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Car salesperson with a customer

Many women who have braved car shopping on their own and walked into a car dealership without a man with them have probably felt intimidated. Many women car shoppers end up feeling like the car industry is a man’s world and that they need a man to navigate through it if they want to purchase the best car for the best price.

Everywhere we go, women have to fight against sexism. Age-old stereotypes around women always seem to ring true when it comes to doing something a little bit more masculine–like building things, fixing things or buying a car.

But, Lisa Copeland, a pioneer in the field of automotive marketing and management for more than 25 years, founder of Buying Cars Her Way and Managing Partner of Fiat of Austin, the top Fiat retailer in North America since the brand’s return, says women do not need a man with them to have a great car-buying experience.

Copeland offers five tips for women buying cars:

1. Do your homework.

Research the car that you want before you ever leave your house. Decide what you want your car to provide you. Look at the different types of cars you might want. Make sure that you walk into the dealership as an educated consumer with real knowledge about the car so you can ask intelligent questions.

2. Ask thorough and tough questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask about safety, incident history and vehicle capability. Show them you know what you are talking about. Definitely take the car for a test drive, but before you sign anything, always take the exact car you will be buying for a test drive.

3. Decide on a price before you go.

Make sure you calculate what you want to spend before you walk into the dealership. Be confident in the price that you want and stick to it. Keep your emotions out of the car buying experience or things could get very pricey very quickly. Never let them know you absolutely love the car because that gives them more leverage in the negotiation process.

4. Speak with confidence.

Be vocal. State what you are looking for and don’t be shy about it. If safety and fuel economy are your top priorities – say that. If you need a car big enough to bus the kids around, say so. Salespeople will often profile you based on what they think you need vs. what you really are looking for in a car.

5. Don’t be intimidated.

You don’t need to bring your husband or a male friend with you to find a car with the preferences that matter to you like exterior styling and overall value. Take your time. Negotiate. If you are not comfortable with the deal, don’t sign it and find a dealership that will take you seriously.

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