London: Good news, ladies. When it comes to buying a new car, you’re likely to get a much better discount than your other half.
The bad news? It may come at a price — having to endure the attentions of patronising salesmen. An undercover investigation in the UK has revealed how differently men and women are treated when they go to buy a car.
Auto Express magazine sent one male and one female mystery shopper to the same ten showrooms to buy the same new cars. The woman shopper was offered the better discount in six out of the ten dealerships, while the man got the best offer in only two. The other two were a draw.
But their experiences were rather different. Claire Holden, the woman shopper, said that at one dealership: “The salesman was quick to approach me, and paid me sleazy compliments before we’d even looked at the car. He went through every button and dial in the car, but when I wanted to talk money he just wanted to chat me up. It was as awful as it sounds.”
At the same showroom the other shopper, Chris Ebbs, said that after a quick hello from the receptionist he was “ignored” as one salesman “discussed a problem with his flat on the phone”.
But of the ten dealerships, five were more polite towards Ebbs. Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express, said: “Dealers clearly seem to favour the fairer sex with their discounts. But while women may be able to negotiate a better deal, they may find — as Claire did — they’re subject to long, patronising discussions in showrooms.”
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealership Association, which represents 3,000 UK dealerships said: “If these complaints are brought to me I shall look into them — personally.”