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Ask for a Discount Next Time Your Car Needs a Repair

Check this little post from the Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat:

Women who called auto-repair shops to inquire about getting a new radiator were quoted prices that averaged 6% higher than those offered to men, according to an experiment led by Meghan Busse of the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. Yet female callers who requested a price reduction were successful about 35% of the time, compared with just 25% for men. Shops may be caught off guard when women ask for discounts on car repairs, the researchers say.

This is from a study by AutoMD.com and the Kellogg business school, where mystery callers dialed hundreds of repair shops and asked the same question: How much would the shop charge to replace the radiator on their 2003 Toyota Camry? Callers would tell the shop they had a high dollar amount in mind, a market-rate amount, or admit they had no clue how much a radiator would cost.

The researchers were surprised (though, really, why?) at the results:

When they examined the price quotes given to male and female callers separately, a different pattern emerged (see the figure below). For male callers, there is no difference between having “no idea” about an expected price and being a savvy consumer: either way, you are quoted something right around market price. But for female callers, says [Florian] Zettelmeyer [of the Kellogg School], “you’re much worse off saying you know nothing as opposed to quoting the price of $365.”

But as long as the caller provided some number, whether it was the right price or way too high, the gender difference disappeared. Then there’s the fact that when women asked for a discount, they were given it more often than men.

The takeaway? Shop around on the internet to get some idea of what a repair would cost. Then talk to a shop or two about your problem and what you think it will cost. And finally, ask for a discount. Surprise them with competence, and you’ll end up paying less.

Woman at Head of GM’s Customer Experience Takes on the World

GMAliciaBoler-Davis109

Alicia Boler-Davis wants GM to treat you right.

Alicia Boler-Davis (let’s hear it for double-barreled surnames!) has been given the heavy-hitting title senior vice-president, Global Quality and Global Customer Experience. What that means, ladies, is that the person in charge of GM’s quality and customer service and satisfaction is a women, just like you. Well, maybe not just like you, since she’s been with GM since 1994 and has held positions like chief engineer, but close enough.

When she takes the position July 1, Boler-Davis will answer to only one person, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. Everyone else on the planet tasked with taking car of GM’s customers — who drive Chevys, Cadillacs, Buicks, Opels, and Vauxhalls around the world — will answer to her. GM’s plan to improve its customer service includes upgraded dealerships and call centers with staff authorized to actually resolve customers’ problems.

I’m going to take it on faith that with a woman at the helm of these programs, we’ll see more female-friendly showrooms and maintenance departments the world over.

10 Best Family Cars by KBB.com

Back in the dark ages before the internet, there was a thing called the Kelley Blue Book, and it was indeed a little blue book. Inside, the teensy type arranged in columns told you how much a car was worth as a trade-in, as a private sale, and in a variety of conditions. Now it’s a full-fledged web site with more information than one woman could carry in a Land’s End canvas tote — the big one.

Years of expertise and the magic of modern technology combine to give us handy lists like this one, KBB.com’s 10 best family cars for 2013.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder

Winner winner — let’s go get dinner!

  1. Nissan Pathfinder, for making a successful leap from offroading to grocery getting
  2. Honda Accord, for being both a standard bearer and a car of the future
  3. Toyota Prius V, for adding cargo space to fuel economy
  4. VW Passat, for being both big and best selling
  5. Honda Odyssey, for being built with families specifically in mind
  6. Toyota Avalon, for luxury at a low price
  7. Ford Fusion, for its forward-thinking design
  8. Honda CR-V, for its bang for the buck
  9. Nissan Altima, for its safety and technology advancements
  10. Chevy Suburban, for its ability to haul boats and boatloads of people

National Youth of the Year Gets a New Toyota Corolla

Trei Dudley, Youth of the Year, with her new Corolla

Trei Dudley, Youth of the Year, with her new Corolla

Trei Dudley has seven younger siblings. She lived in poverty and suffered domestic violence. But she found support through the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Kansas. She turned that support around and became a mentor to other kids in the program, then a junior staffer, all while keeping her grades high — high enough that she’s now attending the University of Arkansas and majoring in business.

To honor her hard work and compassion, Dudley received a new Toyota Corolla from Toyota Financial Services’ “Making Life Easier for YOUth” initiative. Dudley was nominated by her club and eventually selected as the 2012-2013 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year.

Stylist Erin Walsh and Cadillac Are “Style Driven”

Follow fashion stylist Erin Walsh through New York City as she picks dresses and jewelry for actress Greta Gerwig to wear to the Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of course, Walsh runs all these high-fashion errands in a Cadillac SRX.

The four-part video series can be found on Vogue.tv, the magazine’s YouTube channel.

Cadillac Launches ‘Style Driven’ Series on Vogue.TV

Rita Ora headed to the Costume Institute Benefit in a Cadillac XTS