Andrew Robinson is general manager and managing partner of Precision Hyundai in Calgary. He spoke with Calgary’s Business about the company’s initiatives around female customers, the upcoming Calgary’s Woman Show and the auto business.
Calgary’s Business: What has Precision Hyundai noticed in recent years when it comes to female customers? Are there more in the market today? And how are they different than males when they shop for a vehicle?
Robinson: Hyundai as a brand seems to resonate very well with female customers. Most of our data shows that a higher percentage of women than men purchase our brand – 55 per cent over 45 per cent. I don’t believe there are more women out in the marketplace today – but they often have different requirements than men. What we see is most women base their buying decisions around comfort and convenience. Do they feel safe behind the wheel, is the ride quiet and does the vehicle feel sturdy? How adjustable is the seat, is it powered, can it raise up and does it have lumbar support? A big win for our brand that female shoppers love is that we offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto, as well as most of our lineup includes a heated steering wheel. Functionality is also a huge consideration for women. How many USB ports are available and are they spaced out properly? Are there enough cupholders, areas for tablets, cellphones and any other space that may be required when hauling the kids to various activities? They also want power rear hatches, heated rear seats and sunshades for the little ones who ride in the back.
CB: Do you think when it comes to shopping for a vehicle women would prefer to deal with other
women at a dealership?
Robinson: We had a customer last week who only wanted to work with our female sales consultant, Paige Phillips, and our female finance manager, Neeru. If this choice wasn’t available, I’m sure we wouldn’t have earned her business. I think most of the time it depends on the individual. We have many long-term clients who have purchased multiple vehicles from Precision Hyundai and mainly from our male staff members. Many women don’t seem to mind working with a male sales representative, however most women also haven’t had a choice. And we definitely have heard from some female customers about the bad experiences they have had elsewhere. We have found that if a female customer has the option to work directly with a sales representative of the same gender, she appreciates the choice. Early feedback that we’ve received from customers who we have not established a relationship with and are considering our store as a place to do business, have enjoyed their dealings with Paige. I believe it has a lot to do with her in particular and I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that she breaks the stereotypical image of a car salesman for many.
CB: What kinds of things has Precision Hyundai done to accommodate female sentiment in the auto
Robinson: As general manager, I recently redesigned our process so that women visiting the dealership have options – if they want, they can choose to work with another woman through the entire car purchasing process from sales to financing, and detailing and also when they return with their vehicle for servicing as we also have female service advisers and service technicians. As a family-owned and operated dealership since 1984, it’s always been our goal to create a respectful and comfortable environment for everyone who walks through our doors. This is why we took this step to ensure all our female customers have a choice.
CB: I understand you have a booth at the upcoming Woman’s Show this weekend. Tell me a bit about that and why you have a presence there?
Robinson: This will be the first Woman’s Show that we’ve been involved in. Paige started the conversation wondering if this would be a good trade show to consider. She knows that we were looking at opportunities to help create awareness for our just-released all-new sport utility called the Kona. As we already knew that our brand’s appeal is slanted more towards women, and with Paige spearheading the event, we quickly realized that we wanted a presence at the show. Since our decision to participate, we’ve also decided to offer a contest to the patrons of the Woman’s Show who can enter to win a Kona amongst other offers and opportunities.
CB: In general, how is the auto sales business in Calgary these days considering the economic times we’ve gone through in the past couple of years?
Robinson: We have noticed a slowdown within the industry over the last few years but overall, the automotive business in Calgary has been steady. This winter has been a tough one with spring arriving seasonably later than usual. It’s delayed the traditional start to our spring selling season where historically our volumes improve due to increased interest.
– Mario Toneguzzi
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