A Seattle Woman’s Perspective on Car Buying

Category: Feature. Written by Cara Capuano 

Audi R9Here’s the truth: Women are better shoppers than men.

Perhaps the “shopping gene” is carried on the X chromosome. We have two “X’s”; thereby we are twice as efficient and productive. Or perhaps it is an environmental part of our upbringing. At an early age, wise mothers pass along two key concepts to their daughters:

1. You get what you pay for 2.Never pay full price

With the New Year come new resolutions. Perhaps one of yours is to add a new car to your life. If so, I have a tip: Bring your better half to the shopping process!

A sales manager at a Seattle area Honda dealership, who didnt want to be identified, told me how he has stressed to his staff that major buying decisions used to be controlled by men, women are now taking a more active, if not equal, role. Maybe it’s a reflection of society as whole, but many women are commanding higher incomes than their spouses. and thus have a bigger role in major purchases. Sales people are focusing both people equally, regardless of which person is seeking the new ride. I’ve been told the number#1 tip in reading a female customer is by being attentive to nonverbal cues like eye contact and body language.

“Once I see a woman cross her arms, I know the sale is lost,” explains the local Honda sales manager.

Recently on vacation from the Seattle drizzle, I had a chance to soak in Southern California sun while helping a friend buy a car. In the process I saw some sweet rides, including a replica of the Bumblebee Camaro from Transformers II, the new Audi R9 being used in the Ironman sequel. While “shopping” (read: “dreaming”), I had several other conversations with sales managers, at a variety of dealerships, and was pleased to have several hypotheses confirmed regarding the differences between the way men and women shop for vehicles. They include, in no particular order:

Women prioritize a car that fits their lifestyles.

  • Are there enough seats to meet passenger requirements?
  • The more “hands-free” the better. Mothers in particular love the convenience of power-operated doors/lift gates, folding seats and seat/pedal adjustments. Remote starters for engines, heaters and air conditioning are highly coveted and could make lovely last-minute holiday gifts.
  • Safety first! Women typically ask more safety-related questions than men.

Women are often more cautious on what they spend than a man. This is not a blanket statement and clearly does not apply to items like cosmetics and shoes, but in my observations and experience when it comes to cars, practicality reigns supreme for ladies.

  • Women will ask important questions about key elements to budgetary savings like gas mileage and interest rates on loans or leases.

Men seek “the look.” According to an eastside GMC/Pontiac sales manager, men are “appearance driven, hands down.”

  • Electronic gadgets like navigation systems and touch screen-based radio/temperature controls hold definite appeal but even more alluring are exterior add-ons like upgraded tires, trim and grills.
  • Power is also a critical factor for the male buyer – finding the right combination of acceleration and speed without sacrificing gas mileage.

Motivation for bringing a member of the opposite sex on the shopping excursion can be starkly different (shocker, I know).

A Seattle area Toyota salesperson told me, “women tend to bring men (as shopping partners) to get more respect” on the sales floor. And “9 out of ten times a man brings a woman to shop for vehicles to show her what a great business person he is.”

He also added, “I’ve been married thirty years and have learned that you never buy what the wife doesn’t want,” he says. “I wouldn’t even buy a pair of pants she didn’t like.”

Now those are words one can live by.

Cara picCara Capuano has worked in television, mainly in sports, for over a decade, spending the last four years covering the Northwest Sports Scene for Fox Sports NW and before that on ESPN News. A dedicated storyteller, from time to time she’ll be lending some “female perspective” to SeattleAuto.net.

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2 Responses to “A Seattle Woman’s Perspective on Car Buying”

  1. unusual travel on January 21st, 2012 2:47 am

    Wow! I have learned a lot from this post! thanks for sharing!

  2. Pusat Jagaan on August 15th, 2017 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the article. Its really indepth and informative.

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