A new study by Auto Trader into the diversity of the motor industry has found that 94% of women don’t trust car dealerships.

More than a third (35%) of women surveyed noticed there were very few, if any, female salespeople or staff when visiting dealerships.

This lack of diversity left 13% of women finding the in-store experience an uncomfortable one.

A quarter of women felt that sales staff made presumptions about what they were looking for, compared to just 7% of men, and more than twice as many women (11% vs 5%) felt they were talked down to.

In 15% of cases, women said that the salesperson didn’t acknowledge them at all and only talked to the man.

Le Etta Pearce, Auto Trader’s group sales director, said: “As an industry we should be very concerned by these findings. More than a third of cars in the UK are registered to women, and not only are they the key influencers in purchasing decisions, but more often than not, women are the end user too.

“Nearly 40% of women believe that greater diversity across the industry would create a better experience at dealerships for women. So, whilst our research clearly paints a disappointing picture, it does highlight the huge opportunities available to both manufacturers and retailers.

Attracting and retaining more female decision makers, marketers and salespeople will not only help drive innovation and creativity across automotive, but it will be vital to growth in the months and years ahead.” 

New car marketing was also found to alienate women, with 92% of consumers saying car advertising was “too masculine”, putting of 77% of women buyers.

65% of car buyers interviewed said they found gender stereotypes in car advertising off-putting, suggesting that hyper-masculinity in the automotive industry could be having a significant impact on buying decisions, as well as consumer attitudes towards different car models and brands.  

Luxury sport car brands were identified as being too masculine in their advertising by 87% of respondents, followed by adverts for SUVs (69%) and marketing for premium car brands (71%). 

Female car ownership reached a new record level of 11.8 million vehicles in 2017 and the number of women car owners is growing faster than men, according to the DVLA.

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