There are hundreds of car related blogs out there mostly written by men for men. There are a few, however, which are aimed at women drivers, written by ladies for ladies. Steph Savill from FOXY Lady Drivers Club is one such blogger who writes the Foxy Lady Blog with useful tips and advice on buying new and used cars, car insurance and anything that can help women drivers. We chatted with her about the club, her blog and what women should know about service garages.
Could you tell our readers more about yourself?
I grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne and live in a Sussex village now. I am married with a 17 year old son and a stepdaughter in Australia. Before FOXY Lady Drivers Club I worked in marketing and sales roles in travel and tourism related businesses.
Tell us more about FOXY Lady Drivers Club.
It all started when our student daughter Emma came to stay with us one Christmas. She showed her father her first solo garage bill and he told us both that she’d been ripped off. Until then I hadn’t known that UK garages aren’t licensed or that mechanics don’t have to be qualified to repair things like our brakes. The Club idea came about because I wanted Mums like me and students like Emma to know how to choose the best and safest garages by virtue of measurable standards. We now help women choose their cars, garage services, motor insurance and finance deals and provide insider advice, information, support services and money-saving deals. We’re a friendly service for women drivers of all ages now – good to have us on your side when your car lets you down and motoring gets stressful!
What prompted you to start a motoring blog aimed at women drivers? What are the things that motivate you to write?
I write FOXY Lady blog for women and as an extension of what the Club does and is all about. Probably because my specialist subject is to do with garages and how to market them to women I also have a following within the motor trade. Clearly there are many men that want to pick up a few tips about what women want! I also write about car insurance, finance and buying new and used cars as well as businesses that are clearly female friendly in other industries. I pick up on all sorts of topics from the news, specialist press and when speaking to women and suppliers within the Club.
Tell us more about FOXY Choice: Female Friendly Garages and why is there a need for change?
The Club introduced us to many excellent garages and dealerships who wanted to be promoted to women because they have invested in higher standards than the rest and wanted to spread the word to more women. FOXY Choice promotes garages that sign our female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need’. We also include a Good Garage Guide to help women choose the right garage solution (it’s complicated but the cheapest is rarely the safest) and we identify measurable signs of garage quality so women know which ones to trust. We also promote a Female Business Ambassador in garages that have one because we know that women trust women. Garages that meet our standards can then use our marketing services and promote their offers to members of the Club so word about female friendly garages and why this matters is reaching women across the UK and spreading fast.
Why is there a distinct lack of sites aimed at female motorists when women are now influencing about 85% of the purchase decision?
When I asked this same question recently, a female editor of a leading women’s magazine told me that there was no interest in motoring from women. I don’t agree with her of course, although the subject needs to be written from a ‘need to know’ point of view rather than frilly point of view, but she is right that nearly all women prefer to read about fashion, beauty, home and family matters. But we all NEED our cars to live independent lives and if we don’t know how to run them properly they can be unsafe and we can pay through the nose unnecessarily. This is particularly true in such a male dominated industry where 80% of staff are men despite women making most shopping decisions as you say. Car showroom and garage workshop staff often tell me ‘we treat men and women equally’ as if this is a feminst issue. They think this approach is called equality but I call it complacency because they know that women have different needs and expect more than most men; they simply don’t bother to get their service levels right for us and expect us to put up with male driven standards. This is a huge BUSINESS opportunity for those that are seen as more female friendly than others; those that get it right for women will attract our business away from complacent others, they’ll see us more often and we’ll tell our family and friends…
The general assumption is that mostly men read car reviews and buy cars. Do you know if this is what statistics say too?
Yes I’m sure that’s right. Women influence c60% of new and used car sales for themselves AND their family. We also organise the majority of garage services bought nowadays. I can’t imagine women enjoying car reviews which have been written by and for men. Women look for more practical facts like space, running costs, safety and reliability indices as well as where the cars were bought and how good dealership services were. But we do like to read read car reviews written by women and the female feedback we collect within the Club.
I’m quite keen on finding out more about car insurance and why is there a specific insurance for women drivers?
I think this came about because most women are less expensive motorists to insure than most men. Sadly young men are the biggest car insurance cost and risk. Many cause expensive, serious and often fatal accidents because they drive faster and with less caution than young females. This created an opportunity for insurers to be seen to promote policies with lower prices for women. The reality is that most women shop for car insurance at comparison websites today and buy on price or specific cover features. Surprisingly, it isn’t always the supposedly specialist car insurers for women that offer us the best deals because all quotes are based on your car, its value, your driving experience, age and postcode as well as any gender consideration.
What should every woman know when considering buying a new car, whether brand new or used?
This is a huge subject and one we’ve written some foxy tips about at http://www.foxyladydrivers.com/top-ten-foxy-motoring-tips-women-drivers.php
Do women favour a particular car brand?
We have more than 12,000 members in the Club and there are all sorts of makes and models listed there. At the last count the top five car makes were Ford and Vauxhall followed by Renault, VW and Peugeot. Needless to say the choice of car depends on a woman’s lifestyle and family needs. If she uses her car for business we’re seeing more Audi and BMWs whereas Minis and Smart cars are increasingly the fun and eco-drives she likes.
Do you think the car brand, shape, type, colour reveal something about a person’s character?
Sometimes perhaps but it’s more complicated than that for women, depending on their budget and lifestyle! I do think it’s a shame that so many cars are black and silver; I’d like to see more decal options so we could DIY design our cars and then remove them seamlessly for re-selling!
What car do you drive? What would be your dream car?
We often test drive cars so this varies quite a lot. My family run around at present is a Citroen Picasso Hdi because it’s so roomy, reliable and low cost whether it’s for camping weekends or eating up motorway miles full of boxes of promotional literature. But in my dreams I see myself as a fancy Lady Penelope type arrayed in a pink Rolls Royce driven by a chauffeur who looks remarkably like Daniel Craig…