Car Buying Tips for Women
Buying a new car or truck shouldn’t be a gender-specific exercise, but in some instances, women consumers who try to buy a vehicle are met with resistance, apathy or downright sexism.
It shouldn’t be that way. The car industry historically has had an unsavoury reputation as being a hotbed of misogyny run by a gang of tired stereotypes. Dealerships and sales professionals have evolved considerably since the days of plaid jackets and greased-back pompadours on throwback, shifty-eyed car salesman, but once in a while – which is still too often – you’ll find a female shopper who has encountered such a dinosaur. Has that ever happened to you? In the case where you’re ever addressed as “Little Lady,” it’s best just to walk away, but how do you approach the business of buying a car if you are a woman?
Know what you want
Talk to your bank and find out if you can get pre-approved for a loan, then compare those rates with what the dealer is offering. Decide in advance if you will be leasing or purchasing. Do some budgeting to find out a comfortable monthly payment, overall vehicle price, and how much you can afford to put down as a deposit. Call your insurance to find out if your costs will go up based on your prospective new car.
Once you have some hard numbers in your head, start researching vehicles online. Get an idea of what models have the features you need and want. How powerful an engine do you need, and what kind of gas mileage do you want to get? If you have questions, you can always connect with a dealership online or by phone before coming in. You may get a good vibe about a dealership that way and feel more comfortable about making a purchase there.
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If you are shy and hesitant, you will project an image that you are not in charge. Don’t be afraid to declare that you are the primary decision maker and are ready to purchase if all your requirements are met. This tells a salesperson that you are serious. Sometimes a salesperson is reticent to engage if they (incorrectly) assume that you have a partner who needs to be consulted prior to purchase. You can choose to either set that salesperson straight or move on to another, more enlightened, car professional. You should not be treated differently because you are a woman.
Most dealerships are aware that women influence over 80% of all vehicle sales decisions and women purchase about 60% of new vehicles, and over 50% of used vehicles.* Women spend billions on car purchases and vehicle servicing and maintenance annually. You have serious clout as a consumer and your dealer should respect that!
Don’t feel pressured to sign if you aren’t comfortable or don’t understand certain aspects of your deal or the contract. Your sales consultant is there to help you, but they are also doing a job. It’s in your best interest to take your time, confirming you are getting everything you want, and go over the details until you are fully satisfied. When you are comfortable with your contract and your salesperson, go ahead and sign on the dotted line – and congratulations!
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