Going into a car dealership to buy a car is starting to look a little old fashioned.

According to many women, it can be a pretty intimidating, even humiliating experience, where the assumption is often still that the decision-maker is likely to be the male, despite many studies into who controls the purse strings in the modern household pointing to the lady of the house, not the gent!

While internet sites like CarSales and CarsGuide have made the whole process a lot more straightforward for both sexes, a new website has taken car buying online to a whole new level. Site founder Shoshi Vorchheimer set the business up to put ladies back ‘in the driver’s seat’ when it comes to buying a car.

“In my opinion, car dealers have a reputation for taking advantage of women who might not know as much about cars as men, as well as young people and people whose first language isn’t English and might not have the right level of bargaining and negotiating skills,” said Shoshi.

The site – DutchAuctionAuto.com.au – allows users to pick the new car they want to buy and then ‘post’ the sale on the site. Car dealers then send in their best prices and the user chooses the best deal. The prospective purchaser is anonymous up until the deal is sealed and then the car is delivered to the purchaser by the winning dealer. Recent research shows that 90% of Australian women walking into a car dealership alone felt they weren’t taken seriously enough by the dealership staff and 75% felt they would be ripped off by the car salesman.

The same survey data showed that women have different priorities to men in new car purchases, with 70% of women citing safety, looks and comfort as the most important criteria. This is against cost, engine capability and safety which were the primary concerns of male new car buyers.

Research in the US has also flagged different buying preferences between the sexes – the Los Angeles Times in 2013 published a list of the ten vehicles in California which have more registered women owners than men. They are:

1. Volkswagen Beetle
2. Nissan Rogue (Dualis in Australia)
3. Scion XD
4. Volkswagen Tiguan
5. Lexus IS
6. Kia Sportage
7. Hyundai Tucson
8. Mini Cooper
9. Nissan Sentra (Pulsar in Australia)
10. Nissan Juke

An Australian car website for women, autochic.com.au, recommends the following top 5 cars for women drivers:

1. BMW X1
2. Kia Optima
3. Volvo V40
4. Hyundai i30
5. Holden Commodore SV6

Mind you, according to Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, car showrooms can be pretty dangerous for men as well. He’s particularly concerned that you don’t inadvertently wander into an Alfa Romeo showroom. You could end up buying one.

A final point about the car dealership – if, once you’ve decided to buy, you’re tempted to take the in-house finance option (particularly if it’s of the 0% interest variety), just make sure you’ve done your sums. As we pointed out in our recent article on car finance options (Car finance – so many options to choose from), a deal that appears to be too good to be true often is.

Image credit: Vic Hughes