Buying a new car can be an unsettling experience no matter who you are, but it’s traditionally been all the tougher for women – who are often treated like second-class citizens, either more trouble than they’re worth or as easy marks to be easily taken advantage of.
“When I started looking for my last car, the first dealer I went to told me to come back when I could bring my husband with me. He clearly didn’t think I was smart enough to do it myself,” recalls Alice Hissler, a single PhD scientist at a major Michigan university.
Hissler is by no means alone, and women are more likely than men to express frustration at the car buying experience. But that’s beginning to change, driven by automakers, retail trade groups and women themselves who are using word-of-mouth and social media to get the word about which dealers to patronize and which to avoid.