Teamspirit Ltd

November 07, 2006 19:01 ET

Girls' Garage Gripes - Women Drivers Risking Their Lives by Avoiding a Trip to the Garage

Embargoed until 00:01 8th November 2006

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 8, 2006) - More than four million female drivers admit to putting their lives at risk by continuing to drive faulty, and potentially un-roadworthy, cars because they dislike the experience of visiting a garage, according to a new report out today.

The 'Girls & Garages' survey from Sheilas' Wheels - a car insurer designed for the female driver - shows that a staggering 30% of women have continued to drive their car around for more than a month before taking it to a garage knowing there's a fault that needs investigating.

Almost half (47%) of female motorists say visiting a garage is an ordeal they'd rather avoid. In fact, a fifth (20%) of women say they would rather go to the doctors - an experience that few look forward to - than take their car into a garage for a service or repair.

Despite the fact that three fifths (61%) of women currently take their car into a garage on their own, 39% of them say they would prefer to take someone along with them if they were able to - such as a partner, friend or relative. One in ten female drivers (12%) currently arranges for someone else to take their car in on their behalf to avoid the garage experience altogether.

The report reveals that the main reasons why women are put-off garages is because the experience is too 'blokey' (39%); the staff come across as patronising and rude (27%); and the atmosphere makes them feel intimidated (23%).

Sheilas' Wheels exclusively uses 'female-friendly' repairers who receive additional guidelines and advice to be more receptive to women's needs. They follow a code of practice to better meet the individual requirements of female motorists, such as helping with child car seats, arranging visits to fit around school runs, offering flexible drop-off and pick-up times during daylight hours, and so on.

Jacky Brown, spokesperson for Sheilas' Wheels says: "It's astounding that so many women motorists are potentially putting their lives on the line by driving around in cars that they know have a fault, just to avoid visiting a garage.

'With over 14 million(i) female drivers behind the wheel on UK roads, it makes sense that their specific needs are met. Sheilas' Wheels is urging the motor industry to take action and encourage female drivers to steer towards, rather than steer clear, of garages if their vehicles are in need of maintenance, servicing or repair. After all, it's in their interest from a business point of view."

Christine Maskill, owner of Newbury Crash Repairs, echoes this view: "The problem isn't that women are nervous drivers or don't understand the basics, it's that the service they receive from many in our industry is pretty poor and can be quite off-putting.

'We make sure our staff are trained properly and that particular emphasis is given to cater for female drivers' needs - such as keeping a mum mobile whilst she's juggling work, school-age children and a car that needs repair. Tailoring our service to female clients is a crucial part of our business and in what still is very much a man's world, we need to bring ourselves in line with the rest of the service industry and treat women as our valued customers."

The 'Girls & Garages' report also reveals the top five things garages can do to make dealing with them a better experience:

1. Offer transparent pricing structures for labour and parts (63%)
2. Provide clearer and more honest information (55%)
3. Ensure that receptions are manned by friendly and welcoming staff (41%)
4. Improve waiting areas - make them clean and more comfortable (39%)
5. Improve the levels of customer service overall (34%)

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

Research: Sheilas' Wheels commissioned YouGov to speak to 752 female drivers and 792 male drivers in September 2006.

(i)Source: Office of National Statistics, National Travel Survey 2004 (14.4 million women with driving licenses in UK)


Sheilas' Wheels: Sheilas' Wheels was launched in October 2005 to offer women drivers cheaper car insurance and product enhancements including GBP300 handbag cover - for bags stolen from the car (comprehensive cover only) - competitive breakdown recovery rates, a dedicated counselling line run by trained professionals to help customers cope with driving issues such as road rage (comprehensive cover only), and a network of female-friendly mechanics. www.sheilaswheels.com and www.ilovesheilas.com.

NCR Bodyshops: NCRbodyshops is the trading name of Newbury Crash Repair Ltd, which has been established since 1986. NCR has always been a family owned independent bodyshop and is now trading from its 4th premises in Newbury, Berkshire following periods of steady sustained growth. The company is recognised as having a fully operational Quality Management System demonstrated by having BS EN ISO 9002.

The UK Body Repair Industry carries out approx. 6 million repairs per annum in a market whose estimated value is GBP5 billion. NCR is within the top 4% of UK Bodyshops with regard to turnover purely from body repairs.

For more information visit www.ncrbodyshops.co.uk or call 01635 277377.

Spokespeople interviews and case studies available on request - please contact Sam Holl on 020 7438 9400.

Contact Information

  • Teamspirit PR
    Jo Misson or Sam Holl
    020 7438 9400