Sixty-eight per cent of car buyers say they have not bought a car from a woman in a damning indictment of the gender split in the motor trade.
The survey of 3,000 car buyers by consumer outlet WhatCar? on behalf of Car Dealer Magazine found that although 90 per cent don’t care who sells them a car, just 32 per cent had bought from a woman.
Furthermore, 29 per cent of female respondents said they believed the car retailing industry was inherently sexist, compared with 13 per cent of men.
Buyers pointed to employees’ tendency to address men when a couple enters the premises, as well as the attitude of male workers. The prominence of men in car advertising was also noted.
James Baggott, founder of Car Dealer, said: “Unfortunately the motor trade is still predominantly staffed by men, especially in frontline sales roles.
“With the help of What Car?, these results show that what we thought was the case is clearly true – few people have bought cars from women, and the industry needs to do a lot more to help change that.”
Rachael Prasher, managing director of Haymarket Automotive, publisher of What Car?, added: “These figures highlight that car buying – and especially entering a retail premises – can still be unnecessarily intimidating, especially for women.
“Some of the examples highlighted would be the work of moments to change, while others – and most notably the perception that some salespeople are willing to charge women more because they don’t think they understand the retail process – should be consigned to history immediately.”
Just 19 per cent of those surveyed said that they believed the genders were equally represented in car showrooms, while 87 per cent thought more women should be encouraged to work in retailers.
Daksh Gupta is the Group CEO of Marshall Motor Holdings and patron of the Automotive 30 per cent Club, which aims to see 30 per cent of automotive leadership positions occupied by women by 2030.
Speaking to Car Dealer Magazine, he said: “This is a topic that’s really close to my heart, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because there’s real tangible benefits for our business.
“The survey results are unsurprising but many retailers are making great strides.
“At Marshall, we have been working on our diversity and inclusion agenda for at least six years now as we recognised the business benefits this brings for all, our customers, our colleagues and shareholders.
“It’s made a big difference in our business over that time, we have seen a more than doubling of our female sales executive population to just under 17 per cent.
“I accept it’s still not enough, but we have momentum in our favour and this stat is growing fast.
“There is no doubt it is having a positive impact on our customer satisfaction, engagement and retention.”