Thursday 29 September 2016

Women still feel alienated and patronised by car firms

Published 10/02/2016 | 02:30

90pc of the women said they would not visit a dealership without a man.
90pc of the women said they would not visit a dealership without a man.

You'd have thought we'd be over this sort of thing now: women being patronised by the motor industry, I mean. Surely it has long been consigned to the spare-wheel footwell.

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Not so according to a mega survey in the UK; would you believe 48,345 women gave their opinion? And the car industry doesn't come out of it well at all. Bit of a shocker really.

Members of a research laboratory called Different Spin have gone and done the talking to all those women.

They asked what they thought about owning and buying a car and how they managed when trouble arose.

The stand-out shocking figure, I think, is that 90pc of the women said they would not visit a dealership without a man. Aw! come on. Is it really that bad? Well, here are some of the words they used: "uncomfortable, unpleasant, dreadful, horrific, tortuous, demeaning, patronising, ghastly, sickening." One-third (34pc) believe no car brand understands them.

Overall, they said they felt "disfranchised" by the motor industry.

I don't blame them for feeling (as 56pc did) that they are patronised by car advertising, considering the way some manufacturers drape scantily-clad female bodies over new models at motor shows.

It is hard to align such alienation, however, with the practical input women have in researching a car with their husband or partner. Statistics show over 90pc are deeply involved in doing so.

Some marques can take a little consolation. Ford, Audi and Volkswagen emerged as the most loved brands.

They were liked for their reliability and for being 'stylish'.

MINI, Ford and Volkswagen were the brands that best "understood" women.

* Do you feel patronised, alienated by showrooms and salespeople?

Let us know: ecunningham@independent.ie

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