DRIVING WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY!
Gender equality is the big buzz-word the world over with informed, empowered and independent women stepping up increasingly to take on leadership roles in the professional world, mostly occupied by men till a few years ago. The Indian auto industry is no different and has also witnessed a huge shift with regard to gender-based purchasing, as more women are increasingly buying and maintaining their own cars.
In the last five years, the number of women car buyers has doubled from 10 to 12% to around 25% which in turn has led to car manufacturers making more women-friendly vehicles. Safety, security and convenience are the three main aspects that play a strong role in helping women in making their buying decisions. Keeping these factors in mind, brands are providing distinctive features like live car tracking through app, pick up and drop facility for car servicing, SOS button, rear camera, 24 hour roadside assistance, parking sensors and automatic door closing system. Women make up 15% of the 31.3 million passenger car market in India and it is a number set to grow exponentially in the future.
It is no surprise that women are evolving as the fastest growing segment when it comes to buying and maintaining a smart car that offers some of the most convenient and advanced safety features. Smart cars are equipped with high-tech cruise control, crash-avoidance system and night vision enhancements. Women who drive are always looking at safety and durability in their cars so they are never stranded with a breakdown and car-makers are consciously evolving their design to include these requirements, specific to women. Car-service providers across India are also looking at new ways and means to make women feel more comfortable in taking their vehicles to a service station while also helping them make the right informed choices.
Having a car-service centre exclusively run and operated by women and for women is still a relatively new and niche space for car brands, not only in India but the western world as well. However, it is one area that has great potential for growth with three primary factors determining its success —trust, transparency and time.
Gone are the days when you saw only male drivers on the roads. Today, as the male-female driver ratio is almost at par, women have become more involved in decisions ranging from purchasing their cars to vehicle and repair maintenance. This in turn has led to more women personally getting their cars to the service centres — a far cry from a decade ago.
The question here would then be how well equipped are the service stations in India to cater to and satisfy female car owners? Are there any exclusive women-run service centres in India? Service stations are now beginning to align themselves with women visitors and are making efforts to cater to their specific needs. Though India has yet to see women-operated service centres, some service stations here already have on board female service advisors.
Mahindra First Choice Services (MFC Services), India’s largest chain of multi-brand car service workshops, and part of the USD 20.7 billion Mahindra Group, has in fact begun to collate data gender wise looking at the increasing growth potential of this niche area. It is planning to introduce some best practices to encourage women customers to visit service stations and have a hassle-free experience. In the past MFC Services has curated “Under the Bonnet” initiative – a car servicing experiential for female corporate executives that had garnered tremendous response. MFC Services will soon be introducing initiatives like “A Date with your car” exclusively for women. This initiative will give women a hands-on experience on basic car care and troubleshooting techniques. Such initiatives will empower women to make the right car servicing decisions. It not only encourages women to gain knowledge on cars but also boosts their confidence during their visit to service stations. MFC Services offer packages like Road Side Assistance (RSA) & Annual Maintenance Packages at attractive prices to give peace of mind and savings to the customers.
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