When shopping for a new or used car, recent research shows that a huge 45% of women feel apprehensive and a shocking 34% of women feel intimidated.

 In the current car sales market women account for 54% of new car purchases, yet 64% of them will visit the dealership with someone else and surprisingly 78% of them are men! Even though the car was to be purchased and driven exclusively by her!

When most women go to buy a new or used car, they go with the mind-set that they “must get the car today” or “let’s just get it over with”, but why do we have this attitude?

After a purchase of a house, buying a car is usually the next biggest purchase you are likely to make, be it a new car or used car.

I am a woman working in a car dealer, and here are a just a few little tips and points to help you:

Make sure you research the car or cars that you like, take a look on the internet and see what people are saying about that car. What the official reviews were like, and ask friends and family what car they drive and what they think.

If you are looking at a new car then look at the car manufacturer’s website and get a good idea of spec and prices before you go to the showroom, this will help you when negotiating with them. Have a realistic budget set out and try to stick to it!

If you are looking at buying a used car then have a look on used car websites and see what prices are like, this will also give you a good idea of what the future value may be, if and when you come to change your car. If you are looking at part exchanging your current car against a new car then this will also give you an idea of what your car is worth.

Once you have a narrowed your search, contact the dealership and get further details about the car. Most importantly ask for a test drive in the car, you wouldn’t buy a house without looking at the inside, or meet a guy and instantly get married without seeing what he is like, so don’t agree to buy a car before you have driven it. Also make sure that you go on a test drive for at least 20 minutes.

When you go for the test drive, take someone with you, chances are while you are jumping with excitement over your new find they will be the eyes and ears that you will need! If you are not the only driver of the car, then take the other driver with you so they can also test it out.

Make sure you check the boot and the back seats for adequate space. If you have a push chair or child seats, even golf clubs, take them with you on the test drive and make sure they fit in the car, and with ease. Don’t forget, if you have a garage, check the measurements and if you are not sure, drive the car to your home and drive it into the garage to be sure!

If you have more than one car that you are interested in, try to group the test drives together in one day, it will make comparing the different models easier, mid-week is always better as the sales executives will have more time to commit to you, if you can wait, leave it until the end of the month if you are looking to buy a used car, as most sales teams are target driven and will be hungry for that last sale in the month. This will then give you a better chance of getting the price that is right for you. However, don’t always expect them to be begging for your business, especially if they have already smashed their target for the month!

When you go for the test drive in your chosen new or used car, make sure that you get a good drive, a quick whizz around the block will not be enough to really test the car. Ask for a longer route or even the option to have a 24hr test drive, this will give you a really good idea how you will get on with your new car. Test all the buttons in the car, make sure they work, and if you don’t know what it does ask, test their knowledge!

Make sure that you test the exact car that you would like to buy, don’t let the sales executive push you into another one telling you that they are all pretty much the same, just because the car you want is at the back of the pitch! They are not all the same, many different models have different interiors and options and different seats, which on your journey could make a big difference!

On the test drive, be tough, don’t let them rush you, and if it isn’t exactly what you are looking for walk away, don’t be afraid to ask question about your chosen new or used car, no matter how silly they seem.

Finally, don’t settle for the first price that they give you, negotiate with them as according to research, women pay over £800 more on their new car than a man would on the same car!

In conclusion:

  1. Do your research (resale, MPG, servicing, insurance etc)
  2. Keep to your budget
  3. Check dimensions
  4. Take all potential drivers – not just you
  5. Enjoy a long test drive
  6. Don’t be bullied
  7. Push for a discount if possible
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