Lexus Difference panel highlights improvements to female car-buying experience

Lexus Difference panel highlights improvements to female car-buying experience

On Thursday, March 24, Lexus and Be Car Chic collaborated on an event at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. The panel discussion focused on how women experience car buying and what Lexus, a Japanese-based luxury automaker, is doing to ensure that women, millennials and multicultural groups have a seamless sales process at their dealerships.

Lexus Difference event at NYIAS speaks to women as consumers

Nearly 50 female auto industry representatives, media and online influencers gathered for the intimate event, which was held at the Lexus stand inside the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The event kicked off with a luncheon and networking opportunities for guests and moved on to a panel discussion followed by audience Q&A.

Panelists discuss the importance of a positive dealership experience for women.

Panelists discuss the importance of a positive dealership experience for women.

Participating speakers were female experts whose experience across the automotive industry spans from manufacturer to consumer advice to automotive repair and dealership training. Panelists included: Peggy Turner, Lexus Vice President of Customer Service; Lauren Fix, The Car Coach™ and industry talking head; Brandy Schaffels, Editor-in-chief of AskPatty.com; and Audra Fordin, certified auto mechanic and owner of the Great Bear Auto Repair Shop in New York. Melanie Batenchuk, founder and editor of Be Car Chic, moderated the discussion.

Conversation Highlights

Panelists Brandy Schaffels and Lauren Fix mingle with Shelby Fix (middle).

Panelists Brandy Schaffels and Lauren Fix mingle with Shelby Fix (middle).

When buying a car, auto expert Lauren Fix told the crowd that seating comfort and visibility should be the buyer’s top two priorities because those aspects will never improve over the life of the car. She added, and the other panelists agreed, that doing your homework before shopping for a new vehicle “is everything.”

Audra Fordin chimed in when the conversation briefly touched on the impact that technology has had on not only the vehicle purchase and sales process, but it’s also affected auto repair. “Soon, you’ll need more than an oil change,” said Fordin.

Brandy Schaffels shared the importance of how moms need the new safety technologies – such as lane keep assist and braking assist – to minimize their distractions when driving with young children in the back.

Dina Burns, Lexus of Smithtown Dealer Principal, speaks to the group during a Q&A session.

Dina Burns, Lexus of Smithtown Dealer Principal, speaks to the group during a Q&A session.

Smithtown Lexus dealer principal, Dina Burns, emphasized how she, and the Lexus brand overall, are focusing on diversity. “We’re cognizant not everyone at the dealership should be a middle-aged man,” she told the crowd during the Q&A session.

Finally, when asked what’s the number-one piece of advice the panelists would give the members of the audience, the group concurred how important it is to be confident in whatever area of passion a young woman pursues, and especially if that’s within the automotive industry.

Overall, the event brought together women of varying professions and interests related to the car industry. The women in attendance represented several life stages, yet the messages shared were valuable to each of them separately. Here at Be Car Chic, we hope to continue to bring together automakers, industry experts, and audiences looking to glean more information about important topics impacting consumers.

View the Social Media Recap of the #LexusDifference Panel

Editor’s note and disclosure: I am receiving financial compensation for planning and implementing this event in partnership with Lexus at the 2016 New York Auto Show. The event is informational and serves to create a dialogue around common challenges women experience when car shopping. This partnership does not currently affect, and will not in the future affect, our editorial opinion and portrayal of Lexus and/or Toyota vehicles.

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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.