Mama Bear Blog
Car Shopping While Female
Blog Post by Sonia Steinway - 2/6/18
Women Buy More Cars and Influence More Car Buying Decisions
Women are more likely than men to have a bad experience at the dealership, even though we influence the majority of car buying decisions.
I was wrong. The first dealer I met was totally condescending, “man-splaining” the basics to me (I know the difference between automatic and manual transmission, thankyouverymuch). My experience at the next dealership wasn’t much better – that salesman apparently had better ways to spend his time than helping me buy a car. I had to approach him to ask questions, and he barely listened when I talked. Thankfully, the third dealer was attentive and respectful, and he earned my business. In fact, I returned to the same dealership when I was ready to upgrade, and I’ve been loyal to that brand ever since.
Based on our research at Outside Financial, my experience wasn’t unique. Other women we’ve spoken with have also felt disrespected at the dealership. Dominique told us, “I handle all the finances for my family, but the one thing I won’t do is walk into a car dealership. They know how to make me feel uncomfortable so I’ll sign anything just to get out of there. I make my husband buy the car.” Kim put it more directly: “Because I’m a woman, I felt like the dealer thought I was a target, like ‘we can take advantage of her.'” In our survey of 600 car buyers, women were 25% more likely than men to report having a bad buying experience. And the problem isn’t just perception. A study by one of my law school professors found that dealers quoted significantly lower prices to white men than to black or female test buyers.
Since women make up the majority of car buyers, why isn’t car buying more female-friendly?
What can you do about it?
Prepare yourself before you go into the dealership. Our Learn section is full of tips and tools to help you take control. That’s the only way to ensure you get the best deal on your car and your financing, regardless of your gender.
I helped start Outside Financial because I wanted everyone to be able to walk into a dealership without feeling vulnerable.
If you’ve had a bad (or good) experience at the dealership, we want to hear about it! Drop us a line at any time.