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    Women account for more than 50% of new car purchases

    A recent international survey on found that women car buyers are the fastest growing segment of car buyers - they account for over an estimated 50% of new car purchases and influence 80% of them.
    Women account for more than 50% of new car purchases
    © Karin & Uwe Annas -

    Several car dealerships in South Africa, including CMH Toyota in Melrose, Johannesburg and Auto Atlantic in Cape Town, confirmed that this also is true locally.

    "Women are more confident, more educated and financially better prepared to make a car buying decision than before but women are treated differently at car dealerships," says 1st for Women Insurance's executive head, Robyn Farrell. "It is important that you are prepared to ask the right questions when buying a car so that you are treated as a savvy buyer."

    Car shoppers should know everything they can about the car they are interested in buying including its true market value (book value). "Research online and talk to drivers of the car. This will enable you to ask intelligent questions. Negotiate the best deal for everything from the price of the car, the value of your trade-in, the package prices, the dealer documentation fees and the interest rate on your financing."

    Car buying tips

    • Know the trade-in value of your old vehicle to make sure you get the best deal. You can find out the trade-in and book value of your car on for a nominal fee
    • Ask to take a 20-minute test drive. Check the car out in light and heavy traffic, over hills, curves and bumps to see how well the car handles. Test the brakes by feigning an emergency stop. Try parking it to see how well it responds. Is it a quiet ride? Are the seats comfortable? Can your kids fit in the back? Does this car suit your lifestyle?
    • Ask if there are any aftermarket parts on the car that the dealer has added, such as mud flaps, tinted windows etc. as these can lead to a price mark-up
    • If it is a second-hand car, make sure to find out how many kilometres are on the engine and whether the car has had any accidents, had any parts replaced or been used as a demo vehicle
    • Check carefully, even if it is a brand new car, to see if there is any damage
    • Find out if there is a warranty coverage or perks like free maintenance
    • What is the fuel consumption like? Knowing how heavy your car is on petrol will prepare you from the outset. Remember that the figure given to you represents ideal driving conditions without taking air conditioning or heavy traffic driving into account
    • Ask about the servicing cost of the car and find out if there is somewhere convenient to get the car serviced
    • Which parts does the dealership or the manufacturer not cover? Ask about the separate warranty of these parts so in case they fail, you know where to claim the warranty for these specific items
    • Be prepared to walk away

    "Remember that you need to be clear when you walk into a dealership about what you want and never ever buy a car on impulse," concludes Farrell.

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