Women account for 52% of all road users and now influence more than 80% of car purchase decisions in Australia. We drive 45% of all new cars on Australian roads, and as a percentage of the population, there are more women with a driver’s licence than men. It’s also worth noting that Australian women have better safety driving records than men, we have fewer accidents, fewer claims and a lot less damage to our cars if we do find ourselves in an accident so we were at a loss to understand how the insurance and motor service industries in Australia rarely marketed to women.
So, in turn, it makes sense that a lot of us (most of us) have some reservations around purchasing a new car. I know first-hand how intimidating the process can be because I recently tried to buy a new car, I went in with all my ducks in a row.
My finance was approved, tick. I already knew the make and model I was after, tick. I thought the hardest part would be the colour I would go with and the extra add-ons I would need, but no. As soon as I walked in the salesman bee-lined for me, immediately he grabbed my boyfriend’s hand and shook it warmly. He didn’t even for a second think that in fact, I was the one there to purchase a new car. Did it rub me up the wrong way immediately, abso-bloody-lutely So I sat back in interest to see how this would play out, I mean, let’s be honest, I work for a female insurance product who is chasing the dream for equality in the industry so I thought I’d have a little bit of fun with it.
He asked the usual questions, ‘what would the car be used for?’ – he answered his question by finally looking me in the eye and with a wink, he said ‘for the kids, I’m guessing’. I couldn’t believe it, my immediate thought was ‘yes mate, I haven’t saved for two years for this moment, and I must be a mum because I’m over 30’. What a time to be alive.
Needless to say, he did not get the sale and I’ve held off on my purchase because I’m yet to find someone I actually want to deal with. Though I did get close with one particular car yard that shall remain nameless… So here are my tips for navigating the minefield that is purchasing a new car, from a female perspective, my perspective. Buckle in babes, let’s get you the car you want and outsmart the bias boys club once and for all.
Take your time and don’t hold back on the questions.
Salespeople in car dealerships are taught to get the sale then and there so be aware of any pressure tactics they might be using to get you across the line. If things sound too good to be true then they usually are, so keep a level head and do your best to take the emotion out of the purchase. The dealer doesn’t need to know that you have your heart set on that car and that you’ve already envisioned yourself driving off into the sunset in the exact make and model they are selling. Hardball them, tell them your mind is not yet made up and you are speaking to a few dealerships in your area, let them work for you and on the price. Don’t give away your budget, give them a close estimate of what you’d like to spend and ask ALL the questions your heart desires. No question is a silly question, especially when it comes to making a large purchase like a car.
Have an idea of how you’ll pay for your new wheels before you fall in love with the car.
Chat to a broker or the bank to see how much you can borrow, and what your repayments will be, we’ve linked a great article here from Money Smart that will give you all the information you need get the best car loan for you. Most dealers will try to sell you finance in-store so it’s best to enter into these kinds of conversations with an idea of the rate available in the market and also what your budget allows for. It will also help when you are adding on any extras or negotiating the price when the time comes.
Remember EVERYTHING is negotiable.
From the car mats to the delivery cost, to the extras. Negotiate hard and remember as much as they might make you think they are doing you a favour here and there in most cases they aren’t if they are throwing in free car mats, they have probably increased the dealer delivery charge to pay for those mats. Question everything, write it all down and then use that to negotiate with other dealerships.
Go through your contract with a fine-tooth comb.
Ask for an itemised list of the costs, line by line and keep everything on email rather than chatting over the phone. I was just recently asked for $100 deposit over the phone to secure my car and instead, they took $1000 off my card, luckily, I had it in a text and they refunded me the money, but had that discussion been verbal I would have lost $1,000 as I no longer want to deal with that dealership. That could have been a very costly mistake had I not had it in writing.
Find a reputable dealer.
There are either horror stories or hero stories, make sure yours is the hero story by finding a salesperson/dealership you want to deal with. Ask around and see if any friends or friends of friends can recommend someone amazing and also search the internet for google reviews, it does help to feel comfortable with the salesperson you’re about to spend a lot of money with.
Look at the build year as well as the badge year.
My horror story was completed by the salesperson trying to sell me a 2020 built car (which has a 2021 badge) for the same money as a 2021 build and 2021 badge, meaning if I took the 2020 built car essentially the day it arrives it’s a year old. Dodgy right.
Weigh up your trade-in options
The vast majority of people have two popular options;
One can sell their car privately or can trade it into the dealership.
The problem lies with how the dealer’s trade-in value is inextricably related to the costs of operating a bricks and mortar dealership. The sure-fire way of selling a used car is to trade it in – but this generally equates to less cash in your pockets. Selling privately usually means you will make a little more cash, but it may just be an easier transition to sell it to the car yard and then get the trade-in value off your purchase price.
Also, worth noting;
• You will need CTP insurance before you drive out of the dealership, they can organise it for you but it is always worth shopping around.
• Remember to quote your shop around for your comprehensive cover, it’s a great time to shop around as great deals are being offered. And just remember your premium will change when you buy a new car.
• Ask for a deal on services and maintenance try for 4 years at least of capped service costs
• Remember you aren’t there to make friends, you’re there to get the best deal so you can keep that cash in your pocket for the things that matter, like a long road trip in your new car while you make memories that last a lifetime.