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Women Feel Underserviced by the Automotive Industry

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Women Feel Underserviced by the Automotive Industry

Lately, I’ve been noticing Tesla springing up in shopping centres around the globe.

From Doncaster in Melbourne to Waikiki in Hawaii I have been noticing Teslas are on display, replacing the need to go to a dealership. Whilst I like their innovative approach and believe it is a step in the right direction, I question whether this approach is working to attract women.

To test my theory, I sat and watched the Tesla display at Westfield’s Doncaster Shopping town for half an hour recently. I was intrigued to see who was attending. In the time, I was there I saw only men approach the display. Men talking to men. I went up to find out more information about the Tesla vehicle on display. I was ignored completely. I waited for at least five minutes whilst the sales representative, a young man in his late twenties or early thirties, continued talking to a gentleman. I wasn’t even acknowledged. I felt the same feeling so many women experience when visiting a car dealership: insignificant, undervalued and invisible.

Thinking it was an isolated incident I ran the same observational experiment whilst in Hawaii last month. I watched the Tesla visitors of the very impressive two-storey display within the upmarket shopping centre. In this instance, I saw a very crowded showroom full of men. I could see only two women in a showroom which had at least forty men across two levels inspecting Tesla cars. Whilst I understand Tesla cars are particularly popular amongst men Tesla have been working hard to attract more women in the past two years. But certainly not on the shop floor.

I’ve watched other car brands try to replicate the Tesla marketing model of bringing the car to the people in order to overcome the negative reputation car dealerships have earned themselves. Whilst I’ve no doubt this pop-up model is successful in generating additional leads for car dealers, I question whether it goes far enough to attract more women to test drive and purchase a vehicle.

Women make 65% of new car purchases and 74% feel misunderstood by automotive marketers. Women have made it clear that the existing model of buying a car is outdated and is being rejected by women. Women restrict their dealership visits to the final test drive and price negotiation. I believe the pop-up is an improvement on the current model, however, I feel we need to go further and explore more ingenious, creative ways to reach women.

I strongly believe women, specifically Australian mothers, represent the greatest opportunity in the Automotive industry.  Automotive marketers need to start by listening to the needs of women and really invest in better understanding their motivations. There are key milestones which see a woman buy a new car, namely the arrival of a first child, the upgrade to a larger car with the arrival of the third child and the downsizing into a luxury car when the kids start to leave home.

Automotive marketers need to do things differently and work hard to create events and experiences where women can experience the car outside of a dealership environment (and shopping centre) and harness the use of influencers and social media platforms to grow relationships and develop trust with Australian mothers.

I am passionate about making changes in the Automotive sector, and I know plenty of Australian mothers who would be delighted if this happened. If you are an Automotive marketer or visionary Automotive dealer and need some help to better engage mothers, please get in touch.

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